Has it really been 15 years? Time blurs, but can’t erase those memories. Never will.
This particular day had a miserable, rainy start; shortly after I started hiking, I was drenched to the skin from the first of two thunderstorms that came through. At first I tried to shelter in a thick patch of woods until it passed, but gave up after a few minutes when I realized it wasn’t passing, and hiked on. At least I didn’t have to pack up a wet tent!
With the miserable conditions, I had considerable incentive to hike quickly, and I covered 11.7 miles quickly indeed. Having good path helped, though there were a lot of slick & wet black slate rocks.
The sun came out about the time I reached Cooper Brook Shelter – originally I had planned to camp there and swim in the lovely cascade-fed swimming hole in front of the shelter, but by the time I got there at 2:30, I’d had my fill of water!
It had turned into a beautiful afternoon for hiking, and the path was so smooth and easy, I just kept going another couple of miles, until I reached some great camping areas just south of Jo-Mary logging road. This is where I had arranged with Shaws to get a food drop at 10am Monday, but during a rare moment of reception, I was able to reschedule the drop at 6 pm today instead.
Between 4 & 6 pm, I set up camp, hung wet clothes to dry on a clothesline Rebecca Hueske sent me long ago, and cooked dinner on some flat rocks in the river running alongside the path. There was a waterfall cascading in. Idyllic! Other hikers came up and camped, and thru-hikers Orange Crush and his wife Lightfoot actually drove up the road and parked; they were going to slackpack the next day.
The crucial thing is – they had a 24 case of PBR beer. And me? Thanks to my friends – you know who you are! – my food drop included a lot of chocolate. So, picture 8-10 hikers, deep in the 100 Mile Wilderness of Maine, having a massive beer and chocolate party. It was a unique and truly memorable night.
In the end, it was a 15.4 mile day, and I still felt like I could have kept going. But after two or three beers… tired now. It’s a very very windy, and I hope we’re done with rain!
I hike on!