Day 150

Thursday 6th September.

Breakfast was not until 7 am so there was no rush to leap out if bed so I lay there dozing. At 6.45 I got a call that breakfast was in 15 minutes.
I walked downstairs, grabbed a coffee and sat at the laid table. There was a jug of orange juice and water. a plate of sliced banana and melon. one by one others arrived ,The German lady, 2 sponges, the Ausssie, so-hum , Kaleidoscope and one other. Plates began to appear a large plate of home fries, scrambled egg with cheese and mushroom , bacon and French toast, we dug in as it was so good.

Soon it was time to get ready to leave , but my stuff still covered the bedroom floor. I quickly stuffed it all into pack , before dragging it down stairs and onto the porch. I settled my bill, grabbed fresh water I was ready to go.
I said to kaleidoscope that the skies look black,
“There’s a storm about to hit I would wait it out guys” Dave the owner said
As soon as he said this there was a huge clap of thunder and then it chucked it down huge raindrops that bounced off of the ground .

It rained hard for about 20 minutes .
I enquired if the 2 girls went out ?
“Yes they did” So-hum replied.
At last the rain began to ease.
“Right guys I’m outta here I said slinging my pack up into my back, I grabbed my sticks and marched off down the road.
In the UK when we have a storm it clears the air and makes it fresh, but here it just makes things hot and sticky.

I walked along the road then re-joined the AT. It was fairly steep for the first 10 minutes them it began to even out. okay Snail 7.5 miles to the peak of my first climb, re we ready legs.?
I pushed on through the forest and I had to admit it was a really nice trail no rocks no twisty turns just a straight path. I like this and sped up but it wasn’t long before the trail decided to dive steeply downwards.
Why when you want to climb up the trail takes you down, typically as soon as I was down the climbing started again. I began to follow a creek slowly back up the mountain .It was then that I heard the familiar voices behind me and stepped aside to allow Kaleidoscope and So-hum to pass.
Catch you guys later.
They were hoping for a 15 miles I may be able to match that depending on the terrain .
As I walked I found that my water bladder tube must be kinked so I stopped to fix it ,had some snacks. Okay i need some miles so put on my headphones. Okay Snail let’s climb this mountain. I turned up the volume and began to screech (singing ) to the music.

I shortly caught the girls.
“Did you get wet” I asked laughing.
We might have done the Aussie replied . I walked with them a while before pulling away . It was then the climbing started, a good 10 minutes of hand over hand. Before normality returned although the sun had now decided to come out and it was hot and oh so humid. I hadn’t tied my sweat cloth to my pack so I had nothing to wipe my forehead and so the sweat was stinging my eyes.
Bugger, i said to myself , pushing on . I had a good pace thanks to the lovely trail. but spoke to soon as the trail turned to slabs of rock and began to climb. The views were amazing and shortly i was at the summit. whoop . Okay time to go downs , hopefully not too scary.

But again with the AT you can’t just go down it needs a to tease you and play with you, then it may let you go down. As I crossed over more slabs of rock I came across Kaleidoscope and So-hum taking a break .

“Nice spot” I commented.
“Take it Snail we are just going “.
“That was a better climb than I expected” I said.
“yes that what we thought, So you may make the shelter then Snail ?” said So-hum
“All depends on what’s in front. but I’ll try”. I laughed
I dropped my pack and made a brew, then ate some cheese and biscuits .
I felt pumped as I continued on my way, the sun shinning and the smell of pine as i entered another forest, I shortly emerged back into sunlight, in front stretched mighty electric pylons that marched on for miles in either direction

As I dived back into the forest, i could make out another beautiful looking lake. 10 minutes later i was standing besides it . I sat by the bank staring into the cool looking waters before dragging myself away. As i walked around its edge I spotted my two companions lounging on a small jetty.
“You been in” I asked ?
“No not yet Snail”

I left them to it and continued on, the trail turning left to ford the river. It looked as it had recently flooded as the surrounding grass had been. flattened. I hopped across the stones, arriving safely on the other bank.. The other side was muddy with some large stones to navigate over before the nice trail returned . I pushed on as the trail did its normal roller-coaster for an hour before I came to another river .
I was watering up when my two companions sped past
“See you at camp SNAIL”.

Once I was done I set off After them passing several water meadows where I paused to check for moose. there were tracks and poo but no moose.
I think I am looking too hard I laughed then rejoined the trail
I was in the zone and the trail be and a blur until i reached the next river.

Kaleidoscope and So-hum had their tent up. Great you made if snail what is this it and its not even 4.30.
I wanted to go on, but my tent was soon up I push more miles tomorrow .
I ate tea with my companions whilst trying to train a chipmunk before the sleepiness took over

Start. 2040
Finish. 2054
Miles. 14
miles left. 136

Day 149 to Caratunk

Wednesday 5th September

I was up early and ventured down to the bog in hope of seeing another moose. I don’t know what i expected. There was no moose. I walked back to my tent and put on a brew whilst slowly packing up
I hit the trail at 6.45
It was a beautiful morning as I hiked on . I was shortly greeted by yet another beautiful lake, called East Carry Pond. It was stunning in the early morning sunlight. When I walked around it, I came to a gorgeous beach. Shit maybe I stopped too soon!!!.

