Day 160 Katahdin

Sunday 16th September

It was dark.when I got out of bed
I dressed and went to use the bathroom then put on the kettle for tea, yes a kettle.
At 6.10 I took my pack downstairs and loaded it into the mini bus . There were 7 of us heading out with another being picked up along the way .
We were soon on our way,Once out of town the tarmac soon was replaced by a dirt road. It was a beautiful morning and we were all looking forward to some great views once we began climbing
“Old-Man” the owner and our driver put on eye of the tiger ,(Rocky) as the mountain came into view.
What a great choice of song ..it had the desired effect on all of us
We drove through the gate house and into Baxter Park. We were here.
I signed In  and got my permit and I was ready, hoisted up my pack  and strolled across the bridge and onto the trail THIS IS IT !!
As usual the trail starts gently winding slowly up .. as rounded a corner I saw Bilbo who was hiking with his brother , we grabbed a photo before continuing on.

As I crossed a stream there were about a dozen friendly faces all watering up. I quickly caught up on the gossip then I was off.
The climbing started not too bad, but still a scramble that progressively got harder and steeper.

It was time to put my poles away . Okay here we go and typically the clouds began to roll In . I was climbing in the mist, Omg some of the climbs were high and hard as you had to pull yourself up although there were iron holds it still required effort. This workout lasted about 30 minutes before it levelled out. On the other side were Twinkle and several other hikers who were taking a break ..

See you at the top guys I said and walked past I was now on a path that was bordered with string . Come on sun I thought to myself …as I made my way up. I met two old friends coming down.

Spider and feather who I hadn’t seen since Dalesville months ago .We hugged out then I pushed on .

it was about another 40 minutes and  I was there .I was at Baxter Peak, the top of Katahdin. and oh so many friends were there.

I waited for my turn to climb the famous sign . My hiker buddy The invisible man took my photos and videos. So Big Thanks. Invisible Man

Omg my hike is done, it’s done, I’ve bloody done it .

I started April 11 and I have been on trail for all these months and taken over 6 million steps .
I sat on top and just relaxed taking my thoughts .before the inevitable Down There is another amazing down called the Knife edge   But on a day when you can not see Shit!   It seemed a pointless route  so i took the more traditional route called Saddle,  I followed the path down ,the invisible man soon past me as most other hikers do. I then caught a lady and her two daughters who had driven 3 hours to climb the mountain and also hoped for for a view. I spent the rest of the morning  leapfrogging her
I left the top about 12.30 and was down at the rangers station by 2 pm The Invisible man was relaxing in the sun and of course the cloud was lifting as I made my decent.

The lady with her daughter’s offered to give us a ride back to town but they wanted to stop on the way back for ice cream, that of course was fine by us .
Once back at the hostel my first chore was to remove my beard, followed by a shower  then beer .

We went to the bar and had a few beers and I had the food sampler that was bloody tasty I kept looking at the lobsters in the tank..maybe another day !!.
while there my mates from home Face-timed me which was great ..home soon guys.

We then returned back to the hostel with a 20 pack and watched a few films on Dvd.
I didn’t want to be late as I wanted to hike a 10 mile stretch that I missed

Night. all

Start. 2186
Finish. 2191
Miles. 6
miles left. ZERO

.

Day 159 Zero in Millinocket

Saturday 15th September

Oh such luxury of a real bed.
I got up showered another luxury and then went down to breakfast, it’s all self service continental which means cereal, waffles and toast .
But I ate my full and was fairly happy.
Once back to my room I stripped down my pack being fairly brutal on my rubbish and dumped loads of crap. I checked out and headed back to town.
It was a beautiful morning, warm all ready . On the way back I passed several  stores so went  inside for a nose.
I walked I passed the post office ,good to know where that is as that’s will be my next chore after checking in.
At the hostel there were  many familiar faces just chilling  .I dropped my pack and enjoyed an early beer with them while I waited to check In

Next the post office, I had 14 parcels !!  I unwrapped them and put the contents into my new suit case then bounced my hiking poles to Boston and whoop my new Exped mat  was here so i swapped it for my faulty one and returned it to Exped . I hope I can get all this stuff home I thought !!

I then staggered back to my hostel with my suit case and other boxes . Once back i began to sort the stuff on my bed. I managed to get most a of it into my suitcase .
I then went to explore the festival  as I was leaving I met orange Nija , he mentioned that the hostel may have an old suit case . FOC.
Yes they did fantastic , i threw the rest of my gear into it plus my excess stuff that I didn’t want to carry up the mountain tomorrow .Result.!!!
I then explored town before meeting up with the invisible man and natty daddy for a few beers

We sat in the garden of the blue pub and were joined by more hiker trash .
It was great just chilling and chatting . I called it a day at 5pm as I wanted an early night as I was climbing tomorrow and the shuttle left at 6.10 am

Start. 2176
Finish. 2176
Miles. zero
Miles left. 6

Day 158 Moose!

