We worked another day to suit our pace, finishing up with 16 miles that took us over the tallest mountain in the last 65 miles of backpacking. Whitecap is 3,700 feet or so, and a challenge that took us over 7 miles of uphill walking to clear it.
It wasn’t done after we went over the summit. We still had Hay Mountain 3,000+, West Peak 3181′, and Gulf Hagas (2683′) Mountains to also tick off -all serious ascents and descents- over rocks, ledges, boulders, and a rat’s nest of intertwined bare roots that were sprinkled with some form of liquid sheen that imperiled solid placement of one’s clad foot.
I can’t believe that neither Sheri or I have fallen. There have been many close calls, and yet another half dozen of saves only reaffirms my strong belief that trekking poles, when used correctly, save bruises, bumps, and probably broken bones.
We encountered an AT sadhu this morning- a smiling, uplifting fellow who hails from Fort Kent, Maine and goes by the trail name of Hollister. He is 79. Hollister told us that he is tired of stinking, so he planned to get a ride from someone out on the Jo Mary Road and go into Millinocket for a reset and get then get back.
Numerous times today, I felt that ascents went longer, descents we’re unrelentingly long and steep, and that the ridiculous amounts of exposed sideways roots were testing my will to go on.
People throw quotes around these days like salting a French fry. Here’s one that is one of the top 5 I have ever had the fortune to encounter.
“You don’t have to like something to have a positive attitude about it,” said David Hanc.
Hiking is like that- it’s a subset of skills and experiences that engages my inner impulses on a level that is compelling to me.
Mountain biking is also in this category. Both involve moving through nature and negotiating the terrain in a manner that is thrilling and at the same time, needs to be within physical parameters that preserve the integrity of the machine that makes living our lives possible- our bodies.
There’s a good dose of suffering that goes with both of these sports. It seems that push through physical challenges is part of my deal.
I like solving problems when I am backpacking. Each day starts off as a rough sketch of where I’d like to end up. On this trip, 10 days were allotted for walking the 100 miles, many of which are admittedly difficult to complete, especially with a backpack loaded with food for five days.
Shari and I are working together to increase daily mileage in order to cut a couple of days off the total length of the hike. Her mom lives in Bar Harbor Maine right now and is experiencing some health issues. Shari wanted to see her mom before she was back at work on Monday.
We experimented with cooking at a shelter in the late afternoon and then moving on for another hour or longer. By carrying a couple quarts of water from the shelter, it is possible for us to put a couple of tents down in some pretty cool places to camp. We are here tonight camped beside Gulf Hagas Stream, listening to the water bubbling by.
Carl Newall Shelter just didn’t seem right. Although it was empty when we were boiling up water for our meals, it’s a dark and a bit fetid place tonight, wit lots of trash in the fire pit.
Our choice to move on at 5:15 was endorsed. We had been hiking for about 45 minutes when coming toward us were at least a dozen young people from Chewonki Nature Camp.
The only possible place that they were going at this time of night would be the shelter we just declined to sleep in.