I pushed on around the lake until I heard voices it was Kaleidoscope and So-hum.
“Hi guys nice to see you , great spot
I pushed on I knowing that they would soon catch me .
Once past the lake the trail climbed before flattening out, Such a nice change.
Again as I crossed several muddy patches I could see numerous Moose tracks, sadly no moose.

I soon came to the ” hut” but hiked straight past , the trail then opened out onto a huge lake again so beautiful this time the trail navigated around the outlets over rocks which were a touch sketchy.
I began to follow the outlet that turned into a lovely creek that bubbles it’s way over the rocks with large waterfalls. I began to follow it down the mountain, eventually I emerging out onto a road and saw the familiar motor home of Ossie’s ,but it looked deserted.
I crossed over and began to follow the creek, this would be my companion for the rest of the day.
Two hikers came past, who I had seen several times before .
“Don’t rush snail, there’s about 30 queuing for the ferry” he said
“Thanks ” I was planning to take a break shortly,
I pushed on following the creek, stopping now and then to admire it’s sheer beauty.
I then met Ossie’s wife coming the other way
“Hi ya SNATRAINER how are you “
She repeated the same information regarding the ferry
“Don’t rush there’s a big queue Snailtrainer”

When I eventually arrived at the river Kaleidoscope and So-hum were already here waiting their turn for the ferry.
The ferry was a canoe with a Pilot and he took two at once across the river.
I was pleased to see that it was only these two waiting and so it would soon be my turn.
I watched as Kaleidoscope and So-hum got into the canoe, then slowly made their way across the river to Caratunk
The river is dangerous and can rise dramatically and so the AT provide this ferry service.

The ferry man was soon back and then it was my turn .As i had to paddle i was unable to video my crossing , oh well.
I was soon across and thanked my boat man. It was a small walk through some woods . As i began to leave I turned back to see So-hum dive into the water and swam back to the other side . “He’s fucking nuts !!
“Later’s guys” I called and headed towards town and the hostel . As i walked in i saw many familiar faces including Samaritan sat on the Porch .
“Hey Dude how are you?
I dropped my pack and joined him on the porch.
His companions had hiked out and he was trying to decide what he wanted to do.
As i sat relaxing I found out that the post office didn’t open until 2 pm and it was only 12 so I decided to book a room then returned to the porch with several cold tins of lemonade .

I took my gear to my room then borrowed some loaner clothes while mine got washed . At 2 pm i set off to the post office to hopefully get my replacement charger.
Fantastic it was here , God it was sweltering as i made my way back to the hostel.
I managed to get on line and answer a few emails and order a replacement mat and possibly my socks . I also managed to order some clothes to go home in.
So-hum asked me what I was doing for dinner.?
“The brewery sounded good” i replied
We manged to organise a ride and walked in at 5 pm. Wow what a great place .

We sat outside , I ordered steak fillets with loaded fries and salad.
Some how they messed it up so I received double Omg it was vast. so I was completely stuffed
I fancied a few beers to take back but they only did a growler, Okay 64 flozs it is
Once back we all sat on.the porch just relaxing with beer until the bugs drove us inside.

Start. 2028
Finish. 2040
Miles. 12
miles left. 150

Day 148 Trail-Magic

Tuesday 4th September

I am fairly happy that I stopped when I did as it enabled me an early night and a great sleep ….Even when the storm hit around 10 pm lighting up my tent and the thunder shaking the ground and the dumping  a few gallons of water on on it,
So it took me a while to get up even though I had planned to bounce out ha ha. But I was up and packed before 7 am.
It was a cold grey morning so I was glad of the hot tea and instant oats . Unusually I started with my rain jacket and hat on not so much for the rain but to keep the wind at bay as I had my final Bigalow peek to climb called Avery.
The climb was made harder due to the wet rocks that threatened to take me down with every step. As I climbed I met two people coming the other way . Maybe they were in the other tent , they had gotten up early to see the sunrise. But today it was low cloud or mist.
I pushed on eventually reaching the peak  yes i could of done this yesterday and enjoyed the view but I choose not to. I pushed on and hopefully down.

My map shows down but I think it takes an average so to me it’s always more ups than downs . I pushed on on this roller coaster trail. as I began to drop down the mist began to clear allowing me to see Avery and beyond and the huge lake called Flagstaff Lake wow it was massive.

I began to spiral down through a huge field of boulders, they were huge like houses dotted through the woods . They must of crashed down from the cliffs above. I pushed on down the trail until I came to the junction to a campsite this was my goal for Yesterday  but I stopped early.
I carried on and soon began more climbing. see my map lies, as I manoeuvred along more planks I began to hear voices and they were quickly gaining on me so I stepped to the side to let them pass .To my amazement it was Kaleidoscope and So-hum. ( name correction)
“Hey guys”
“Hi snail”
They had stayed at the camp that I had just passed.
So-hum joked that it’s all  down hill now  ..
Ha bloody ha I said ..Safe trails guys.

