Day 56 (Horn’s Pond to stealth site near East Carry Pond)

Everyone in the shelter was moving slowly this morning. I didn’t start hiking until 8:00.

I hiked a few miles with the Hiking Vikings. Sir Viking does very well at keeping his feet dry. Lady Viking and I aren’t as skilled in this area. I think longer legs help.

We discussed our plans to make the canoe shuttle hours at the Kennebec river crossing. My plan for the day was to hike as many miles as possible and then get up early the next day and hike like a mad woman to make the shuttle.

At the start of the day, we are 31 miles away and the shuttle only runs from 9:00 to 11:00. The first part of the day was in the Bigelow Mountains. I’m glad I had good weather for this. I passed the 1000 mile mark for my hike today. Yay!

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Day 55 (Spaulding Mountain to Horn’s Pond Lean-to)

It was raining when I woke up this morning and it rained all day. I didn’t take very many pictures because I didn’t want to get my camera wet. Also, I got cold if I stopped too long. Perfect hypothermia weather……but I stayed dry and warm.

It would have been so easy to go into town after 9 miles. However, I needed to keep hiking. Too many short days lately. When I arrived at the shelter, I was happy to see The Hiking Vikings were there. Jean from Canada was also there. The four of us chatted and laughed until time for bed. This is only the 3rd time I’ve slept in a shelter. I was able to hang up my tent in the shelter and dry it out.

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Day 54 (Saddleback Mountain to Spaulding Mountain Lean-to)

Today’s weather was beautiful. The climb up Saddleback Mountain, The Horn, and Saddleback Jr were challenging but the views were awesome.

I saw a lot of SOBO hikers but it has been a while since I have seen a NOBO. I had hoped to connect with some at the shelter tonight. Instead there is a large group of boys from a camp. I hope they calm down at bed time.

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Day 53 (Farmhouse Inn to stealth site on Saddleback Mountain)

I had breakfast at the hostel with Lucky and two SOBO hikers, Kermit and Yogi. They were a cute young couple hiking together. Shane and Stacey own the hostel. I really enjoyed getting to know Stacey during my stay. They have owned the hostel for 2 years and are really trying to make it a good thing.

Shane wasn’t ready to shuttle me to the trail until 8:30 so I wasn’t able to start hiking until 9:00. One of the disadvantages of staying in a hostel where you are dependent upon their shuttle is it often means a later start.

The weather was overcast with a few sprinkles but never enough to stop and put on a rain coat. The trails were very muddy… 6 – 12 inches deep in a lot of places. One time on Mt. Wolf in New Hampshire, I took a step in to a mud puddle and sunk to my mid thigh. I had to grab on to a tree to pull myself out. Since that time I have learned to test the depth of the mud with my trekking pole before I step.

There weren’t any big climbs until the end of the day when I started climbing Saddleback Mountain. I hiked until a half a mile before the treeline and stopped to set up camp. I normally would have hiked another hour but that would have put me in the fragile alpine area above the treeline. There is a 2.5 mile section on top of the mountain that is above treeline. I will finish climbing the mountain first thing in the morning.

Day 52 (Bemis Mountain to ME 17)

I woke up to the sound of rain hitting the rain fly of my tent and wind howling through the short stubby trees on top of Bemis Mountain. I ate breakfast and packed up pretty quickly. I had 20 miles to hike to get to the hostel/food resupply by nightfall.

As I hiked, it became very obvious that the tread on my shoes was worn out. I was slipping and sliding on wet rocks, roots, and mud. It was cold, wet, windy, and just plain icky outside. I had planned to hike a short day the next day so I could go in to town to get new shoes. I checked my trail guide and realized I could get to Rangeley and the hostel if I hitched a ride at ME 17 that was just a few miles away. That would be a short day today and a longer day tomorrow when the weather would be pretty. I was nervous about hitching a ride though. Other hikers do it all the time but not me.

Lucky :)

Lucky 🙂

As I was hiking and thinking about my options, I came upon Lucky. I met Lucky at the last hostel. He is a really nice guy. He had changed his plans too and was trying to call the hostel to get us a ride. I hike faster than Lucky so I said I would see him at the road.

I arrived at ME 17 a little before 10:00. I saw a man in a truck parked at the overlook nearby. He saw me and got out of the truck in the pouring rain and asked if I had seen Lucky. I told him I had. Then he introduced himself as Hydro and asked if I wanted some coffee and doughnuts. I felt like I was dreaming. It was awesome.

Hydro, our trail angel today.

Hydro, our trail angel today.

We sat in his truck eating Dunkin doughnuts, drinking coffee, and talking until Lucky emerged from the woods. It ends up that Hydro wasn’t from the hostel, he had been reading Lucky’s online journal and had wanted to meet him. Hydro drove us to Rangeley to get shoes (Lucky needed them, too), bought us lunch, and delivered us to the hostel. Wow!

This afternoon, I went grocery shopping to supplement my resupply and to get something for dinner. Oh, and I bought some grapes. 🙂

Dinner (6 vegan dogs and 2 3/4 pounds of grapes)

Dinner (6 vegan dogs and 2 3/4 pounds of grapes)

Day 51 (Dunn Notch and Falls to stealth site on summit of Bemis Mountain)

Physically I feel great but I have been mentally tired the last few days. I woke up this morning at 5:30 as planned and got dressed and ate breakfast. The waterfall outside my tent sounded so relaxing. I just couldn’t make myself get out of my sleeping bag quite yet. I went back to sleep and woke up an hour later.

I needed to cover 38 miles in 2 days to get to me next resupply before I ran out of food. So I packed up camp quickly and started hiking. The weather was beautiful.

The trail is starting to be a little more reasonable. Not like north Georgia but at least runnable in some sections. Still some rock faces to climb and mud pits to avoid but much better than the last 120 miles. The climbs up Moody Mountain and Old Blue Mountain were pretty steep but the views were awesome. All the other climbs were more gradual. 🙂

Day 50 (Speck Pond to stealth site near Dunn Notch and Falls)

Editor's Note
Today, the Supreme Court issued the decision that states must allow same-sex couples to marry. I know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, but…


Last night when I got to Speck Pond campsite, I noticed that someone else also had the Tarptent Notch. This was the first one (other than mine) I had seen on the trail. I wanted to talk to the person but they were already in their tent.

This morning, I slept in a bit and then took the time to make coffee and eat the last two Dunkin Doughnuts I had packed in from Gorham. I started hiking around 8:00.

I hadn’t had cell service last night so I stopped on the first mountain top to check in. While there I met David, the guy with the same tent. We ended up hiking about 3 miles together later in the morning. He was hiking the section from Gorham to Andover. I really enjoyed our conversation. Before we split, he gave me all his leftover food from his pack. Trail magic! I needed an extra meal so it was perfect.

Speaking of food……when I was hiking alone this morning, I came across 8 grapes on the trail. I stopped and considered them. Four looked over ripe but the other four looked good. I picked them up and sure enough, they had perfect firmness……so I rinsed them off and ate them! Ha! Trail Magic!


It was an exciting day on Facebook with the SCOTUS decision and friends getting married, etc. I probably checked FB at the top of every mountain. I also took time to make a couple phone calls to friends and family. At the end of the day, I hadn’t hiked as far as I had wanted but I got to camp by a beautiful waterfall. Great day!