You are lucky to be getting this post – and so am I! I dropped the phone in the bathroom and it flew into pieces. Amazingly, still works after reassembly.
From the shelter in the morning to Abol Bridge was a span of 15 miles, but, at least at the beginning, there was no reason to hurry, and so I did not – at first anyway. There were three points during the day I was racing though.
During the day, I kept crossing paths with expert Katahdin-climbing sisters Robin and Patty, who were section-hiking part of the 100MW. I could not remember their names for the life of me, which was embarrassing, so I trail-named them Bird and Hamburger, which I could remember, and which they liked! Truly nice and generous people, I enjoyed hiking and chatting with them. Twice I raced ahead for different reasons, and left them behind, but waited for them to catch up, and once I raced to catch up to THEM. And they turned out to be trail angels, too!
It was not a hard day – 11 miles or so to Hurd Shelter, which was another one with a baseball bat floor. This was one of the points I was hiking quickly – I was very hungry and I very much needed a privy. It was threatening to storm, so I stayed a bit at the shelter while they hiked on, but by racing again, I caught up to them about a mile from the road.
The road. A paved road. Golden Road. Incorporating Abol Bridge, the official end of the 100 Mile Wilderness. THAT road. 3.something miles from the shelter.
As we got closer, my pace got quicker and quicker, and I left them behind again. I could not help it. The road was like a magnet for the feet! When I burst out onto it, I got so emotional.
Sadly, the Abol Bridge Campground, .2 miles down, was a total ripoff; it cost $27 to stay in a stoney site that bent several of my tent stakes, and they gave me major attitude when I was disappointed they did not sell stakes. Still, the campsite was near a river, and I tossed and turned fitfully (hard ground and chilly night) to the sounds of water. For supper, I had a grilled cheese and ham panini, good, but overpriced. I also enjoyed a beer and a rum & Coke – well, Pepsi.
And tomorrow? I set an alarm for 5 am and will walk less than a mile to reserve a camping spot at the Birches shelter in Baxter State Park, then walk back here to get the breakfast I paid for. Then I have 10 miles to cover. So close…
I hike on!