I re-joined the trail  and continued on passing numerous snakes, who thankfully slithered out of my way. They were probably feeding on the tiny frogs and toads that the trail was alive with. I also saw my first salamander
I forgot to say but I chatting to someone a while ago about the fact that I hadn’t seen any deer for ages He explained that they got this disease carried by the deer tick and they had been wiped out but they are slowly returning so now you know
I pushed on down the trail getting great views until I reached the other side and got a great view of the lake . It looked amazing with the sun shinning on it .I wondered if I  would get closer to it ?
They trail now changed to rock and was pointing it’s similar to walking down a slide .
More fun to watch than actually do !!. at last this  game was over and it began to level out. Rumble rumble went my tummy it was 11.30 and there was a perfect place to stop so stop so i did.

It was nice to rest in the sun .I was just packing up after a lengthy stop when SOBO came the other way .
There’s magic in the car park she said
That’s typical I take a long food break   and now I am probably going to take another shortly ..
It wasn’t  long until I emerged onto the road and saw a sign that read. “MAGIC” as I entered I could see Kaleidoscope and Ahum sat in loungers . Drop your bloody pack one of the Angels said .

Now hold out your hands .
He gave me a big blast of sanitiser.
Okay now grab yourself a bowl of pasta, what do you want on your sandwich?
Ham please .
Help yourself to soda, coffee, tea what ever.
The pasta was really good, I  then I drained a lemonade.
Your sandwich is ready as he passed me 2 huge ham and cheese sandwiches.

they were so tasty as I drained another can of lemonade.
Then a large coffee and a coke.
It  was so relaxing I could have stayed all day as I went to leave, they insisted that I load up with candy, cake and fruit  and have I got enough water?
I did as I was told then another man arrived and stuffed 6 Payday bars into my pack . It creaked as I hoisted up  or maybe that was my back, hopefully there are not too many climbs this afternoon,!!
I pushed on heading towards the lake and soon found a spot where I could get a better view. Omg it was amazing a vast lake so beautiful. I really wished that I had more time as I would have loved to put my tent up. On that beach strip off and do nothing. big sigh.
I grudgingly walked back to the trail and set off towards the next shelter that was about 5 miles away .
Amazingly the trail was flat and straight with no roots or rocks …. Am I dreaming! I was able to get a good pace and as I neared s road, I saw a sign that made me smile it was the original 2000-mile marker. The Appalachian trail changes each year as the trail is re-routed or an extra switchback is added. as I crossed the road 2000 miles was painted on it and then crossed out and 2020 painted beneath it again this made me smile.
Once across the road the trail returned to its normal roller coaster style which exhausts me . I put on music to hopefully boost my legs and sure enough the shelter appeared but I was being greedy I wanted more miles so foolishly decided to push on as I wanted another hour of roughly 2 more miles and there is bound to be a flat spot there!!!
I Pushed on and on passing some great spots but deciding that it was too early, my watch eventually pinged 6 pm
okay Snail now you can look I said to myself as I  walked on until I came to a large bog ..any moose ?…. No. It was spanned by a zigzagging walkway, once  across on the other side was a pine forest and as soon as I entered it there was the perfect spot for me .
I dropped my pack and soon had a brew on followed by supper oh great 17 miles

Start. 2011
Finish. 2028
Miles. 17
Miles left. 162

Day 147 Labour Day

Monday 3rd September.

Such luxury to be in a real bed.
But I have to a get up although a real zero would have been great.
I slowly packed up going around the room to check that I hadn’t forgotten anything. My power block appeared to have charged but I still believe that it has a dead cell. so will await their support email. Okay I’m ready final sweep of the room and I’m out of here.

I stood by the road outside the White wolf and stuck out my trusty thumb. A police car passed I waved he waved back but no lift from him. oh well . The next car stopped wow that was good and I was soon stood at the trailhead, I extended my poles and began to walk it was 9.30

A little late but it’s my hike I laughed to myself, it was going to be a climbing day so I didn’t expect big mileage but I would like 12.
It was a beautiful morning as I made my way up my first climb that was called South Horn but the Bigalows were my target for today.

I climbed and climbed it was a nice trail to begin with then it became scrambling then climbing ,hand over hand then some mud jumping followed by and duck boards then back into forest. I passed several beautiful ponds and water meadows, Hoping to see that elusive moose, sadly not. I pushed on until 12.30 when I took a break and ate some snacks.
Come on Snail lets get this done as there was still a lot of mountain to climb. It was another 30 minutes until i crossed the peak of South Horn and was immediately invaded by a swarm of black flies so retreated backwards. I waited till a strong gust of wind moved them so i could carry on..

The flies !!

I began to descend into the forest and escape the flies, as I walked I passed several weekend hikers. In the distance I could see another lovely pond lake, before coming to the sign about the next campsite .
I walked a little way and came to the shelter. There was a man here who introduced himself as the care taker and ridge runner. I ended up chatting to him for at least ten minutes as he was very informative.

