We hiked a difficult 13 miles today. While no day longer than 10 miles is easy, today’s hike took us to peaks over 4000ft and valleys between peaks at 1500ft. At the end to the day, Stick, Turtle, and I debated whether to camp at the river that we had forded or climb to Poplar Ridge, 2200ft higher and 1.8 miles further down the trail. It was a steep climb but I’m glad to have gotten it out of the way. My mind and body are exhausted. The terrain was so difficult that we only averaged about 1.2 miles an hour. We hiked from 7:30am to 6:30pm. The day dragged on for seemingly ever. It’s hard to explain how difficult this trail can be on the mind and body. I don’t think anyone can understand without spending time on the trail. I can’t find the words to describe the pain and exhaustion that comes everyday with hiking. I also can’t describe the satisfaction of completing a day on the trail. When I get to a campsite or lean-to and know that the miles are behind me, all of the pain and exhaustion were worth it. On each climb and each descent, I remind myself that there will be an end. Once I reach that end, I feel terrific. Every day I accomplish something new and challenging.
This entry has been jumbled and rambling. I’m distracted by conversation, cold hands, and fatigue. Tomorrow’s entry will be more lucid. I’ll be in Rangeley. I’ll stay a day in Rangeley to watch the World Cup finals. Then, I’ll make sure to hike, without stopping in a town, until I get out of Maine and into New Hampshire.
Also, a thru-hiker, Team Steve, said that he heard in Rangeley that a NOBO had fallen in the Bigelow range and broken his leg in three places. He was carried out by other hikers. I can’t remember the injured man’s name. Injury is always just a step away.