Friday. 14th Sep

I woke early as I was uncomfortable on my buggered mat. as I lay there I heard a weird noise, a new noise, could it be moose? I grabbed my phone threw on my flip flops and crashed through the woods to the creek
The sound was much louder a mowing or bellowing sound, followed by lots of crashing. and I could see the trees moving ..I trained my phone on the sound and was shortly rewarded with the large head of a Bull moose poking out of the trees but it was brief before he retreated into the forest. But it was brilliant and made my day .I was so so excited a moose and a huge bull moose at that whoop

I made my way back to.my tent and began to strip down, I was still on cloud nine.
I made a brew, drained it and in was ready.
It was about   .8 miles  to the shelter I could have made that yesterday but then I wouldn’t of seen the moose
I  pushed on  and soon began to see tents before running into passenger ..how goes it man .
So good to see you.
We chatted for a while , before i went in search of the  privy
when i walked over to the shelter i was  surprised to see the whole of  the slack packing team (cheaters lol )

We  took a few photos then of set off it was about 16 miles to Abol bridge then a hitch into millinocket..
I pushed on but the trail was pretty crappy mainly roots so my pace was slow  but i didn’t really care   and  well the scenery was pretty amazing
I hiked on passing  many amazing lakes, eventually  stopping at a spring to grab more water. There were reports that there were moose  nearby but there was nothing when i arrived..

It was a beautiful day and was beginning to get warmer as I hiked on, pushing  past more and more lakes.  It was then that I saw two familiar faces . sat on a rock by the lake was So-hum and Kaleidoscope

Bloody he’ll i exclaimed I thought you guys were long gone
Wander woman then appeared  so I asked her to take our photos.
I then followed then out  but do not  have their pace.
The trail  began to climb, more  slabs of rock , The heat hit me like an oven door being opened. it was like a furnace. I had to stop to put my bandanna around my head to stop the sweat stinging my eyes . Then Katahdin appeared OMG MY END GOAL!!It looked amazing I stood in awe of the mountain

This was to be the end of my journey . all those days months and miles. I hoped to climb this beauty Sunday or Monday .
I pushed on my watch counting down the hours, at 12 .30 I decided that I deserved a break and found a large rock to sit on . I dropped my packed put on a brew as  several  hikers began to pass  followed by Wander woman, Passenger , bleep and lastly the commander before I packed up and set off After them .
I caught them at the next shelter the last shelter on the AT so I stopped to sign the book, before continuing on . I was getting excited at reaching Abol bridge..

I pushed on and typically the trail became an obstacle course lots of trippy-up  roots slippery rocks and  lastly walking the plank, this was followed by a  biggish climb ..
Once up i was greeted  by a sign telling me I was exiting the 100 mile wilderness
laughed to myself that i was still alive. ha ha
It was a short walk before i came to  the road, as I crossed it a car came past me that  i recognised as being the commanders wife ..
I waved and said that they were about 30 minutes behind.

There to my right was Abol bridge. whoop whoop.
As I walked across  the bridge ,I was so busy looking at a cormorant sat on a rock in the river that I competently missed the Amazing view of Katahdin….( I will come back).

I crossed over the bridge  and soon came to the store restaurant. Outside lined up were several packs . I dropped mine and walked into the restaurant  ordered a large sprite, beer, burger and fries and fell into a booth.
Several other hikers were here so we chatted until my food came
as I sat  chatting and eating So-hum and kaleidoscope appeared.
What an amazing view of the mountain Snail they said
Which one I replied?
Katahdin as you crossed the river Snail.
I didn’t see it I replied!!
They were speechless as was several other hikers .
I was so busy looking at the bloody constant I had completely ignored the one thing that was my goal.!!! DOH

How did I manage that, so as soon as I had woofed my dinner i walked back to take  photos of Katahdin mountain and strangely the cormorant was still.there.

I walked back to.the store and Then I ordered up a BlackBerry large ice cream .
it was getting late almost 6 pm and  I still had to hitch into millinocket .
So-hum & Kaleidoscope were hiking on  and were going to summit  tomorrow so I said my goodbyes and headed for the road

In hindsight if i had gone on with them then i would have climbed Katahdin on a glorious  day   Oh well

I began to walk and was picked up by a tour guide taking two customers back to their lodge. I sat in the back  of the pickup that was very exhilarating.
He dropped me off at the hostel but I had forgotten that it was trail days and so the town was heaving so no room at the hostel.
There were so many familiar faces here  so I caught up on the Goss for a while but I needed a bed so headed to the hotel about a mile away it was just over $100 but I needed a bed .
Once i had checked in , i visited the shops brought some beer and then to McDonald’s.
Once back at my room , I did  laundry then caught up on my blog.

Start. 2
Finish. 11
Miles. 16
miles left. 6

Day 157. 100 mile wilderness (day5)

Thursday 13th September

I got up quite leisurely as I no.longer need to rush it’s only 51 miles  to go and I have bags of time…….maybe.
When i opened my tent I was greeted with the start of an amazing sunrise . I watched  for about 15 minutes

Most of the tents that surrounded me last night had gone . i watched more of the sunrise  as I made tea and welcomed in the new day.
Finally I packed up and was on my way, if the trail was similar to yesterday then I would like a 20 miler but to be honest I would settle for 16.