Okay I need to get on as I still haven’t got to Bigalows yet.
I pushed on and on I until i reached a clearing with amazing views I wondered if I was here yet but no there was still another huge mountain staring at me . It was over another hour before I began to get near to the summit and as I did the winds arrived .Surely I don’t need to climb up there do I ? I will get blown away by the wind. But yes that’s where the blazes went . really, really I said to myself as I gingerly walked along the knife edge. Whoop finally I’m at Bigalow mountain west peak and wow what amazing views.

As I made my way to Bigalow Avery peak, spots of rain began to fall ..Great I thought it’s 3.45 I think I will call it a day if I can find a place. My luck was certainly in as I stumbled into a camp site with tent platforms, that will do me for today.
I soon had my tent up then i went for water, It was down a little track and was from a spring. I noticed another tent on my way back but didn’t see anyone. Once back at my tent i quickly got a brew on and began to relax.

made my supper then switched off oh only 9 miles that’s not good but I did start late and finish early

Start. 2002
Finish. 2011
Miles. 9
miles left. 179

Day 146 2000 miles !

Sunday 2nd September

I was just finishing packing when the 2 south Africans of Springbok and Quarterback came past.
“You being Anti-social , It was a really nice campsite”. Springbok said
“Yes ,well maybe I should have camped there.”
“Okay Snail we will race you up the mountain!”
“Ha ha funny ”
I set off After them, but they were soon out of sight. I caught them later on a over hang admiring the view. I stopped too as it was an amazing sight. some mountains poking out of cloud a beautiful day and mist in the valley

I returned to my climb, South Crocker mountain first then North Crocker. The first climb seemed to take forever, a path to begin with then scrambling over rock until a reasonable trail reappeared, at last I was at the top. Several tents were slotted in a clearing, this was my possible goal last night but then decided I would climb it in the morning being fresh.

I carried on along the trail and began to head down .I stood to the side as two other hikers came up the other way .
Snail the girl Said !!
Omg it was Amazonian. I hadn’t seen her since celebrating the 300 mile marker back in Virginia. we caught up on gossip who was still running etc hugged then continued in different directions as She was flip flopping. Oh the South Africans said dinner at 6.30 at the wolf.

The next climb wasn’t too bad and so didn’t take long to summit after that it should be a fairly easy trail to the trail head then town. I pounded down the trail lost in my own little world thinking of the end the finish at Katahdin and finally getting home.
I was miles away when I arrived at the 2000 mile marker. Omg I said to myself, dropped my pack. I stared at the sticks on the ground forming the numbers. before grabbing my camera and snapping away.

I was overwhelmed a bit so decided to sit and have lunch.
I was happily munching when 3 smiley faces of Sasquatch, Short mile and Samaritan appeared .
We gave each other the customary abuse before posing together for more photos.
They were going to head to town resupply, eat and straight out again .I had planned to stay have a shower catch up on stuff and hike out in the morning.
“Okay guys see you in Town”. as they sped off along the trail.
It was almost 3 More miles to town and still down hill.
I trail head soon appeared as i got to the road i had to ask a couple of passing cyclists which way it was to town. I thanked them and crossed over the road, put down my pack and held out my thumb.
Soon I had a ride, my pack was in the speedboat and I was in the back of a pickup.
It seemed a long drive passing by some beautiful cabins .
At last we stopped and the driver let me out.
I grabbed my pack and walked over to the White wolf motel. There were about a dozen packs lined up outside so I dropped mine there too.
As I walked inside the boys were there. I joined them ordered a beer booked a room and enjoyed my MASSIVE Wolf burger, washed down with another beer and Pecan pie for desert.

I paid up then headed to my room . It was clean and tidy, I dropped my pack grabbed my phone and money and headed to the shop. As I walked along the veranda I passed a hiker box, always have a rummage! I grabbed some breakfast a Ramon and a few other bits .
The boys were still shopping when I arrived at the store . I brought some fruit, 2 apples, 2 oranges, 2 plums a 6 pack, ice cream and lemonade
I wished Sasquatch, short mile and Samaritan good luck . as they were heading straight back to the trail.
“Catch you guys up the trail.” I said as i headed back to my room.
I put the food and drink into the fridge then jumped into the shower. Oh hot water feels so good .I emerged all clean. I began to go through my chores, ordered new shoes, logged a support call about my sleeping pad, ordered a suit case to get my extra stuff home.
It then dawned on me that it’s Labour Day on Monday a USA holiday so I can’t contact the post offices bugger oh well I am only chasing socks so no biggie. It will wait.

It was now 6 pm and I was joining the South Africans for dinner.
I got dressed and went to the restaurant, which was fairly busy.
I joined them at their table, they were eating onion rings so I ordered some too. plus a beer I ordered another Lobster Roll as I had the huge burger at lunch time .

We chatted away as we ate . Behind us on anther table were the crew of Sir mix-alot, Bleep etc.
I finished up paid the bill then joined Wander woman, Passenger and Ossie at the bar before retiring to my room.
My power block had been plugged in all day now appeared to be charging. Maybe it just needed more time, although I think 1 cell is dead .

I switched on the tv and watched a few films whilst eating my ice cream and drinking beer.

