Escape! I escaped! Andover is disappearing into the rearview mirror!
I will say this about Maine – it is very consistent! The trail, when not climbing mountains like Speck, is invariably some permutation of four traits: wet, muddy, rocky, and rooty. With an emphasis on the last two – think of tangles of roots across the path, studded liberally with rocks, and often with the water and thick or liquid mud to make it even more interesting.
Today was like that. The first part, though, was a nice walk in the woods, until the path up to Old Blue Mt. decided to get serious about the whole gaining altitude thing. Even so, it was nothing compared to previous mountains. Maine is getting a bit easier – for now anyway. The climb up was not bad, and the climb down merely tedious, trying to avoid the rocks, roots, water and mud (RRWM).
Bemis Mt. essentially was just a little bump on the map; all the elevation gain was going from South Arm Rd. to the top of Old Blue – after that, it stayed pretty level. A lot more RRWM.
Because I did not start hiking until 10 am (should have taken an earlier shuttle), I ran out of time to do the 12 miles I was planning; I ended the day at Bemis Shelter, 9.something miles in. But all is good, because I ran into some hikers I knew, staying at this shelter, too… And they have a huge bottle of Canadian Must they wanted to “lighten”. I was very happy to help them lighten their load! And gave them some chocolate in exchange.
I arrived in good time to set up my tent, and cook dinner in the shelter before it got too dark – chatted with hikers Spongebob and… can’t remember the other man’s trail name, but nice guy. 🙂 All the frustration the tedious trail caused today flaked off pretty quickly – it is good to relax in my tent. It is good to be back on trail again. I do not intend to take another zero again for a good while.
Rangeley on Friday – I will resupply just enough to get to Stratton, and may not even stay at a hostel. Just go into town to hit the IGA and an outfitter (socks!), then back out the same day, there is a shelter two miles north on the trail. We will see.
I hike on!