We woke up early with town on the mind, 10 miles away. It took all morning, and I was really running out of gas, but we got out after 5 hours of hiking. The highlight was right at the end, where we saw a brand new looking bridge crossing a pond outlet, and it was totally busted up. Probably the only bridge in the 100 Mile Wilderness and it doesn’t work.
We got picked up by Poet from Shaw’s Hostel as we were trying to hitch into town to go there. He was coming out to drop off other hikers so it just worked out. We arrived in to a ton of hikers that we hadn’t seen before, including quite a few Northbounders. Down to business after that, food, laundry, ordering gear to replace what wasn’t working, etc. Then more food, although the hiker hunger hasn’t arrived in full force yet. Quiet Earp showed up and it turns out him and another hiker are Frisbee players, so we found one and tossed it around.
The owners of Shaw’s are amazing characters, Poet and Hippie Chik, they bought the hostel 6 weeks ago and opened for business within a few weeks. They hiked the AT in 2008 and are just bursting with energy, doing everything needed to keep ~20 hikers happy (with great success). In spite of how busy they were, Poet still took the time to talk gear with us, show us around his gear shop, and toss the Frisbee with us. Did I mention they have a toddler as well? Puts my life in perspective 🙂
Megan checking in here. I’ve almost caught up on sleep and my feet are looking better than Ryley’s so there are some wins! Mt Katahdin was a tough climb – it rocked my quads and my knees. My quads recovered after ~3 days, my knees it seems are just sore anytime we come down anything, ever. My back likes hiking better than standing on the pool deck and sitting at a desk, so has been pretty good actually, just a bit sore when dragging myself up boulders or over blow downs sometimes and after a few stiff sleeps (like the plane). There are a LOT of ups and downs on the AT so lots of sore knees and slow descents to look forward to. Did you know a “fun fact” about the AT is that it’s equivalent to hiking Mt Everest 16 times?? NOT A FUN FACT.
The 100 Mile Wilderness was definitely rough – roots, rocks, wet and muddy, lots of route finding and puddle jumping, which isn’t very fast going. But physically, it hasn’t been more challenging than some of the hikes we’ve done at home, in my opinion. On the other hand, I have to say the AT is mentally kicking my butt so far. I’m used to more open spaces, big mountain hiking, and my obvious favourite, snow. Not so out here, it is a lot of green and a lot of forest. I’m sure many of you have read Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”. You know what that book isn’t called? “A Walk in the Woods and the Mountains with Many Grand Picturesque Snowy Landscapes”. I think I by should’ve read it again before starting the hike… Woods on woods on woods. And lots of staring 2 feet in front of your feet so you don’t trip on a root and do a faceplate into a rock puddle.
Lots of time for thinking out here and one of the things I’ve come up with is a list of similarities between distance hiking and tree planting – you’ll have to stay tuned for that exciting entry!
More importantly, I’m taking a page out of Davey’s book and have decided to make a concerted effort to test the local craft beer on the East Coast. This will be called Davey’s Beer Blog (DBB) and will hopefully happen on every day off, for the sake of my sanity and Ryley’s. 🙂 Since I’m not a beer connoisseur in any way, I’m going to make up random scales and reasons for the beer being good or bad. Very unscientific!
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Chico, CA)
NOT local, but handed to me as I walked in the door of our first hostel after 115 miles of hiking, cold out of the fridge. On the house. Light-medium, a bit too hoppy for my taste. Hit the spot.
DBB 2 (same evening with dinner)
Blue Fin Stout, Shipyard Brewing Co (Portland, Maine)
Stouty and tasty! Dark and slightly bitter. Delicious.