Start. 1995
Finish. 2002
Miles. 7
miles left. 188

Day 145 it’s September

Saturday 1st September

I snoozed my alarm several times before finally emerging
Sandy was packed and just  just about to leave as I took the  long walk to the privy, It was quite far away . maybe it was too rocky to put it else where ?

Once back at my tent I put on Brew and began to pack up, it was a fairly chilly morning so the hot tea helped me revive .Okay I’m ready I swapped shirts , hoisted up my pack and said goodbye to the remaining hikers.
I began to climb at once , but was clumsy as I hadn’t yet got my body working. (it takes a while).
Once in my stride began to push I wanted 14 miles which was to the next camp site, more if possible!
It wasn’t long until I  caught the students who ere  camped last night, They were just starting again after a break but I insisted that they go ahead.
I have my own pace and don’t need to be pushed so watched them go giving them a bit of a head start. I i continued on I could still hear their voices echoing through the forest .
It seemed an odd day ,dull and cloudy until the sun came out lighting up the forest. I was now in the zone when I almost walked into Sir-Mixalot.
“Hi how’s it going” he said
“Great”  i responded
The “Team”  are normally  behind him   so  it wont be long until i run into them .
Sure enough bringing up the rear  were Passenger, Wander-woman, The commander, a new face of Lowgear and finely Bleep.
It was good to see them all we greeted each other then headed in opposite directions.
I then caught the students again, they laughed at me  when I caught them
“So slow and steady wins” one said.
“Maybe as I don’t go fast” I laughed
I carried on and soon came to a fairly large river that I managed to ford without getting wet feet.

Once across it was another climb, I followed the stream up the mountain. The trail climbed and climbed and soon I could hear voices, It was another group of students on orientation.
They asked about my hike and were all pleased for me and wished me good luck, Which was kinda nice.

As I began to push, two runners and a dog came down the trail. One was Jason the guy who did the amazing trail magic.  We chatted for a while before I pushed on .By now my tummy was rumbling as it was 12pm the shelter can’t be too far away I thought and yes, there is the blue blaze.
I shortly arrived, dropped my pack and put on a Brew.
Just then Ma Angel arrived
“Hiya Snail “she said
We had met several weeks ago . so we chatted away as I took lunch.

She gave me a packet of dried Mango which Iove and 2 tahini protein bars which were weird but I scoffed anyway.
We both packed up  and headed in opposite directions ,I pushed on and was in the zone when I heard my voice being called. It was Kaleidoscope and Ahem.
Where have you guys been I laughed as i expected them to catch me mid morning.
“We had a lie in” they said.
They are fast so can afford that luxury.
The trail  here was well maintained  meaning I should be able to make my target. To my right was Sugarloaf Mountain another skiers  paradise. (in Winter).
There was a side trail to it, but not for me as I pushed on hoping to camp early again.

I  emerged out onto a side of a cliff which had great views. I began to head down, it was very slippery on the  loose gravel that then  turned in to a hand over hand .
Bloody great !!!. It was very sketchy,  I just wish I had longer legs ,It took me a while as I’m not that flexible, about half way down the trail decides that you should climb back up again . What bloody nonsense!!

Then of course ,once up its now down again ARRRRHH!!!.It was hard work but at last I was on level ground.
The next campsite was 2 miles ahead ,great I thought as I pounded down the trail, crossed another river then began my last 1 mile climb. At last I came to the site for the campsite. It was ~2 but on my left was a perfect flat spot and a stream. Snail this will do me.
My tent was soon up and I had a brew on .

As I sat in my chair enjoying my cuppa. streams of people came by several from Quebec who were really chatty. followed by Jason and his running partner again, spooky I said.
Then my companions from last night began to appear and lastly Sandy.
“Hey I thought you were already camped.?” I said
But no,  She had climbed Sugarloaf,  We chatted for a while before she set off to the camp.

Okay bed for me

Start.   1981
Finish. 1995
Miles. 14
Miles left. 195

Day 144 Leaving Rangeley

Friday 31st August

Paul had put an extra sleeping bag in my tent as it was predicted to be cold . So, I was so toasty last night and there was no hurry to get up.
But my body clock woke me at 6am so I dozed listening to the pinecones dropping on the tarp above my head.
At 8 I finally emerged visited the porta loo then wandered back to my tent. It was like my pack had exploded in my tent there was stuff everywhere.
my new buckle had arrived from Osprey, so I fitted that and adjusted the hip belt . glued on my hiking patches .then began to pack. My new tent stuff sack had arrived, so I swapped that over.
Again, I seemed to have a ton of food . one day I will get that right. I wandered back to the main area there were a few hikers moving out. I sat at the table while money penny (English gal) cooked me breakfast while I waited, I grabbed a brownie made by local lady . which are fantastic.
I drained my coffee and grabbed another. then scoffed my breakfast. It was a gorgeous morning as I sat in the sun. I really didn’t want to move.
Paul came back from shuttling and said you guys are going to have great views on the summit’s today.
It’s no good I need to move. I went my tent and finished packing. Then I hoisted up my pack Omg it’s heavy . I said my goodbyes and walked up the drive and back to the road. it’s .3 back to the trail . I passed several hikers going the other way

One asked me about the Hiker hut. I said that I liked it and that it worked for me and that he does do shuttles to town.

