The second day out, I ended up walking 12 miles, giving me a total of 27 in my first two days out on the AT. I was pretty surprised at this respectable mileage and felt very positive about my endurance and that my feet help up well with my new Asics Gel Trabucos.
Clarkie did an excellent job of writing up our morning adventures, which culminated at the summit of Saddleback Mountain, but before he showed up to walk with me, I had a few hours to kill between the time I left the campsite at 9:15 AM before I met him him back on Route 4 at 10 AM.
Here is a morning shot taken at the Piazza Rock Lean-to, hanging out and preparing breakfast in the company of Slayer, Bear Bait, and Lone Wolf.
We have a fire going in an attempt to warm up, as it was really cold out, not yet 40 degrees at the time of the photo.
Here is a shot of Clarkie and Bear Bait taken while we were huddled out of the wind on Sadleback summit.
Clarkie was just about to dose BB with Trail Magic by handing him a half dozen Sweet and Salty bars and a few fresh apples, an timely act, as BB had just told me he was out of snacks and still had a couple of days to go before he could resupply at Stratton.
Soon after Clarkie went back the way he had came, I was trying to hang with BB, who was dancing down hill over the rocks on the steep descent as we then both headed over our last two climbs of the day, up to the top of another 4,000 footer ( The Horn) and lastly Saddleback Junior, at 3655 feet.
All of this took close to 5 more miles to the day. When I reached the Poplar Ridge Lean-to I decided to change my plans and call it a day. Bear Bait and I had planned to try and make it 3 more miles to camp at the old railroad bed just above Oberton Stream, and he decided to move on but I was toast. I was the second person into the shelter that afternoon, with another thru hiker, Too Bob , who told me that another 5 or 6 Northbounders would probably roll in, so I decided to give them the floor space and set up my tent by the stream in front of the shelter. Two of the guys who came in were Coolio and Zen Dog.
I soon discovered that my Steripen was not going to purify any water. My batteries were dead, and the two spares that I had with me were old ones that I forgot to throw away after my last trip. No problem. I had the Bushcooker Lt2 stove with me and boiled up a couple of quarts of water. There was plenty of small bits and chunks of wood all around the fire ring that I used for fuel. I also used a double pot set up that Don Kivelus of Four Dog Stoves had sent me and successfully baked biscuits to have with the dehydrated home made pea soup I had made the day before the trip.
The crew of six at the shelter had been together for a while and were living proof that the two forces that can bind an AT group together were hiking speed and sense of humor. For these guys, the humor was nonstop “The Simpsons” talk. I really had no clue what they were talking about, so I was out of the loop, which made my retreat into the Double Rainbow uneventful. I didn’t feel I missed anything. It gets dark early up in the Maine woods, and by 7:15 my GloToob light was truly out.