7/26-8/2/22 105.9 miles
The zero helped my ankle so I hiked out, walking very carefully past the little root that took me out two days ago. The trail got worse from there until it climbed into the alpine and the lovely, sticky rock slabs. I managed a hard fall later on anyway, I have a new bump and hematoma on my right knee cap. I camped with 4 guys near the first lean-to/shelter: Shaggy (31), Tech Support (73), and Crossword (62) laid out their pads and bags in the open front shelter, Agony (62) was in his hammock and I pitched my tent—a good crew.
It was better tread the next day, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? Tech Support and I wound up camping together at an established campsite. Why do hikers call any camp or tent site a “stealth” site on the AT? Nothing stealthy about camping next to the trail in an already impacted site. Stealth implies you’re hidden from view. Sigh.
There was a wonderful place in Stratton, ME, the Maine Roadhouse, owned and operated by two women named Jen. As I got to the trailhead, one Jen was already picking up hikers. Me and Reece opted to get dropped off at the White Wolf Inn for food and beverages before going on to the hostel. The “pandemic” cat roaming the bar area let me pick her up and pet her for a few minutes. That was even better than the IPA!
I arranged a slackpack shuttle 17 trail miles out. It was expensive since no other hiker at the hostel wanted to do it. It took 11 hours to day hike 16.6 miles SOBO over “the Bigelows,” but the other hikers only made 10 miles that day and had to carry all their regular gear. I felt great all day, still clambering over rocks and tripping over roots, but with just a daypack, I was reminded that I actually do know how to hike. I got back to the trailhead outside Stratton and Jen took me back to the super comfy hostel. Memory foam mattresses in the bunk house with curtains, reading lights and outlets for each bunk!
Got a shuttle the next morning back out to where I’d been dropped the day before for the SOBO slack, and started NOBO. Because of that good slackpack day, the next three days went well, I met my mileage goals, averaging 16 mile days. The weather has been so hot and muggy. I got into Monson, a day and a half ahead of the people who didn’t choose the slackpack. Going to zero while I figure out the 100 Mile Wilderness food haul and Katahdin permit situation.