I reached the trail head crossed over and began to. Hike it has just gone 9 am .
It was nice and cool as I headed into the forest . it was going several large climbs but oddly I was really looking forward to them

My first was going to be Saddle Back mountain, the biggest climb of the day The start was gentle., passing several lovely lakes . I met many sobos and short hikers. crossed several bogs then the climbing started. then Kaleidoscope and her man came through . Fuck am .I that slow . we gave each other abuse laughing see you guys up the trail.

It was just over 3 hours till I submitted Saddle back and wow the views were totally amazing .Wow it was a great day to hike a clear day so I could see for miles. Kaleidoscope and ahem were just finishing their lunch as I arrived.

So, as they got up. I took. Their spot. I enjoyed some on a is but really, I could have sat here all day as the views were just breathtaking.

eventually I hiked on as I had my next mountain to climb named the Horn, but of course I must go down first. From the top of Saddleback, it was easy to see my route and in the distance was Kaleidoscope. Wow they got there fast but yes, they are fast.

The down wasn’t too bad, and I was soon climbing again and the up was fairy sketchy in places. As I climbed, I ran into another trail crew who were replacing some stairs (Rock steps) Great job a said puffing and panting . Before continuing

At last the trail began to get easier, thank you . I began to climb up huge rock slabs so didn’t take too long until i was at the top of the horn whoop whoop. Again the views were incredible .
Okay Snail 1 more to climb today then we can camp .
The down from this one was fairly crappy, huge rocks to clamber over, gnarly roots to trip you, so I came down  slow in fact incredibly slow . But I don’t want to fall and hurt myself or break some thing especially this close to the end .
Eventually the trail flattened out  and i was able to pick up the pace  until I came across another group of hikers . I stopped to chatted to them.  They were helping Pappy.  a fairy famous 87 yr Old hiking the

Appalachian Trail. The last time I saw him was in the Shenandoah’s, So I grabbed another opportunity to get a photo with him .
“What a great inspiration you are” I said .
Okay  off to my final climb Saddleback Junior.  Again, the climb wasn’t too bad although I had to navigate over many bogs before  reaching solid ground . Once at the top i was rewarded  with amazing views, that  just kept getting better. I could see the whole route that I had just completed. I stood staring for several minutes before starting the decent.
I’m about to descend, when a  group of 10 young students appeared below me puffing their way up. They are on orientation or to me Team building . Once they had all climbed up, I began my descent. it was steep and slippery  then the mud appeared. I navigated around these until the duck boards reappeared The trail eventually  acceptable allowing me to put in some spurts of speed.
I began to smell POO the smell associated with Privies lol . I must be close I thought then saw the privy. Maybe it’s the rock or water source but they seem to be built a long way from camp. Tents I can see tents and then the shelter. I dropped my pack found a flat spot then put up my tent.

There seemed a lot of people here  many students  (orientation)  who were camped  away from the main site in the  trees .There were 3 others hikers near to the shelter.
I grabbed water then began cooking supper. One of the other hikers has hung his hammock in the shelter That’s a  Big No No .!!
After dinner I lit a fire and we all  sat chatting. As we did another group of students arrived who were doing another orientation? again they headed a little way into the woods.
As we sat chatting by the fire I was asked if I had tried a ‘Smore’
“Nope what is it ?
It’s a marshmallow that you toast so its golden then you sandwich between 2 biscuits and a square of chocolate. it’s better if the biscuits have been close to. The fire so that the chocolate is soft or melty.

I am a Brit  who really hadn’t  heard of smores . But once home (UK)  was ridiculed  by all my  kids and friends . As  they  all knew  what smores were and had often had  them !!

“Sounds yummy and I know my DAUGHTER would love them” I said

As we talked , one of the guys from the student group came over to ask if we minded if they came to the fire after they had eaten. The rest of the hikers said to him this British guy doesn’t know what a smore is !!
Oh, he said then returned several minutes later with all the bits the biscuits , the chocolate and of course marshmallows.
They  then began to  demonstrated how to make one.

Wow I’m Hooked I love them we sat chatting for ages  until it was way past my bed time

Start. 1970.5
Finish. 1981
Miles. 10.5
Miles left. 210

Day 143 Zero in Rangeley

Thursday 30th August

I slept really well in a strange tent  thanks to beer May be.
I got up visited the loo then walked to the main area.
Paul cooked me a fab egg roll with cheese washed down with several cups of coffee.
It was now chore time. Paul dropped me I to town at  9am. First was laundry, whilst i waited I did a few emails . Post office next (other end of Town) OMGI had 8 packages here , that i promptly bounced up the trail. I picked up my poles . I wanted to swap them out but Bollocks. they seem to have stuck in and I couldn’t free them in the Post office. So I wandered down the road to the outfitters. They had a space for hikers with tools.
I almost lost the will to live trying to unseize them and was about to buy a new set of Leki’s when at last. But then the fun started I couldn’t get the catches to lock and the Leki’s were almost in my hand but finally I was done.
Next was the library, to download my phone and upload video. It was whilst I was here I realised that my power bank ( a huge battery ) had stopped charging .Bollocks and Fuck that’s all I need. so I logged a support call with  Anker but I need a replacement now. So i ordered another from Amazon we will see which one comes first. !
Okay most of my chores are sorted. need feeding and beer
I wandered to the pub, passing a sign that read half way around he poles. How cool is that.

