July 6, 2010 2:45 am
Location: Saddleback Mountains, Maine
The heat and humidity has really kicked in this week. It has been brutal. It has slowed me to a mere crawl at times. The first accent you make before Saddleback Jr. Mountain is the Poplar Ridge. It’s a very steep rocky climb with some fair bouldering but nothing to technical. It has a decent amount of sun exposure and it cooked me!!!
I finally caught up with Brookie and he said Flora and Fauna were just ahead. They were all going to try and push over the whole range, Saddleback Jr., the Horn and Saddleback Mountain. It was 9 more miles, there were some pretty steep ups and downs, it was already 3 and the heat coming up Poplar Ridge was too much for me.
I have been a bit lonely at times lately and would have liked the company but I had started from even further back than them, done Sugar Loaf in the morning and there was no way I could make that whole push.
I said my goodbyes to Brookie and had planned to hammock about halfway through the whole range and get up early to finish and hopefully catch up with them.
I camped as planned just over Saddleback Jr. and near the Horn Peak and rose early to finish the range. Saddleback has a lot of “above tree line” or exposed terrain. The last thing you want to happen is to get caught out in lightening above tree line and when I did Saddleback there were clouds rolling over, a thick mist and thunder storms in the forecast.
I rushed across it and think I lost out on some great views because of the weather. Fortunately there was no lightening and of course it cleared just as I headed down the other side. At least it was a little cool up there.
July 5, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Sugar Loaf Mountain, Maine
Ok so the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, a well known ski mountain isn’t exactly on the Appalachian Trail. You do pass a blue blaze or side trail leading to the summit.
I reached this point around 6:30pm last night and contemplated the hike up. It was only .5 miles each way but there wasn’t a lot of daylight left and I was still 3 miles from the next shelter where I had hoped to catch up with Brookie, Flora, and Fauna. I saw a perfect hammock spot right near the trail split and thought about camping there and heading up in the morning. I hadn’t seen anyone from our original gang for a few days and really wanted some social interaction so I pressed on. I walked about 5 minutes and thought how I would be kicking myself if I blew a chance to see Maine’s second highest peak and all I had to do was climb a half mile to do it. I turned around and camped out.
I Got up at 5 and began my assent. It was relatively easy and the views spectacular!!! Definitely glad I did it.
July 4, 2010 10:54 pm
Location: Stratton, Maine
My stay in Stratton was relatively uneventful. I was locked up in my hotel room watching World Cup for most of it. I did go out to dinner and tried both of the 2 local restaurants. I did laundry and picked up some supplies and food.
These small towns haven’t seemed to hear of Dr. Bonners soap yet. I’ll give it 1 or 2 more towns before having some mailed to me. All natural soap is essential in the woods, not just for cleaning myself but dishes, water bottles, everything.
I ran into Mother Goose on my way out of town and she said her knees were bothering her so she was going to skip ahead to Rangely. I hope her knees feel better. She also said Brooky, Flora and Fauna were just a few hours ahead back on the trail after a night off. Would be great to catch up with them!
Back to the trail!
July 4, 2010 2:12 am
A beard or a backpack are immediate giveaways you are a distance hiker.
This is good as I am not necessarilly the most socially outgoing person. It is an immediate conversation starter. Through being identified as a hiker I have met many people. Town locals, section hikers, veteran trail hikers. Everyone wants to start a conversation with you. It’s amazing.
On the trail or in town kids eyes light up when they see you. “Are you a thru-Hiker?” When you answer yes they have a flood of excited questions. “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been out?” Always finished with “(very excitedly) I hope you make it!!! ” Shit kid I hope so too!!! (Oops did I just curse;))
Who cuts hair in these towns? No barber shop. I guess its probably Martha or something in her kitchen. Gotta get the secret handshake I’m getting kinda scruffy which is fine when you can shower every day but in the woods ill take clean cut. Of course then I won’t be easily identified as a thru-hiker without my pack. Hmmm….
Some of these towns just “had an ATM put in last year. It was a big event.” How far are these people driving to do their banking? How much fossil fuel does taking 20$ cash out if the bank burn?
Why do race horses have to pee so bad?
I don’t eat sweets but something about these small towns makes me crave ice cream. I had a bowl of Maine Black Bear Cherry that was incredible.
