Days 10-14: Spaulding mountain lean-to to Monson

Day 10: Spaulding Mountain Lean To To Hostel of Maine

We meant to wake up at 5:30, but we all slept until 6:15. We had an awkward encounter with a guy in a tent near us (“Do you all have something to say to me?”) but otherwise had our coffee and packed up, then said goodbye to Caitlin.

FD and I needed to stay focused and actually finish our hike by 4:30 today to meet the shuttle. Plus, we didn’t have any good snacks left so breaks were less appealing.

We climbed Spaulding Mountain. The trail got a little frustrating.

We took a quick break at the river, where I soaked my feet. I’ve turned my ankles so much this trip. I’m also starting to get a little tendinitis I think, so the ice cold water felt amazing.

Up to the first of the Crockers

And back down

And finally to my official 2000 mile point!

We got down to the road and waited for the shuttle to the hostel. Day glow, a NOBO who had slacked the Bigelowes today, joined us. And then all of a sudden Gandalf popped out of the woods too! We met Gandalf our first night at Rattle River and didn’t expect to keep seeing him, but somehow we have!

We got to the (beautiful!!) hostel and unpacked our stuff with polar pops.

I got my shower first. It was incredible.

We placed our order for dinner and sat outside chatting. Dinner came and I INHALED it. We hadn’t had lunch today!

We mostly just sat around and relaxed. This is easily the most relaxing hostel I’ve ever been to. I want to come vacation here.

Miles: 13.5

MVP: dinner

LVP: my entire body, at this point.

*****

Day 11: slackpacking the bigelowes

We slacked packed today. I fell and hurt my leg and my hand. It really hurt. I’m using voice transcription to type this injury. I didn’t take many pictures because I almost died.

Miles: 16.5

MVP: FD, Anne with the band aid, Dr Anna Foust for the free phone consult

LVP: the ground/gravity

*****

Day 12: Hostel of Maine to Pierce Pond Lean To

Here are true facts:

1. Breakfast was amazing

2. I was so sad to leave the hostel

3. The trail was flat

4. The trail was dumb

5. My feet are aching

6. Everything hurts

7. I heard a loon!

8. FD went swimming but I abstained because I don’t want to infect the massive cuts on my legs. I’m still jealous.

9. Tomorrow we have to do way too many miles

10. Actually we have to do way too many miles for the next 10 days.

Miles: 16.4

MVP: chips!

LVP: mosquitoes

****

Day 13: pierce pond to bald mountain brook Lean To

It rained last night. That meant we woke up to the last bit of it drumming on the roof of the Lean To. We had coffee, ate our breakfast, and then packed up.

The trail was pretty good and quick to the Kennebec. Once there, we saw Gandalf shortly before he stepped into the “ferry.” The ferry is a canoe. It can take two hikers, and one has to paddle.

I loved it.

We stopped in at Carratunk for a milkshake and a sit, and then carried on with the walking part.

More flat, and then a long climb up to pleasant pond mountain.

I’ve been struggling a bit recently. My knees are sore and tight. My left hand still isn’t ready to use a trekking pole. The cuts on my shins ache when I land too hard. I’ve got some Achilles BS going on in my left foot, and honestly I don’t even want to entertain that issue. Blisters are threatening my feet, mosquito bites cover most of my body, and whenever my back gets hot (like, you know, walking with a pack), it feels like burning needles all over. Who knows what that’s about.

It’s inconceivable that I stop, though. I’m so close to being done. Tomorrow we’ll be in Monson, and the day after that we enter the 100 Mile Wilderness. If I have to drag my lifeless legs over the top of that brown sign on Katahdin, I will.

Miles: 18.7

MVP: milkshake

LVP: my aging body

*****

Day 14: bald mountain Brook to monson

There’s something about walking to Monson that makes me feel like the trip is over. The whole day I just kept thinking “wow, this is it, amazing.” But of course that’s not true at all.

Still, the mostly flat terrain and easy walking had me convinced that things were winding down.

We got off trail at the OLD AT which takes you directly in to Monson. We lucked out again, because only half a mile into the two mile road walk we got a hitch.

In to Shaw’s, showered, laundered, and then back into monson for food.

We sort of got a little bullied into staying in the yurt. It was cool, but a regular bunk would have been fine. It was nice, though, to have our own space for sorting our food. Shaw’s (run by Poet and Hippie Chick) does a food drop in the hundred mile wilderness, so FD and I needed to split up our food into the first half and second half of the hundred mile. Food is probably the most complicated part of hiking, honestly.

Miles: 18.5

MVP: Diet Coke

LVP: Maine’s definition of “flat”

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