As i began  the trail greeted me with boulders,  great start I thought .
The trail took me around the lake so which looked fantastic as the light changed  with the amazing sunrise
It was warm already as i made my way  over and around  these boulders once they vanished the planks returned . Okay maybe I won’t do 20 ..as I was struggling to get any pace at all. The planks then were replaced  by the dreaded roots.. It’s like two rows of tyres that footballers run over in training , b  I’m not a footballer and  my feet don’t move like that. grrrrr.

The trail was walk the plank, trip over roots, fall off rocks for most of the morning. before a reasonable trail returned .
I  eventually  came to a shelter , i stopped to write in the book, but made sure I left going North.!!!

By mid morning I had passed several  more  gorgeous lakes, they looked stunning .I had the time to stay  relax  by  the shores  but  something inside urged me on.
When  I came to a road I saw Ossie’s wife , I cheekily asked if she had a soda.
She hadn’t but found me an energy drink that i quickly necked ..it was cold and did the trick.
I thanked her and pushed on shortly coming to another glorious lake. there were 2 Privy’s and a picnic table, i decided that it must be lunch as it was 12.

I put on a brew and ate some snacks before checking my map. Wow 10.5 miles I was fairly chuffed as it had been a crap morning trail wise. I should be able to match that in the afternoon may be ha ha.
I went and sat on the beach by the lake for 5 minutes skimmed a few stones then it was time to hike.

I followed this amazing lake for several hours dipping into the forest then back on to the beach. Whilst in the forest another sea plane came over very low and landed on the lake..wow amazing I want one lol.
The trail then became hard work up and down the forest whilst weaving in and out of trees . This exhausts me as I can’t get any rhythm  so struggled when the next climb appeared going straight into chug mode.  about halfway i came across another hiker taking a break.
“I didn’t realise that there were any climbs”, I said puffing.
“It’s just this bump”.he said
Just a bump I thought to my self, Fucking big bump.
I continued to chug up and up until I reached a sign saying Nesuntabut Mountain. I stopped for a break . then I was ready will it now be all down…..I doubt it ha ha

It was 2 pm and 8 more miles to the shelter but I felt fresh  so pushed on  until I came to another amazing lake, typically the trail likes to take you all  the way around .
As I walked through the surrounding forest there were numerous boats chained to trees and several boats tied up by a long rock slab. Nearby several girls were sunbathing  lucky them i thought
As I just hiked on the trail got board of being flat so decided that some climbing would be fun. 4 pm pinged my watch, I decided that 20 miles was too much and another hour would do.

At the next river I decided to water up, half hour later i spied some great  spots and several tents.
Now here’s where I should of stopped…………
BUT NO…..I decided to push on, do the hour….BIG. MISTAKE.
There was nothing , I walked following the river mile after mile constantly climbing 5 pm pinged my watch. At 5.45 I thought bollocks  and  left the trail to find a suitable spot, maybe a compromise  but my tents up and a brew is on

21 miles better than I thought night only 30 to go !!!

Start. 2139
Finish. 2160
Miles. 21
miles left. 30

Day 156 100 mile wilderness (Day 4)

I didn’t sleep to well on my lumpy bed so was pleased when the alarm went off.
I visited the privy, I  should of take my camera as the Privy  was very very nice ..brand spanking new. lol

After I retrieved my food bag i  put on a brew.
My tent was  wet due to dew or being by the river.I packed up then scoffed an apple pie that I had been carrying,  slurped my tea and I was on my way.
I walking  early today as it was rumoured to be ‘Flat”. It was fairly overcast as I made my way down the trail . The first few miles were very rooty and after my fall yesterday I was being cautious. I had several small climbs, before the trail at last flattened out and so I could get a good pace, until I came to a large blow-down area. Most had been cut.

Thanks trail people but there were still a few to climb over or under. I pushed on navigated a few wobbly planks over bogs and soon arrived at the next shelter.
I was fairly pleased with my pace so I stopped to sign the register.
This is where it went wrong , somehow I got turned around and headed back the way I came . I had covered 1.5 miles when I ran into another hiker.
Your going the wrong way he said.
As Sobo’s say this all the time to us North-bounders .  I said   Bollocks.
But this hiker I recognised as his hammock was by my tent  yesterday
“Fuck fuck “I said to myself out loud how the fuck did I do that.
“lucky I met you or I would be back where I started” i said before  promptly turning around and headed  back the way i had just come  for the third time !!!NORTH.
I pushed on still mumbling to myself and a few obscenities
On the journey back I recognised  a few landmarks why didn’t I notice them when I headed south Arrrrhhh.
Sure enough the shelter reappeared ,  a few more swear words passed my lips as i passed it again for the second time
I arrived  at a river, it was easy to rock hop and I was soon over and trying to make up the  3 miles that I had just wasted . I had 20 miles in mind and that may not be possible. now that the evenings are getting darker earlier now.

