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)