Once in the pub I noticed that they had lobster rolls on the special board.  I ordered up two with fries and coleslaw and of course a beer.

Wow how good is a lobster roll, bloody excellent and awesome. Okay fed & watered.
I wandered back to the gear shop to enquire about a backup battery, they had one but it was expensive and not quite what I wanted.

I needed to resupply next , to my amazement  the shop assistant said that she would take me. perfect.
Once at the store I grabbed more beer. snacks, spare batteries and then I noticed a small battery pack so brought that too. Once done  i sat outside on a bench  and sorted my gear  as my phone charged  before walking back to my pick up point.
Soon I was back at the Hiker Hut. I sat by the fire enjoying a beer before returning to my tent.

I sorted out my stuff before laying in bed listening to music eating crisps and quaffing beer. Joy.

Start. 1970.5
Finish. 1970.5
Miles. Zero

Day 142 to Rangely…!

Wednesday 29th Aug

I was awake by 5 but dozed to half past. then got up and went to find the loo I should of asked last night as I wandered aimlessly around for 10 minutes. I eventually found it and wow what a loo it’s new and large quite grand in fact .
once back at my tent ( no food bag to collect as i slept with it .) It’s not the bears it’s the rodents!!!!!!!!

I put my stove on for a brew and breckie as I stripped down. At the back of the camp i watched this lady hiker who got up and in seconds was packed and walking in minutes Wow that’s impressive i said to myself sadly I’m not that fast .
I scoffed my instant oats, slurped my tea and then I was away . Today’s target was 17 miles can I do it ?Well I was going to try .

I walked back to the trail and was away ..small climbs at first then I was up on the rock. I’m sure this trail was drawn as a doodle as I seemed to be going round in circles. But then wow what a views.
The lakes below looked amazing , I stood for a few minutes before pushing on . It was going to be a lot of climbs this morning then a straight down to Rangeley . But my map often lies .
The climbs were more up, up down up ,up down up ,up, up up down a bit then flattish .

The trouble with these is they kill me .. but I pushed on .I have to say that the trail was bloody good . Well maintained a kind a few weaves and a lot of bog crossings which is FUN and challenging. ha ha.
In the distance I began to hear the sound of cars must be nearing civilisation .I crossed over a road then straight up another incline . WOW , Wow..Bloody wow . what an amazing views of Rangeley lakes.

Rangeley is famous for its ski resorts. It’s where the young Olympic hopefuls come to train and in summer it’s also fisherman’s paradise, so a busy tourist place.

There was a bench that I collapsed into . and as I was eating few snacks a German hiker calledcame by.

We studied the maps together . cool 4.5 miles to the power lines then down into Rangely. but sometimes my maps lie

I headed off first, knowing he would soon whizz by me, Which he did .

My next target was the hut (lean to) by the lake that would be my almost halfway point of 8.5 miles. . I shortly came to the lake which looked so idyllic, the trail followed it around and there was the shelter whoop and it was only 12 pm. Snail you have got this i said to myself .( But I haven’t a clue what is ahead)

I got water from the lake, then walked up the side trail towards the shelter. There were several tent platforms here. I dumped my stuff then walked up to the shelter, signed the register before walking back to my gear.

I put on a brew and ate snacks , a fellow hiker came and went as i relaxed in the sun.

It was whilst I was here that I noticed that my phone was low on charge odd I thought and plugged in the battery . The battery said ” I am Dead” Bollocks . not now I need you … Oh well It is what it is

Okay snail we need another 8 miles

I pushed on and was so pleased when I passed the power lines but then my GPS wouldn’t fix and kept telling me I had 12 miles to go . No no that can’t be right so I ignored it and just hiked on.

I spent the next hour crossing bog after bog until at 3 pm I took a much needed a break .It was at this time my phone died Great!!!!!

I sat and ate the rest of my snacks .I was Hoping to meet up with a friend but with no phone I’m blind !!
I pushed on until I came to some BlackBerry bushes here my speed dropped. As I gorged on these little gems ..

Come on Snail ……

I pushed on as my watch pinged 5pm oh god how much further Then i passed a sign 1 mile. thanks Maine guys I like that. several bogs later and a few scary slab manoeuvres and I am at the road, but with no phone do I go right or left .

As I sat pondering a guy got dropped off .

Which way to Rangeley I asked.
“it’s left, but walk on the left hand side until your past the barrier, The “Hiker hut is there . why don’t you stay there?
I thanked him and set off up the road, eventually coming to a sign for the Hiker Hut. I stood there for 10 minutes with my thumb out before deciding to go check out the place.