I pushed on through the forest making the most of a flat trail yes there were a few humps but nothing silly .I had my music up loud and I was going as fast as I could with out exhausting myself . I had one biggish climb later but it wasn’t huge. I pushed on until I met another hiker who had just stopped for water.
“It’s great water mate” he said.
“How far is it? “I asked
“It’s just there” he said pointing.
I went and grabbed a bottle, I was just back on trail when I ran into onion. I had met her before but i wasn’t sure where .
I was now at the  climb  and to be more fun it was rock slabs . I had some great views but decided that i didn’t want to stop until  i was at the top, it wasn’t a huge climb and i was  soon at the top as my watch pinged 12 pm.  Time for a quick break .I  wanted a  brew but I didn’t want to stop too long.  So cheese , biscuits, jerky..peanuts, skittles and I was away. I had already eaten my hiking snacks to help me get over my 3 mile detour so there was no more.

But I was feeling  good ..my target was antlers campground still 12 miles away or six good hours . I can do that
I pushed on passing numerous ponds,  I had long stopped looking for moose that so sped straight past, jumping  fallen trees or walking around them . I crossed numerous boards over numerous bogs , noticing piles of new  boards  now and then.
Again a big thank you Trail people .
As began to descend,I  could see a road with people . It was trail magic two guys who had recently finished were paying it forward.
Beer or coke they asked .
Beer please..I took a seat
They then fed me about a dozen  orioles biscuits, 2 bags of crisps, 3 chocolate cups and 2 satsuma’s I washed  down with another beer.
They insisted putting a  few snacks into my pockets before i left.
Thank you  so much guys , Okay back to walking only 10 miles now, I should  be there by 6.30.
I pushed and pushed as the trail was still perfect for me but I didn’t want to run out of steam.  I zoned out as I chased the miles.
Another ford stopped me in my tracks but I managed to rock-hop it and the next one.
3 pm pinged my watch, 6 more miles, come on snail. but  I was flagging  so  woofed a rice crispy bar that I had obtained earlier .I was saving it but needed it .
4 pm pinged my watch,I woofed my second rice crispy bar.
I was tired and cursed the 3 mile detour again .

Come on Snail, i urged . typically when your tired and have had enough the trail becomes crap. I was having to climb over rocks and small boulders the size of football’s but I don’t trust them , or  rather my feet  do not , so I walk around them that wastes time but I want to get there in one piece. At last a proper  trail returns and so does my pace.
I’m here thank god , The campsite sits on the hedge of a lake.

my tent is soon up and s brew is on the go whoop 20 miles or 23 With the detour

night all

Start. 2119
Finish. 2139
Miles. 20

Day 155 A wet 100 mile wilderness (day 3)

Thursday 11th September

my alarm went off just before the rain started, I lept out of bed and retrieved my food bag before it got soaked
I had just hot back into my tent when whoosh down came the rain . bollocks I said very loudly and decided to get back into my bag and switch off the next two alarms.

The drumming on my tent soon sent me to sleep , I guess I just of needed it as I woke again at 7.30 . There seemed to be a lull in the rain, so I quickly put on a brew as I began to pack my bag and once every thing was packed  I began tent dismantle in the rain.
I have become rather good at this . I unclip the fly from the tent from inside release the clips and roll the tent up leaving the fly standing, then I roll up the footprint and lastly the fly.
I was rather pleased ,  best effort so far. I drained my tea and I was ready. I walked down the trail trying to avoid all the huge puddles thinking  to myself  that if I had gone on I wouldn’t need to be doing this. I then came to another Ford……..
Now there are two important lessons here.

Lesson 1 , I  should of known  this by checking my guide last night . FAIL.
Lesson 2, When you reach a Ford do the obvious, take your shoes off and cross it …….What did I do ?
I walked all the way back to where I was camped looking for some where to rock hop. then decided that the rocks were to slippery
1,So ended up taking my shoes off anyway.
2, The point that I crossed was no where near the trail , I  had to bushwhack back to the trail . wasting time , about an hour FAIL!!!!!.

Once I was back on trail it was slow going, there were so many vast puddles to manoeuvre around..Bollocks were some of my words I used.
I’m. have nice new shoes and I’m trying to keep them as dry as possible, even though the trail was wide it was a task. The trail  decide to have fun , night mare it was completely covered in tree roots. In the dry they are a pain but in the wet they are lethal, I was unable to  get any pace .In between these  obstacles were the numerous stream after stream crossings . I began following the river,  in some places it was wide and quite and times it dropped over falls with a deafening roar. I pushed on noting several campsites that I could of made if I had gone on .
I passed  mustard’s hammock ,I recognised his chair that is  similar to mine. I shouted some abuse which is customary and carried on .
I shortly met two hikers coming the other way
“great falls ahead” they said
but really I have seen enough of them but tried to  sound interested .
I pushed on in the rain trying to avoid roots and slippery rocks eventually arriving at the shelter at 12 pm.
Twinkle was just about to leave  but there were also four others in the shelter who had no intention of leaving.
I signed the log , noticing Kaleidoscope and So-hum had stayed but were long gone
I dropped pack and visited the loo .Wow it was new and rather grand.
I returned to the shelter and had lunch followed by a brew before setting set off .
The rain was still falling when I reached the first peak of my day Mountain Gulf haggis

