Sunday, August 12, 2012

8.10.12 - Rain, rain, rain, and Beating Temptation

I'm hoping not, but it's as though a trend is showing that it rains a lot in Maine. The forests are very think and lush, which must mean that they get a decent amount of rain.

It rained most of the night last night and I didn't sleep much. However, woke up to no rain! We packed up in the dugout and went over to The Little Red Hen restaurant. Sure enough, Houdini was there eating. He was going to be slack packing the next few days to take some pressure off his knees. I ordered French toast and a biscuit and gravy. It was really good! Roadhouse pounded a bunch of food, and when we were done, went to the intersection to try and catch a ride back to the trail. Took about 20 minutes until a truck stopped and picked us up. The guy who picked us up was headed out to his camp in the woods for the day.

Shortly after getting back on trail, it started raining (hard to believe, right?). The trail was really wet from last night's rain. Sitting water in some spots, and running water in others. I let Roadhouse use one of my trekking poles, as his broke. We had to cross over a swollen creek, which went well and we didn't get wet. I realized quickly that my feet were going to get wet today, so the first big spot with sitting water on the trail, I walked right through it. No sense in trying to avoid it all day. It makes for slow hiking, and sometimes more dangerous if you're trying to walk on and around things. Six miles after trudging through water and mud, we made it to the shelter, where Houdini was. He had started 4 miles from the north this morning and was slack packing south back to Andover. We stopped and took a break. It was already noon. I guess that's what happens when you have a far hitch and don't get on trail til 9am. Bandaid, his girlfriend, and Little Pot (German section hiker) were also there. Houdini told us that Chesty and Banjo were only about 10 minutes ahead of us. Chesty had gotten sick last night and was up all night throwing up. Sounds like the thing that's being passed around between hikers lately. Their plan was to hike the 4 miles to the road and go to Andover.

After lunch, we headed downhill quite a ways to our first river to ford. It was swollen enough from all the rain that we would have to walk through it. Not enough exposed rocks to hop across on. My feet were already wet, so I walked right across. Roadhouse got there, took off his boots and socks, walked across barefoot, then put his socks and boots back on. We made the climb up the mountain from the river, then back down to the second road that we could get into Andover from. Just before the road, was another river ford to be done. We made it across and I contemplated what to do. Roadhouse was going in. We talked to a former thru hiker there waiting for his brother to come down to the road, who said that Chesty, Banjo, and Pedestrian all hitched into town. I wanted to go in and have a good time with those guys, and non trail food sounded so good, especially ice cream and coffee again. I decided I would hike on, as I didn't NEED to go in, so I started filling my water bottle. Part of the way through, I stopped, through my water bottle back up by Roadhouse, and said "screw it, I'll go into town!". A truck came down the road and pulled over to offer a ride. At that point, I changed my mind yet again, and said I would keep hiking and not go into town. I passed up the opportunity and hoped I wouldn't regret it. Talk about being indecisive! We had done 10 miles, and I felt like I had more in me.

Before I could even get all packed back up and hiking, it started raining. I was already wet, so why not stay out in it? There was a big climb up Ol Blue Mtn, then a stream about 6 miles from where I was. I aimed for the stream to camp nearby. Bandaid, his gf, and Little Pot hiked on too. I trudged up and over the tough climb in a slow, consistent rain, and through dark and gloomy, foggy conditions. Seemed like it took forever to get up to the top of Ol Blue at around 3600 ft. It took an hour and a half. I pushed on to get to a lower elevation. I made it to the stream I aimed for, but there wasn't anywhere good to set up my tent. The next shelter was another 3 miles. I didn't really want to, but I pushed on. I went up and over Bemis Mtn, then up and down and up and down until I made it to Bemis Mtn Lean-to just before 8pm. I hadn't fallen all day, but within the last 15 minutes of my day, took two slight spills. I was wet, tired, and worn out! Luckily there was room in the lean-to out of the rain. It started coming down harder. I guess if anything, I'm glad it waited until I got here to come down harder than it had been all day. The Birds, Pocahontas, and Achy Breaky were there and made room for me to join them.

While I was trudging through the gloomy, wet trail after leaving the road, I started feeling a little lonely and kinda wishing I hadn't left those other guys behind. It was fun hiking with them and hanging out. I may wait for them to catch up in Rangely. As I was making the push to the lean-to, I was craving cereal with milk, which made me think how nice it will be when I'm done as I can have normal food again on a regular basis. That, and not be soaking wet! Maybe it is good that I pushed in and did the additional 9 miles. Puts me that much closer to Katahdin. I'm not all about pushing big miles just to finish the trail, but tonight I got a little bit of that. I guess like my main focus in life right now, I'm trying to find balance in things. Work, play, bettering myself, helping others, etc. Same goes for the trail. Trying to finish up so I can get back to the comforts of life and all the things I miss, but also enjoy the remainder if my time out here.

When it rains, sometimes I just get a case of what I call HDH. Head down hiking. Not much to see while it's raining, so push some miles. 19 miles over tough terrain, with a 9am start...I'll take it. Just hope the weather improves.

Couldn't help but sing the song When it Rains, by Eli Young Band in my head. "When it rains, some people get down, their sportin' a frown, so I fit right in."

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