I walked down and into a beautiful garden . Sat at the table were the German duo of Father and daughter, then the man in charge appeared .
“Any room ” I asked
“I have only the tent.
I went and looked yes that will be perfect .Yes that will do me .I was given supper for $7 and I washed that down with two beers.
He was heading into town, so if i came I could grab a shower at the sports ground and then grab a six pack . COOL I said jumping in his car.
The sports centre was a trendy Gym . I signed in and enjoyed a long shower., Put on clean clothes before being dropped off at the store.
“I’ll be back shortly ,there are 2 other hikers in there.
I grabbed a basket got some more cash then began to shop.

I only came in for beer but while I’m here i might as well grab a few things. As im going around the isles i bump into Kaleidoscope and Ahem.
“Hey your clean was the conversation” lolol
I continued my shop, whizzing around grabbing bits and beer. I grabbed s six pack of Shipyard 5.5% yummy. As I got back into the car there was an amazing sun set over the lakes but sadly no camera
Once back I chilled with other hikers then off to my tent which I really like .

Night all

Start. 1953
Finish. 1970.5
Miles. 17.5
Miles left 220

Day 141

Tuesday 28th August

I had set the alarm for 5 am to hopefully hit the trail by 6 and claw back some of those miles.
But typically I woke to the sound of heavy rain so didn’t move until it began to slow.

Once it did I quickly packed up before making a brew and breckfast . I was sitting on a tree stump doing my tea when the rain returned with vengeance. I covered up my pack and finished my tea.
My back groaned as I hoisted my pack I blame the wet tent.
It was just over 4 miles to the next shelter and up . As I walked my mind argues with it’s self ….You should of gone on . I needed to rest. I let them argue!!!!
The trail wasn’t that nice rocky and twisty such fun…… As I made my way up the sun decided to come out and so it soon became humid and me soaked. It was just over 2 hours before I reached the shelter. It was deserted except for one lonely sleeping hiker ..Bless.
I carried on past and down the other side. It was bloody steep too steep for my knees that complained. It was another hour till I was down and emerged into a lovely little campsite. This was my actual target for Yesterday. But the pond was my choice.
As I made my way through I noticed some huge tarps ad wondered if there was trail magic ? But couldn’t see anyone. I then had to cross a wide river and in the morning light it looked beautiful.

I was now time for my second climb again steep, as I made my way up wyman MT I began to hear voices I presumed other hikers coming down .But as I got higher I could see it was a trail crew. They were replacing/ building new steps. It’s quite fascinating to watch as i stood there panting the lady crew said yes this mountain kicks your butt.
Thanks for that I said you could of waited till I was at the top.
I carried on up and 10 minutes later came across another crew doing the same. They had a large block and tackle to move these giant rocks I’m so impressed and thanked them for their hard work .
Yes she was right this mountain did kick my butt. at the top I collapsed and took off my shoes it was a great view. I rested and ate a few snacks
Okay let’s go 1 down 2 more to go Old Blue mountain was next and  was a killer lol.
Its not a gentle path up these mountains it’s hand over hand climbing and it’s not straight up, you climb a bit you go down a little then you doodle through the forest navigate a bit or two then you climb some more. then it’s s huge down before you climb again. Old Blue took me 2 hours and as soon as there was a place I could collapse into then I did.
Omg I am completely knackered and I still have about 8 miles to go for my target and it was 2pm,
I made a brew and ate the rest of my snacks, as I sat there another exhausted hiker appeared.
Take my seat im done.

I hoisted up my pack and continued on and of course down . After a while I came to a spring and watered up. I still wanted to get to the shelter but in case I didn’t make it there was water on the trail and nearer but I like the dog I will  get water if possible as I do not filter. I pushed on ,come Snail you can do this and headed for mountain no 3 Ben is mountain.
The climb started similar then I was back to the boards, these had seen better days and so it was a challenge trying to keep you feet dry. I  was pushing but didn’t want to fall as the trail here was so slippery.
As I climbed even higher the wind came. It was fairly terrifying as many of the trees were bending and groaning and the roots were lifting on some. Great I thought crushed by a tree

As I came to an opening I  had some great views of some amazing lakes in the far distance one is Lower Richardson lake they look huge.
I was taking more photos  when Peach zoomed past.
You going to  the shelter Snailtrainer,?
Yes if my legs hold out i said
Peach then vanished. I’m sure he’s half goat , the way he skips down the mountains.
I was beginning to tire it was 6.30 it would take me at least another hour as the trail was rock, bog and steep slabs. and when I’m tired I go slower as that’s when I fall and hurt myself.
Where is that shelter I crossed over big plates of rock
I was worried that may be I had missed it as I should be there by now,
It seemed to be taking  ages  until I spotted a tent. Thank fuck I said to myself. as I had, had enough.
The best flat spots had been taken but as I was so tired I didn’t care. and quickly threw my tent up. Imeaditly made a brew then made a Ramin bomb (, ramin and mashed potato ). but I added cranberries and bacon. Bloody good .washed down with a second brew.

It was now pitch dark so straight to bed. The wind is howling high above me @!

Start. 1936
Finish. 1953
Miles. 17
miles left. 246