Typically being rainy and foggy there were no views so  i head off toward my next mountain that would be White Cap. On a clear day you can see Katahdin but highly unlikely today . The down was slippery so I was taking it easy as I was in no rush.
I  hadn’t planned a big day 12 miles should do it with the climbing the rain and late start.
I had stopped earlier to get my ear buds out so was fairy happy as I made my way down the trail, there were several small climbs but nothing too serious .
The next minute I was lying on my back pointing downwards ..luckily I had grabbed a handful of roots or I would of fell further.
I’m not sure what happened but had slipped , I righted myself and retrieved my poles, I thought I may have broken a finger but it seemed to move . I was battered  and bruised and really annoyed with myself. I also had another gash on.my knee.
“For Fucks sake” I said to myself
After getting up i stood still for several minutes before continuing on, the drop must of annoyed my phone as the volume kept going up and down on it own so i switched that off and continued  on in a gloomy silence .
I shortly passed another camp site that was still dotted with tents as their owners  not moving. I resisted the urge to shout “come on you lazy fuckers it’s only rain ” ,
and so passed the camp silently
my second climb arrived  and in just under 2 hrs I had reached the top although it wasn’t White cap ..instead it was Hay Mountain …I was a little confused .
Back to lesson 1 read the guide .lol

In fact White cap was next  mountain and approximately 1 mile away so  pushed on up heading for white Cap  and today’s target.
At last  White cap mountain,  it was foggy , misty, cloudy .I took the obligatory photo and began my decent .

The decent  was over loose rock  and so was painfully slow as I  didn’t want any more falls . At last I was back on mud and it would be just under 2 miles to the shelter and done….. hopefully . The decent was mostly down stone staircases which I quite like .

but in the rain I don’t trust them. I  had to keep stopping    as it was so quite, silence, no birds  singing, squirrels  chattering  just silence.
As i descended further could d see that the trail guys had been busy putting in new stairs . Wow I am.impressed.
At last the shelter, Put my chair out first made a long awaited cuppa then put up my tent

Phew I’m done that seemed a long hard day but I did my 12 miles whoop

Start. 2107
Finish. 2119
Miles. 12
miles left. 71

Day 154 100 mile wilderness day 2

Monday 10th September

my alarm was going off as I wanted an early start . I wanted an 18 today . but I snoozed and snoozed again
I eventually crawled out at 6 am oh my god it was cold so I retreated and got my puffy and beanie on then went for a wee and retrieved my food bag

I Put on a brew and began to strip down when I was ready I stowed my puffy but left on my beanie,. finished my tea then I was away. It wasn’t far to the next shelter but the trail was so crappy, roots ,collapsed trail that it took me half an hour to get near to it.
but I didn’t visit as I wanted miles today and there were two big climbs first then the rest of the day was not much better
As  I started my first climb I was hoping for sun as my hands were freezing , Some gloves would be nice. I began doing finger exercises on my poles to keep them warm.
As I climbed the temperature did warm up thank god, but not too hot to climb in
after about an hour of dodging roots and  hand over hand climbing I had my first view which were  amazing I  was at the top of Barren mountain whoop

The next climb was named the  chair back  my fourth mountain. but I had to descend this one first and it was an awful decent rocks and more roots . it was exhausting me and it was still morning as I pushed on but not too fast that I fell.
It was now beginning to get hot as I weaved in and out of the forest trees.

In places trail maintenance had been carried out so was lovely to walk. but soon the roots and rocks returned . I decided that in would push until 1 pm and hopefully covered 10 miles which would be good on this cluttered trail. as I climbed yet more rock my watch chimed 1 pm and there was the perfect spot for me to stop.

I dropped my pack and started a brew. Got out my cheeses and cut thick strips off . which I did eat  with my Ritz biscuits and some jerky.
I savoured my tea . it always tastes so good out here .I enjoyed my snacks and tea but those miles were waiting .
I was just packing up   when  when So-hum and kaleidoscope appeared
“hi guys “I said
Where did you crash Snail ?
“the next spot after you” i laughed
They laughed  before hiking on
I set off after  them it wasn’t long till I caught them both sat on stones having lunch.
There was water there so I grabbed a bottle before carrying on . I  then came to another new piece of trail (redirected) and it looked much more friendly then the old
After  some climbing i was on Columbus Mountain .I was just admiring it when So-hum and kaleidoscope arrived we chatted about the mountains In the background .

before i watched them sped off. Then next part was walking over rock slabs which I like . but then it was  time to head down over huge rocks,t his bit I didn’t like.

