Location: Rainbow Spring Campground
My first sunny day on the trail the trail was still socked. Often I was wading through creek beds. Stepping stones and placed logs were usually underwater. I am back on schedule, having hiked only a few miles today. Perhaps I should have pushed onward, but I didn’t know how much daylight I had left. I got a late start this morning and I lost my watch at 10:09 am. I remember checking the time and setting the watch on a stump while I snacked.
I saw two young girls today. They must have slept at Abol Bridge. They were really moving down the trail. All they said was ‘Hi’ as they walked by me eating lunch. I ate tuna fish and crackers on a rock overlooking Rainbow Pond. I’m not sure how much fun I’d be having if I were moving as fast as they. They both wore bug head nets too, so they probably missed many of the sights that I stopped to admire.
I’ve set up camp at Rainbow Spring Campsite. I sat in the shallows of the cold lake and washed my hand, feet and face. They frigid water was as good as ice to help reduce the swelling in my ankles and knees. It also numbed the pain. I watched a float plane take off from the lake. That is the only non-hiker life I’ve seen.
Today has been difficult. I walked through dozens of spider webs, newly constructed after rains had stopped. I changed my socks twice. Soaked socks get changed out for damp socks. The wet fabric wears my feet raw. I managed to ford a nasty river today without getting wet. It took some time, talent, acrobatics and a lot of luck to make it across. The rains have turned once pleasant streams and brooks into raging rivers. I jumped from log to log, rock to rock, root to root and any combination therein until I finally reached the far bank. Luckily many of the branches I swung on were sturdy. I was afraid that one might break and I’d fall into the water pack first. The last think I want to deal with is a wet pack. It was risky to attempt get across dry, but I refused to soak another pair of socks yesterday. My boots weigh a few pounds when wet. They act as weights when I walk and wear me out quickly.
More about those girls. The least distance they could have started before me was 4 miles. Since they are not at this campsite, then they probably hiked the net four miles to the lean-to. That means they hiked at least 16 miles on their second day. I cannot imagine when I’ll be able to cover that kind of distance in a day. It might help though if I didn’t take an hour and a half to break down camp in the morning, an hour to eat lunch, and then stop hiking at 3 o’clock. But, I stop when my body tells me to stop, and it was screaming at me today.
I did forget to mention that on my first night camping an animal came to my tent. Some small animal, about the size of a possum, got in between my rain fly and my tent. I could never see it, but I knew that it was there. I heard his little footsteps on the gravel and then heard his body drag along the tent material. I said, ‘Hey, get out of here. I’m sleeping here tonight.’ The footsteps soon stopped and I knew that the animal was curled up somewhere very close. I began to doze and at the first crack of thunder the animal raced away from the tent and let out a squeal. I don’t know what kind of animal it was, but I figured the best thing to do would be to ignore it. If it was a skunk, I didn’t want it to spray me.
I hope tomorrow is a sunny day. I plan to hike 12 miles. I need to get to my cache of food in four days. I don’t think it will be a problem. I’ll be in quite a tough situation if someone or something gets my food before I do. I’ve got eight days left in the 100 mile wilderness. I’m already craving pizza, ground beef, and beer.
I just took a quick break from writing to eat some dried fruit and take a food inventory. I definitely have enough to get to Jo Mary Road. Once I get my food, I’ll take one day off at a lean-to about three miles further down the trail. I can’t wait for a break, but I have taken a lot of time off today and am bored. I’m afraid that, if I sit around, I’ll just eat all of my good because I’m bored. At home, when I got bored, I often ate junk food. Out here, I cont afford to keep eating because I will pay for it days later. On that note, I am going to take out tonight’s dinner, two packs of ramen, and hang the rest of my food just to keep it away from my, not necessarily the bears and rodents.
My food has been hung by the privy. I hadn’t expected a privy to be here, but I stumbled upon it while hanging my food. Luckily the only bear that I have seen was from the car while driving on the highway. I did hear a moose bugle (I think they bugle) while hanging my food. There is no telling how near or far the animal was, but the call was loud enough to startle me. I didn’t have much time to consider it. The rain began to fall while I was outside in my dry clothes. My hiking pants are pretty dry after today. I think I’ll start tomorrow warmer that I started today. Wet and cold clothes are miserable to put on in the morning.
It appears I will have two big climbs tomorrow, neither of which I am excited about. The elevation listings in my book hardly tell the story of the trail ahead. Indeed there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. Today I climbed my first mountain. When I got to the top I took off my pack and rested a while on the rocks. The cool breeze helped keel the bugs off me. I enjoyed the view of mountains and lakes thousands of feet below me. I was reminded why I am on this trip. For a while, I had forgotten that I was climbing a mountain. I spent nearly the entire day in bogs and forest. It was quite satisfying to battle uphill for hours and emerge on a rocky bald, finally able to see how far I’d already come.
I think I will invest in a tent tarp in Monson, Maine. My tent floor gets wet in the rain, I think from condensation. I dug a small trench around my tent and used rocks to divert the flow of water. I hope I’m not woken up in the night by mountain runoff flooding my tent. Perhaps my efforts will not be in vain. I’m laying on my blow up air mattress now. I’m about to fall asleep with the sun still shining. So tired.