Finally backpacking this summer.
It worked out that in the space of one week, I would pack a few days along the Appalachian Trail in both Maine’s The Hundred Mile Wilderness and along the Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The Hundred was going to be easy. I was so pleased to be hiking for two days with Birdlegs and Bad Influence, two adventuresome souls that I met on the AT in 2007.
They have since become close friends. We have even shared several outdoor expeditions of sorts between and now. It is always fun, interesting, and carefree for me to spend time with either of them. To spend a couple of days and nights with both of them is nothing but a gas.
It was easy for me to pack for this trip. However, my packing list is still refining itself. I have a new stove/ windscreen/ cooking pot set up. I have an additional I-Pod cable to pack.
Because it was going to stay hot, I didn’t even bring any long pants. I did have some thin wool tights that I sleep in which could be used daytime if I needed them.
I decided to take along a couple of dinners that I dehydrated at home. I will bring along a chili and spaghetti. I had a big bag of mixed nuts and fruit for snacks. Salami and cheese/mustard and tortilla rolls ups could be lunch. Of course, there are Fig Newtons.
We pulled out of the Lincolnville homestead and three hours later we hefted our packs at the Abol Bridge store and started walking south along the storied Appalachian Trail.
Today was the hottest, most humid day of the whole summer. By the end of the day, I drank four quarts of water, half of that mixed up powdered Lemon Gatorade. I didn’t want to mess with inadequate electrolyte replacement in this heat.
Six full hours later, we pulled into the Rainbow Lake Campsite, after traversing some 11 miles that afternoon.
There we met a young, quiet Southbounder named TBO that seemed like he was already struggling to fit in. He sat with us around a fire that he helped start. Birdlegs flung a couple of leads to get him talking and even briefed him on some relevant background. She was unsuccessful in encouraging him to engage with us.
There were enough mosquitoes to deal with, so BI and I both continued to stoke our backpacking wood stoves with additional application of damp leaves to spur smoke, which repels the pests.
I was really pleased that the Trail conditions were good here.
There were many stretches of walking through evergreen groves where the Trail’s surface was spongy and springy.
There were still areas where the Trail resembled a long, narrow mud pit. I felt my stamina was good, despite the extreme heat and humidity.
BI and Birdlegs were on a schedule to finish the 100 Miles in 8 days. I had to be back home in two more days, so I am hiking and camping with them until I decide it would be time to turn around and pack back to the car at Abol Bridge.
I continue to be concerned that BI has brought enough food for the trip. I worry about him.
At the campsite BI and I swam in the cool, clean waters of the ancient Rainbow Lake while Birdlegs battles mosquitoes and their aftermath, the puckered skin landscape.
In addition to the our pals, the mosquitoes, we noticed one of their bretheren lifesucking club members, the leeches, rapidly grouping for some en mass bloodletting.
The wild, crazy cries of the loons were incessant all night. At one point I counted calls happening once every twenty seconds, for endless time.
The sunset was worth sitting up for.
I remembered that I love hiking today. I plan to keep it up.