As soon as i was down it was time to climb the next one,  I emerged by a campsite  but  continued on until i reached a trail junction. Here I  got confused , I couldn’t see any blazes. I walked little way down one trail, when I looked back could see the southbound blaze. Okay im on the right route  after several hundred yards I was at the shelter chair back gap shelter.
I passed straight through before starting my descent down, crossing  several bogs.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on a seesaw or rather that’s what it seemed . It was now 3 Pm I was tired.  I decided that i would  settle for 16 miles as this terrain has  been bloody tough. Suddenly I was passed by Kaleidoscope and so-hum.
Where did you guys get too ? I asked
Are you enjoying this trail , as I’m bloody struggling with it .
They agreed that it had been a hard day and then they were gone .
I pushed on annoyed that I couldn’t go  faster . around the next corner I spotted 4 grouse i watched them for several minutes.
I continued on this man roller coaster until  ping went my watch it was 5 pm .
I stopped to check my map as I did so a hiker called Twinkle passed by
“See you at the campsite !!She said
I had 1.5 miles to go and the map said down .

I was tired , but it wasn’t far to go, I have got this
I pushed on  down, it was steep and covered  with many planks to cross, i emerged  out by a road  crossed over and back into the forest . To my left was a stream so decided up water up
A little further along the trail was the ideal spot, Twinkle was here and another hiker . “Do you mind if i camp here”. I asked
“Not at all,  we are just eating then are going to push on”
I dropped my pack  and began to cook
They were  concerned about the rain tomorrow

Start. 2091.
Finish. 2107
Miles. 16
miles left. 84

Day 153 Breakfast At Shaw’s

Sunday

Breakfast was  7am at Shaws the other hostel in town. so at 6.30 I emerged visited the loo then stepped our side to gauge the weather it was cold so I grabbed my puffy and set off up town.

Once there I walked into the hostel.it was a nice of activity there were 4 large tables laid up 2 filled with family faces. I grabbed a large cup of coffee and sat at an empty table in was immediately joined by the commander and low gear we gave our order the choice being scrambled or fried eggs and how you wanted them cooked. It was a fairly slick.operation as 40 starving hikers got fed and with freshly cooked eggs.

My plate arrived 3 fried eggs a mound of bacon and fried potatoes that were cooked to perfection in-other  words bloody good

I dug in, in between top ups of coffee and orange juice. I could have more if we wanted. but we still had pancakes to come so I waited . A plate stacked high with freshly cooked blueberry pancakes was then set on the table.

The pancakes were the side of a saucer and 1/2 ” thick. people tend to smear them with butter stack another on top then pour over the maple syrup so I copied and they were so bloody good.  I had 6.  and decided that was plenty so a few more cups of coffee and I was done and all for $9 Bloody great value.
I went to say good bye to all my trail family so we all took photos. before I made my way back to my hostel and begin the process of packing.

Sunshine , snail, mousetrap and Peach

I unpacked it all first them repacked up I gave a bag of Doritos and Ritz biscuits to another hiker and my remaining bear to Bilbo.
I  grabbed my water and cheese from the fridge..put my old shoes to be recycled and I was ready

I lifted up.my pack Omg this is fucking heavy as  it’s got 7 days worth of food in it and 2 litre of water. I struggled down the stairs and dropped it on to the back of the waiting car ,( The hostel offers a free shuttle back to the trail head)

Okay Snailtrainer have you got everything? The owner said.
I bloody well hope so I replied.
Then we were moving. Monson is a really lovely town and i enjoyed my stay with you. I told the owner .
She was really pleased and asked why I chose it . so I explained.

We are here. I thanked her and retrieved my pack and slowly hoisted it up onto my back.

Omg I winced ,well it can only get lighter I laughed to myself waved goodbye and set off down the trail . I hadn’t gone far when I felt that something wasn’t right with my left shoe. could be a wrinkle in.my sock. so I stopped smoothed out my socks . dropped several vit-Is and continued on my way again I hadn’t gone far when I ran into Truck. she was flip flopping but she screaked when I said my name.
Fame at last I laughed.
She had been hiking a while with Dan & Beth Magic and Red so we gossiped for a good ten minutes.

I pushed on but the beginning of the trail was littered with roots that really twisted my shoes hurting my feet ..and these shoes were new do didn’t have any give yet. so my feet were being hurt so a few. obscenities filled the air . At last the roots faded out. and i came to a sign telling me that in was now entering the 100 mile wilderness and that  I should be prepared. or I should turn back.

my heavy pack reminded me that i was prepared. so.i laughed to myself. took.the obligatory photo.and marched on

By mid morning I had passed about a dozen beautiful lakes  and the sun was now beginning to shine. I now began to climb and was soon on large slabs of rock but these were made of slate. as I climbed I began to see several sea planes I presumed. they were going to the festival in Monson. I pushed on. and soon arrived a beautiful river that dropped in tone gorge far below . Sat  here were Peanut and Poppins. hey guys I said . They had just finished their lunch and were beginning to move
See you later Snail. they called as they vanished into the woods.

