Location: Cooper Brook Falls
The walk to Cooper Brook falls was uneventful and easy. It only took an hour and a half or so. I have completed my chores, and the sun will be up for a good while. I think I should start hiking for longer periods of time, yet it is hard to know how far or for how long I can push myself without a watch. Since I have very little backpacking experience, I think it would be best if I avoided a night hike in the 100 mile wilderness.
I am nearly halfway through the wilderness; Katahdin is 47 or so miles behind me, Monson about 53 ahead. I should be out in five days.
When I found Cooper Brook, I treated myself to a hot lunch. I ate chicken and rice with Tang, a pretty decent meal out here. Afterwards I sterilized my utensils and knives. Then, in a very bold move, I crept into Cooper Brook for a bath. The brook is about 30 yards wide and four feet deep in the swimming pool. A large waterfall rushes violently off a gradual slope into the pool. The rains contribute to its enormous size. The rocks on the bottom are slippery, and I feared injuring my feet on the rocks. I never got used to the cold mountain water. I’ve never known a colder shower nor known one more refreshing. I dried in the wind and the sun since I didn’t have a towel. This lean-to is located in one of the nicer locations. I’d be content spending a week here.
I have not craved a cigarette in days. I haven’t thought of cigarettes really at all on this trip, and only seeing a few butts in the fire pit remind me that I am a heavy smoker, and have been since I was a teenager. It has only been six days out of Katahdin, but I feel like it has been weeks. I haven’t held a conversation with anyone in five days. It is a strange feeling not to have talked to a person in so long. I’ve only spoken to alert bears that I am coming.
I think I walked out of most of the biting bugs today. It happened instantaneously. They swarmed as usual in the lowland swamp, and then as I ascended a hill and felt significantly lower temperatures, the bugs disappeared. Once I reached Cooper Brook, I peeled off the salty clothes I’d been wearing for six days. I relaxed on the rocks while the freshwater fall softened the crispy creases and seams of my salty shirt and shorts. My sweat had hardened the fabric beneath the arms, on my chest and on my back. The clothes badly needed to be washed.
I just read in the lean-to register that Shaw’s has the best breakfast on the AT. I’ll make sure to stay there, but I have read many restaurant reviews by hikers in these registers and there are differing opinions on who has the best breakfast. At the moment, I’d devour a plate piled with burnt toast and undercooked bacon and then ask for a spoonful of gristle from the pan.
The wind keeps blowing. If I were in Carolina, I’d say a storm is approaching. I have taken my clothes off my clothesline in case of a spontaneous downpour, many of which I have already experienced in Maine.
I am thankful for a shower today. I was beginning to be offended by my own odor. I washed my matted hair, nappy beard, and dirty face. When I replaced my contacts after bathing, I examined my new facial hair in the tiny pocket mirror I carry. There are many blonde hairs sprouting from my chin and cheeks. They don’t well match my black buzz. I can’t wait to see my head in a month, then in three and then in six. Let’s see if I can stand to keep my neck prickles that long.
I am finished with all of my chores and out of things to write. Perhaps someone will come to the shelter so that I will have someone to talk to.