July 3, 2010 1:40 pm
13 hours of hiking. 4 peaks, 2 @ 4000’+
1 Really big beer!!!:) (ok its not a Guiness, I didn’t say it was a wet dream;))
July 2, 2010 11:44 pm
Hard to believe its been only 2 weeks to the day since I left Baxter State Park and officially began my hike. Seems like so much has happened. Just the begging of a 6 month journey.
Almost 200 miles! Once World Cup ends and I stop taking these long weekends off I should make some real miles lol. Can’t complain about 18 mile days in this terrain. It’s very tough and at times downright unpleasant but overall I am enjoying it. Prob 1 week of Maine left then the infamous Whites of New Hampshire.
With a bunch of 4000′ + mountains left ahead in Maine this week I’m sure I’ll be in peak shape.
All in all a good 2 weeks.
July 2, 2010 9:06 pm
[youtube rvbnSpznd0M Butterflies]
Hello to my butterflies Erin & Sarah from the AT 🙂
July 2, 2010 12:39 pm
A day when a hiker walks no miles. A day of rest.
Best spent hold up in a hiker hostel or hotel watching World Cup Soccer 🙂
July 2, 2010 10:39 am
Outhouse. Not wild about these but it beats digging a cathole. This one had 2 seats in it. Not sure I understood that.
July 1, 2010 9:16 pm
Location: Bigelow Mountain Range, Maine
I was stopped for lunch and caught up with Mother Goose and Conner and Clara yesterday when the subject of the upcoming Bigelow Mountain Range came up. I hadn’t read to far ahead in the data book and have just been rolling with whatever comes so I dind’t know what was ahead.
Mother Goose said “She misses the Bigelows like a bad hernia operation” That was my first clue something significant lay ahead:) She talked about the ups and downs, false summits and the “bouldering”
After hearing the word “bouldering” I had flashbacks of Katadihn and the difficulties I had with bouldering there. I immediately jumped up from lunch, said goodbye and headed back on the trail anxious to get as much done before the Bigelows as possible.
I managed to get within 4 miles of the first of the mountains Little Bigelow and camped for the night.
I looked at the data book to see what lay ahead. The Bigelows were a series of peaks with 2 rising over 4000′. There are campsites between Little Bigelow and Bigelow Mountain as well as the 2 main peaks of Bigelow Mountain. Most people would split the range up into 2 days and camp somewhere in the peaks.
It’s been cold here in Maine at night, dipping to the low 40’s and I have had some trouble staying warm as I was not expecting it. Having a hammock doesn’t help either as your back is exposed to the cold air. Needless to say I wasn’t excited at the idea of camping at altitude. Not to mention the crowds at these campgrounds.
I contemplated the possibility of covering the entire range in one day. It would mean over 18 miles total, 4 peaks total, lots of bouldering, topped by a 5 mile run into town. It seemed nearly impossible but I woke up at 6 to hit the trail and give it a shot.
I started out heading up Little Bigelow early. I reached the summit by 10:30 with little trouble and had some new found confidence in my improving physical condition. I looked across at Bigelow Mountain. It was certainly the highest mountain I had seen since Katadihn and the bouldering looked formidable.
I tried to estimate if I could cover it all in one day and thought I probably could. All I could do was try and if I couldn’t finish I could suck it up and camp at altitude. As I headed through the pass between the 2 peaks and came closer to Bigelow Mountain I saw the enormity of it and my new found confidence was wavering.
I pressed on just focusing on the task ahead. It was a physically difficult climb to the first peak of Bigelow. There was plenty of bouldering but it was not what I would call technical. I handled it well and summitted around 2.
It was amazing up there!!! The views were stunning. It was freezing cold and the winds were very high. I looked across to Bigelows second peak and realized there was another peak past it I would also have to summit to get out to town.
I headed out to the west peak. It was a long greulling up and down but I managed to summit the West Peak and the South Horn peak and headed down and the 5 miles to highway 27.
Once at the highway I called a number of a hotel I had been given and got a ride in and a room. I am in Stratton, Maine and in time for Saturday’s Germany vs Argentina World Cup game!!!:) I think this could be the best game of the event so I am very excited.
I am sore all over but after doing the Bigelow range on one day I’d say I might be getting in decent shape! Now if I could stop falling on my but in the rain.