I took some photos  before continuing on . I followed the river for some time before splitting away near a beaver dam
I crossed over just behind the dam then I was on boards . I bounced over the boards. as they zig zagged through the forest  emerging on the opposite bank of the Beaver pond . Perfect for moose but not today . as I walked I scoured the marshes , but nought. The trail then took a sharp right, back into the forest and shortly  I was climbing again on the huge slate slabs

It wasn’t  long before I was rewarded with amazing views of the water meadow and beaver pond below

It was now hot, the slabs radiating the heat upwards . phew but with my new shoes I had more confidence with the grip and was able race across them .
Soon I was joined by the river , This made me think that a water crossing must be coming up. Luckily is was a fairly shallow ford  but i still removed my shoes.
I followed the river for almost 30 minutes until I caught peanuts and Poppins , I walked  with them for a while until we reached the next crossing

There was a girl halfway across and on the other bank were mousetrap and sunshine. I waved to them then removed my pack and started to remove my shoes and socks . hung them high on my pack ,put my phone in the brain along with my Mp3 player Put on my flip flops then i was ready.
I joked with Poppins I’m starting with two flip flops see if I finish with two.
As I slid into the water i slipped on the rocks and almost fell over. Good start I thought. I grabbed the rope and inched my way over using my pole to balance.

Hurrah over . I sat on a rock and ate an apple my feet dried then watched Poppins come across followed by peanut. So-hum and kaleidoscope arrived and Kaleidoscope seemed to just walk across.
I put on.my socks and shoes said see you all up the trail and marched on up the trail

I wanted to get to the next shelter which was about 6 miles away and it was now 2 pm and who knows whats in front . I pushed on popping a boiled sweet into my mouth trying to make it last as long as I could . Well it helped pass the time . I  came to another  beaver pond and the trail had been rerouted but was confusing . but I managed to navigate around . sadly no beavers .
The rest of the after noon I crossed stream after steam with the occasional river,the clarity of the river water always amazes me

Once across I began to climb then immediately descended . but I was now on chunks of rock that i struggle to walk over .Several river crossings later Poppins and Peanut cruise past me shortly followed by Kaleidoscope and So-hum .
Where are you heading snail? they asked
Trying for the shelter i replied
We are going to camp.just past the river .
Okay I said I see how I feel!

I exited out onto a road. and followed them until they disappeared  from view
I crossed another river and decided to  water up. As I climbed up i noticed several hikers and their tents
“Hi guys ” I said and hiked on until I noticed kaleidoscope and So-hum in a great spot down by the river.
Great spot i shouted   , see you tomorrow guys.
I continued on passing several other nice spots  until i came to a third . No this will do me .it was 5.30 and I had done 15 miles.

I put up my tent made a brew. and as dinner was cooking hung my bag

Start. 2076
Finish. 2091
Miles. 15
miles left. 99

Day 152 Zero in Monson

Saturday 8th September

It was such a luxury to have a lie in .
once up, I sorted through my pack to discard all the rubbish that i always acquire after I grabbed my sleeping pad and set off too the post office. but detoured to the information Centre first.

They were very friendly giving me advice one how to get to the park where to camp the options etc and also how to get back and to Boston, she also printed off some information for me too.

Okay too the post office.
“Good morning ,you should hopefully have 2 packages for me” I said handing over my I’d.

We have one she said returning with my new shoes, but no pad.
F@#$% I said to myself.
The post office lady was really helpful and arranged for it to bounce it to Millinocket . But suggested that i pop back at 11 just in case.
What a lovely lady


I posted my other bits before heading to the grocery shop.
They had some stuff but it was limited and a little pricey . but if you need it you buy it!

.I then headed back to the post office. She sadly shook her head.
Oh well more sleeping on my crap mat , i made my way to Shaw’s the other hostel as I needed fuel and other bits.

When I came out of the resupply shop Mousetrap and Sunshine were here. I caught up on gossip before heading back to my hostel.
I packed up my unneeded gear before putting my clothes on to wash.
It was such a gorgeous day so I went and sat in the garden with my sandwich and apple that I brought earlier .
As I sat there relaxing a seaplane came in and landed on the lake behind me , how cool is that .
When hiking it find it difficult to sit still for a long time so went back inside, opened a beer and caught up. with my blog.
I am having issues with my phone as the internal memory just keeps filling up and I am not sure why ?
After several hours of successful blog editing and posting i rewarded myself with ice cream, whilst watching Ace Ventura 1 & 2.
Bilbo arrived , good to see you I said, before briefing him on the layout of the town

Okay i now have the munchies so decided to visit the garage to see what selection of food they had, it was getting cold so I put on my freshly laundered puffy its so lovely to put on clean smelling clothes
I grabbed a selection of different flavoured Snickers, skittles, several pies, Doritos ,jerky and jelly snakes before wandering back and to my space on the sofa.

Bilbo asked if I wanted to join him for dinner.?
Yes why not. At 6 we went down to the restaurant. We were found chairs at the bar and promptly ordered beer a PBR for me a Guinness for Bilbo.
Bilbo orders a chicken salad with fries and I ordered crab won-ton, mozzarella sticks and fries
Bilbo’s appeared almost immediately, but I waited, finished my beer, had another and waited and waited .
But the wait was worth it, It was a well presented and tasty. after we were done we closed out and went back upstairs to have beer in the fridge.
We ended up watching just go with it with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston until it was time to turn in

Start. 2076
Finish. 2076
Miles. zero
miles left.114.9

Day 151 heading to Monson

Friday 7th September

I was up and packed early but it was a cold morning  but dry, I was walking by 6.45 as I wanted to get as close to Monson as I could .

