7/13-24 including 4 zeroes, 77.9 miles
Wow, I’m never going to get there. Shit keeps happening. I got a ride out of Gorham with Ziggy. It was not a hard day but took me some time anyway. I camped on my own platform at the shelter near Slingshot and B. Good to catch up with them. I gave them each a Covid test kit since I’d been given 4. They kind of kept mum at Paul’s hostel about knowing Crossword and me because there definitely is a stigma attached to catching Covid. B needs to do bigger miles so I didn’t expect to see him today, glad I got to!
Made it to Full Goose Shelter the next day, shared a tent platform with Slingshot. We’re both dreading “the Notch” tomorrow, it’s apparently a ravine with giant rocks that you have to leap across, tunnel under and otherwise boulder your way through followed by a steep uphill on slab rock.
Yup, it was exhausting! Fun through the Notch mostly though, but the uphill was awful. We both took a short day.
I need to pick up a prescription refill mailed to me a couple towns ahead and now I’m behind schedule. As is my norm I concocted several solutions to the problem. Plan A came off without a hitch! The Bethel Village Inn had a room. Ziggy could get me from the trailhead in 5 miles, take me to Andover to get my package, then back to Bethel. It was 3 hours of his life, since he had to drive to snd from Gorham, but only 1 hour of mine, great driver and only cost $50 to simplify everything for me. I’m wearing a mask whenever I’m not on trail now in case I’m carrying Covid, and actually, so I don’t possibly get it from someone else. After all the time I’ve been on the AT, this is the first time Covid has become real. Very few wear masks in towns, but nobody remarks on me wearing one, no stigma I guess. Good.
When I got back on trail, I had a pretty good day, there were some stretches of cruiser tread, amazingly, and I camped by a stream as it was sprinkling just enough to help all us hikers cool off—no rain gear in the heat. I pitched my tent where water would drain and it started pouring.
The next day I was drying out my tent at a shelter while eating lunch and Tyvek and a couple others caught up. I’m enjoying being solo, especially since I’m not fit to be around, still angry over the Covid situation, misplaced anger. It’ll fade, I’m going to avoid hostel bunkhouses or sharing a room as much as possible from now on. Lots of ups and downs but a lovely campsite at the end of the day where most other hikers were planning on going into the Human Nature hostel in Andover. My last day before Rangeley was lovely and the water sources were running better since the rain. The trail still sucks, creek beds and roots, so slow of course. I arranged a ride to town with a plan to slackpack the following day 13 miles between 2 highways with the shuttle support.
Not only did the slackpack day make me happy thinking about it, but when I checked in to a motel by the lake just before noon, my next door neighbors struck up a conversation on the back deck while we were watching ducks and floatplanes, and whisked me off to lunch at Saddleback Ski Resort. Mainers are friendly!
The slackpack day felt great and there were 2 groups working on the trail so I got to thank them for their work on the hot, hot day. I checked out of the motel in the morning but 2 miles in I rolled my ankle, it’s happened many times before. After yelling bad words and waiting for the pain to ease up, I hobbled back to the road and got back to town, because I could. It will probably not hurt in the morning but will just be all kinds of ugly and swollen, but stable. I’m never going to get there.