It’s only been two days since I posted from Rangeley, so not a lot has happened but since I have computer access at the Stratton Library I thought I’d write a quick update.
On Sunday morning Postman met me at my motel and we rode with shuttle driver Terri to the trailhead. Postman had a little trouble with his hiking poles and we tried to fix them with no luck so he’s hiking without poles now. He’s amazingly fast and agile on the trail. He took off ahead of me and I trucked along at my slightly above average pace. I was wearing my new hiking shoes and stopped several times to adjust the laces to get the tension right. I can say now after using them for two days that I think they’re going to be fine. I passed Inchworm and George on the trail and then caught up to Gummi Bear and we hiked together briefly to the summit of Saddleback Mountain. I took off after a few minutes (it was windy and cool) and then climbed The Horn and Saddleback Junior.
It was a good day of hiking covering nineteen miles and lots of climbs and descents. I made it to the Spaulding Mountain Shelter at 5:00. Postman had been there since 2:30 – that shows you how fast he is on the trail. He loves the cool weather we’re having now except that he no longer is carrying a sleeping bag, he just has a sleep sack liner. He said he didn’t sleep much last night due to the cold. I was nice and cozy in my 32-degree down bag but I didn’t tell him that. No need to rub it in.
There was a good crowd of northbound hikers at the shelter – Postman, Gummi Bear, Ned (from England), a section hiker named Isaac, and me. That’s the biggest crowd of thru-hikers I’ve seen at a shelter since Virginia. Everyone is very excited about being so close to Katahdin and making plans to meet up with family and friends to celebrate and get transportation back home. It is really unbelievable to be at this point in the hike. There’s something like ten hiking days left before the final day to the summit.
Today I was the first out of camp at climbed Spaulding Mountain, South Crocker Mountain and North Crocker Mountain. Postman passed me at the start of the climb up South Crocker and then I caught up to him at the summit where he was taking a break. He took off for North Crocker and I didn’t see him again. He was not coming in to Stratton today but putting in some more miles so that he can catch up to Buffalo in Monson on Thursday. They have hiked together for much of the trail and have been separated for a few weeks. They want to finish the hike together and climb Katahdin together on August 1st or 2nd.
That’s about all the news for the past two days. I’m resupplying here in Stratton for the four-day hike to Monson, which is the last resupply opportunity before the 100-Mile Wilderness. I plan to get a five-day resupply in Monson to get me to Katahdin Stream Campground in Baxter State Park. That’s where the Princess will meet me the day before I hike to the Mount Katahdin summit. So you can see that my days on the trail are numbered!