Location: Unnamed Shelter
July has come and I am three weeks into my trip. Today I’ll say that I’m done with cigarettes. I’ve visited two towns, drank beer three nights and been around smokers each of those nights, and I have resisted temptation. In The Forks, ME, I didn’t even crave nicotine. This hike has already proven its worth because I’ve quit smoking.
With three weeks completed, my mentality has changed. Today my attitude towards the trail became more serious. Whether because of my small daily mileage average or of the dreams of family and home I enjoyed last night, today I pushed myself harder on the trail. I banged out over 17 miles. Now, at the end of the day, I’m feeling quite well. My knees and ankles hurt no more than usual, and I’m not too tired. Even with a late start this morning, I managed to finish the day at 6:00, three hours before dark. I will and did still take time to enjoy the sights and sounds, but to finish this trail I’ll have to start pushing myself a little farther each day. The sooner I get south, the sooner friends and family will join me on the trail or meet me in a town.
Last night I decided a trail name. Since I have not acquired one through chance or circumstance, I’ve given myself a name. ‘Wayward Angler’ I’ve decided suits me well. I have little hiking experience and therefore am quite lost out here, and I frequently lose the trail when I push to remote places to fish. The name can be considered on several levels, and we’ll see how many and which ones are revealed on this hike. I think the name fits me well. Those I meet call me Wayward, and one man called me W.A. for short.
Once I got to the shelter tonight, I met Wolfman Duke, a 50 year old retired Navy officer on the trail to finish his thru-hike. He blew out his knee last fall in Rangeley, ME on his way north. He offered good advice on the trail ahead, suggesting I get lighter shoes so I don’t wear my legs and body out, and that I change my stove from propane to alcohol. He also said I’ll burn up in NY and NJ in my 0F sleeping bag. I should buy a lighter bag and then have my current one shipped to me in the late fall.