East Chairback Pond to East Branch Lean-to
Miles Hiked: 18.4
AT Milage: 2124.2
This morning I woke up around 7am. Lately I’ve been getting really cold right before sunrise. I think it’s a combination between the outside temperature reaching it’s lowest and my body temperature dropping as I sleep. Either way, I end up waking up from being so cold. When I packed everything up and crawled out of my tent, there was a layer of fog looming over the lake. It was a beautiful morning.
I hiked out before Doc, mostly because I knew I would have to go to the bathroom which takes an extra effort of hiking 200 feet away from the trail, digging a hole, and covering it. Just a fun detail about trail life. Eventually we caught up to each other just in time for the morning river ford. It was a really shallow river, the water only went above my ankles but I definitely didn’t want to soak my shoes through first thing so I put on my Crocs to walk across. The water was so cold it was extremely painful and made me want to get across as quickly as possible which is a difficult task to maintain my balance on slippery rocks while I have a 30 pound pack on my back.
Today was the second day of having to traverse a range of larger peaks in the 100 mile wilderness. We went over Gulf Hagas Mountain, West Peak, Hay Mountain, and White Cap Mountain. At the top of White Cap there was little sections of snow which was really cool to see for the first time and the first clear view of Katahdin as well. It was still far enough away that I couldn’t distinguish the details of it’s peak but it was clearly much larger than all the other peaks.
Besides hiking all day, we stopped at every shelter for a snack break and to sign the log book. We kept our fall count updated and today was the first day that I miraculously didn’t fall! At the last shelter we took a break at, we ran into “Storm Chaser” another hiker I had met back in North Carolina. The final miles to our destination for the night were all downhill. As we got closer, the sky got darker and it seemed like it was going to storm. We walked through a forrest of tall skinny pine trees that were swaying and creaking in the wind. I was waiting for one to fall any second. At the shelter Doc and I set up our things and three more hikers came in. It was Pipes, Sweat Lodge, and Lunchbox. I had met them back in North Carolina as well and have ran into them a few times in Maine. They were good company!
I was extremely hungry yet again today from all the shivering and miles covered. Basically, I could only stop for about 10-15 minutes at a time before I would get so cold I had to start moving again. My food supply would clearly not get me to the other side of the 100 mile wilderness unless I picked up the pace which would also make me even more hungry! It’s a double edged sword. Doc shared some of his dinner with me which was incredibly nice. He assured me he had enough dinner food for the both of us for the rest of the section if I needed it. It was so nice of him to share some of his cooked dinner me since I didn’t have a stove and having hot food on the trail when it’s this cold out is definitely a morale booster.