Miles from Springer Mountain: 2005.6
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 186.4
Happy Birthday, America! My 4th of July was one for the books, a good ole trail tail, if you will. I spent the day at Rangeley, ME – a town directly between the equator and the north pole, and the Hiker Hut Hostel – a nature-oriented hostel with limited amenities, but a holistic getaway nonetheless. I arrived earlier, emerging from the buggy wilderness around 9. The shower was outdoors, tucked away towards a river with almost full exposure to the outdoors, privacy was preserved with a couple makeshift walls. I threw my clothes in what I thought was the laundry bag, then headed into Rangeley to relax.
The hostel had no cell service or wifi, the only electricity was hand-held solar chargers and solar lights. While in town I recharged what I could, relaxed, drank a few beers, watched the hot dog eating contest, and resupplied. This resupply is the second to last resupply on trail!
We all made it back to the hostel, later that night when the clean laundry was delivered mine was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t in the clean laundry bag, in any other bags, not in my pack or the bunkhouse, the trash was searched to no avail; my laundry was gone, plummeted into the terrifying depths of Appalachian Trail hell. Theories abound, maybe I put it in the wrong bag, that bag may belong to another hiker who accidentally hiked it out, maybe another hiker took it maliciously, maybe the hostel owner will find them randomly in the next couple days. Regardless I’m left with 220 miles left and half my clothes missing! I lost my hiking shorts, hiking shirt, one pair of hiking socks, my camp shirt, camp towel, camp socks, and my knit cap – all inexpensive and overall worthless things, but it would have been nice to finish with the things I started, especially because I could use them all after. The hostel owner graciously gave me a shirt and shorts to hike in, it may be a cotton shirt and swim trunks, but at least I’ve got clothes to hike in!
Before the trail I would have been mentally destroyed by losing half my clothes, hell even 3 weeks ago I might have used it as an excuse to purchase an Amtrak ticket home (the line from DC stops in Elkhart, I’ve checked multiple times). Now, with two weeks left on the trail it doesn’t matter to me, I was a little sentimental about the Cubs camp shirt, but I’m so close to finishing my goal that even losing gear won’t deter me. We ended the 4th around the campfire, all 7 of us, drinking wine, beer, and champagne, someone even bought sparklers!
I set off on the 5th ready to conquer the Saddlebacks, the first of 3 remaining major ridges on the AT! It was a tough day, but I was hiking with plenty of friends – Fireball, Lumpy, Flickertail, and Scepter. It was a tough passage, water was scarce and the sun beat down hard, it may have been my hottest day on trail. Some of us stopped to swim in a small river about a mile before the tentsite, the Maine portion of the trail is popular for its abundance of swimming holes, ponds, and lakes.
The 6th was the next set of ridges – including Sugarloaf Mountain and the Crocker Mountains. It was raining, but that didn’t stop me from crossing the 2000 mile mark, I have less than 200 miles left!! I finished my day at the Cranberry Stream Campsite, my body ached, but mentally I was relieved. Not many people on this earth can call themselves a 2000-miler, I’m proud to be one of them!
As I descend deeper into the wilderness I have less and less connectivity, I apologize if my blogs vary in the next few days! Thanks for following along!