Trail Notes – August 27 (Saddleback Mt., The Horn, Saddleback Junior)

Every time I turn on my phone, it assures me that Life is Good. Can’t argue with that today…

Though I had weird dreams last night, I had the most comfortable bed at the hostel, I swear. Tonight I am lying in my tent, in my sleeping bag and little airpad, with a fleece jacket pillow, and I am just as content. That must mean something!

Up early this AM, though my shuttle back to the trailhead wasn’t until 7:30. So I filled the time with breakfast – mixed up some waffle batter, Spongebob had some leftover homemade hash browns he donated (yum!), and I snagged a lemon-blueberry scone as well. I rounded it out with coffee and milk, a very tasty breakfast and good trail food!

Ah, but the first 1.8 miles to the Piazza Rock Shelter were so easy. This shelter is unique for it’s skylight in the roof. And also for the privy, which has a sign “Your Move”. Inside… A doubleseater, with a cribbage board between the holes. Weird and weird, and weirdly cool! I was lucky I got there when I did, there was a line of about six people waiting that formed just after I got there.

Underway again; I passed two ponds, Ethel Pond and Eddy Pond, and helped thru-hiker Tinker, who has a truly impressive white beard, and who had somehow gotten turned around and was walking south instead of north. With the power of Guthook, I eventually convinced him that I was not going the wrong way, he was. 🙂

Ah, then. After Eddy Pond, it was time for the loooong climb up Saddleback Mt. Not a technically difficult climb, but I was swept by a wave of unexpected nostalgia for the Whites as the trail climbed up above treeline, above 4000 feet. It felt very familiar, and I enjoyed the next 3 miles above treeline very must. Just bare rock, most of the time, and some gorgeous views – Maine is liberally dotted with ponds and small lakes. 

Saddleback had a couple of summits, then the trail dipped down very briefly into stunted pine, before the climb up the Horn. I didn’t care much for the descent; a lot of buttscooting. I preferred climbing up!

Between the Horn and Saddleback Junior was a campground, but it was only 4 pm, and there was a shelter 3 more miles on, so I pushed on. Saddleback Junior is lower in elevation – not above treeline, but some good views anyway. And a lot of rock steps on the up; more scooting on the down. I was tired at this point, just wanted to make it to the shelter and eat.

Which is where I am now. Lying down. The privy is south of the shelter, back on the AT, which is kind of weird. Usually both the shelter and privy are a few tenths of a mile down a side trail, but this time, they are right on the trail.

I only covered about ten miles today, but it was a good, full, satisfying hike. Not tomorrow, but the day after, I will be tackling some more 4000 footers. If the weather holds, they should be fun – today’s weather was absolutely perfect for hiking above treeline!

Guess I have babbled enough for tonight.

I hike on!

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