I had another climb to do first then hopefully it was down hill ha ha.

I was feeling good as I hiked along the trail and the climb was good . I came to a short hand over hand section then it became normal . I climbed higher then came to some amazing rocks they were huge and the trail passed through them and around them.

it was then a short scramble and then.inwas on huge slabs of rock again as I climbed above the tree line. Wow what a view I was staying st a vast lake and the clouds or mist hung above it like a blanket. I stood admiring the views before pushing on and up.

At last I reached the summit and received even better views. It was fairly flat up here as I looked all around me. I could of stayed and camped but today I wanted miles

I walked on, the views were spectacular. As I started my decent I ran into a SOBO, we exchanged greetings and I continued on . It was early but the sun was trying to shine.

I headed down with the occasional up just to annoy me.
On the damp muddy parts I could see many moose tracks, I stopped to stare into the woods, how do these big animals disappear?.
The trail passed through several pine forests and now with the sun they smelled wonderful, one of my favourite smells on trail
Once out of the forests. I began walking in an river bed that was covered in small boulders that are a pain to walk over

At last I was walking on stepping stones which made a change from the duck boards. I was joined by another creek that I was to followed for most of the day ..

Some times I walked beside it other times I was high above it, but was always there. I decided that at 12 i would stop for lunch as my tummy was rumbling and I had eaten most of my snacks.. I pushed on crossing several streams then arrived at the bank of a river. It was wide, I couldn’t see how to cross before I saw a rope stretched across. how’s do i use that?

I then noticed 2 hikers sat on the other side..
“How did you get across” I asked.
“We are SOBO’S so we haven’t yet ..think it’s croc time!!. one shouted

Oh I replied taking off my pack then removing my shoes and socks.
I put on my flip flops, slung on my pack, grabbed the rope and gingerly stepped into the water. It was freezing as I inched my way across, as it got deeper the rocks got slippery
As I soon as i was across and up the bank it was definitely lunch time..

The other 2 hikers were stridder and Boson. we chatted for a while .
I had just put on my shoes when my watch pinged 1 pm
before i made my way back to the trail
I had covered 10 miles, so could possibly make town . I hoped that the trail was going to stay nice!!
I soon met another hiker I warned him that he was going to get his feet wet until i noticed his badges. He was a ridge runner

Ridge runner
these people   serve as the trail’s eyes and ears: talking to the public about Leave No Trace principles, taking care of blown-down trees, gathering statistics on trail use, reporting back on conditions to trail committees, and even handling the dirty job of privy maintenance
They are really helpful  and  have a lot of knowledge

 be sure to say thanks.

He told me about the trail ahead and that there was one more river crossing but that I should be able to rock hop it.

I soon reached the next shelter, great I thought I’m making good time
I pushed on deciding that i would stop at three for a quick break.
I passed several more wallows and briefly stopped to look for moose. nothing
The locals call them swamp donkeys, as they love these places.

When I came to a spring , i stopped and topped up my water just in case
I was still making good time but was beginning to tire, So I was pleased when my watch chimed 3 pm and there was a perfect spot to stop.
I ate a couple of snacks before transferring some other snacks to my side pockets .I checked my map 6 miles to go and it’s now 3 pm so 6pm depending on my pace .
I pushed on , at 5 pm I arrived at another walkway over another bog. but as I walked across it was easy to see that moose had been here and possibly lied down as the grass was all crushed But sadly no moose .
Perhaps if I stop looking for them!!

As I crossed another dirt road i noticed another snowmobile course that ran by the side of the trail for some way before heading uphill.
It was now time for board walking again and in between them were gnarly roots perfect
I began to hear the sound of traffic, fantastic as this seemed to on urge me on. At 6.30 I was stood by the road.
I put out my thumb and watched car after car zoom pass me.
A pickup came by , stopped asked where I was going and then did a u-turn
I passed you he said , I don’t know why I didn’t stop.
I threw my pack into the back, before jumping in and thanking him.
It was getting dark so i may have had to camp in the car park.
He dropped me by the post office. I thanked him again then began to walk towards the Shorehouse.
As I walked ,I met Samaritan coming the other way with pizza.
Bloody he’ll we both exclaimed.
He was staying at the other hostel.
If there is no room, I may see you later” I said
Once at the Shorehouse I made my way to the bar to ask if there was any space.?

As I step inside I heard “Snailtrainer!!!
It was her Dudeness, who I hadn’t seen since hot springs . It was good to catch up but she was busy cooking so I said I’d grab her later.
I was shown my bunk and how it works. I grabbed a shower and cleaned up before heading downstairs to the restaurant.
I found a table ordered a beer, a starter of fried mozzarella .
I followed that with a 12 oz rib eye, salad and fries . As I am a hiker I had to eat pudding all washed down with a few more beers.

I then recognised the hikers that I had met today so joined then for a good night beer. great day

Start. 2054
Finish. 2076
Miles. 22
miles left. 114