AT Days 164 -172 (Maine part 1)

Day 164 NH/ME State Line to Tentsite (Mile 1917.8)

From the border sign I knew I had 6 miles before I would reach Mahoosuc Notch (also known as the the slowest mile on the AT). I figured I would breeze through the 6 miles and then take my time when I got there around lunch-time.

It turns out the first 6 miles were very steep and I didn’t reach Mahoosuc Notch until early afternoon.

Mahoosuc Notch was like figuring out a puzzle every time I wanted to move forward. I frequently removed my pack and either sent it over a boulder, or pulled it behind me under a boulder. I dropped my trekking poles several times so I could climb down from steep rocks (I almost dropped them in a deep dark hole by accident).

I used my bear cord to lower my pack down over large steep boulders a few times. Altogether, this 1 mile took me a little over 2 hours to complete. Shortly after this section was a tent site, where I decided to call it a day with a total of 7 miles for the day.

Day 165 Tentsite to Dunn Notch and Falls (Mile 1934.3)

Today is my birthday! I woke up to find this little slug on my tent. I love slugs and snails, so I knew this was going to be a good day. Plus the slowest mile on the AT is now behind me.

Today was actually a perfect day for hiking. I saw a beautiful view in the morning from the top of Mahoosuc Arm.

And I failed to make it across a poorly constructed bog bridge without submerging my leg in mud. But I was grateful that it was only 1 leg, and not my whole body. I was also happy I decided to wear shorts and not long pants today.

Not long after that happened, I found this pond to wash off my muddy leg.

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I saw a snake! I have actually seen 3 snakes so far just in Maine. I don’t think any of them are venomous.

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The whole day was a pleasant hike, and not as steep and technical as the first 7 miles of Maine. I set up camp at a small water fall where I also had phone service (It is rare to find phone service in Maine that is not on top of a mountain and also at a place that I can camp)! Even though I spent my birtoday completely alone, I actually had a nice day.

Day 166 Dunn Notch and Falls to South Arm Road (to Andover, ME) (Mile 1945.2)

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Since I had phone service I woke up and called a hostel to reserve a spot for the night in Andover. I only had 11 miles to go before getting to the road.

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At the top of Moody Mountain I called the hostel and requested a shuttle to pick me up. I stayed the night in town and ate a bunch of food and resupplied for the next few days.

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Day 167 South Arm Road to stealth camp (Mile 1958.8)

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I enjoyed some more yummy town food before hitting the trail again. I also packed out a pancake to enjoy for lunch later! (Why haven’t I tried that before?)

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First thing from the road was a steep climb and view from Old Blue.

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Also a view from Bemis Mountain

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This view was from a road that happened to have a bench and a great view. I found a stealth spot to camp less than half a mile north of here.

Day 168 stealth camp to Redington Stream Campsite (Mile 1979.7)

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Today included a climb up Saddleback Mountain which didn’t seem as steep as many of the previous mountains so far.

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I also climbed The Horn, and ended up at the top at sunset. While the views were incredible, I’ll admit that the 1 mile down the mountain in the dark to the tent site was stressful. It turned out to be very steep and rocky. But I made it and got some great sunset pictures as a result of my slowness in getting to camp.

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Day 169 Redington Stream Campsite to Carrabassett River (Mile 1995.4)

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Day 170 Carrabassett River to Horns Pond Lean-tos (Mile 2008.9)

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Today I went into Stratton to resupply and get lunch. I went to a bar/restaurant for lunch and ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries and a beer for lunch. When I was done eating I asked the bartender for the menu again so I could order something else… I ended up getting a cheesesteak and sweet potato fries and another beer. The bartender was really entertained by the fact that I ordered two entrees. When I got the check she told me that the lady at the bar paid for my cheesesteak and I also got a “hiker” discount on my bill because she said they liked my style of ordering 2 entrees! After lunch I resupplied at a grocery store nearby and hit the trail for a few more miles to end the day.

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Day 171 Horns Pond Lean-tos to West Carry Pond Lean-to (Mile 2026.8)

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The trail is starting to get easier physically, but at the same time I feel like each day kinda feels the same as the day before. It is becoming more of a mental challenge, as I am starting to accept the fact that I might not catch up to any of my friends before the end, which makes me sad because we didn’t get a chance to say good-bye. At this point I just really want to get to the end and finish the trail.

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Day 172 West Carry Pond Lean-to to stealth camp (Mile 2049.9)

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The first half of the day was an easy hike to the Kennebec River. There is a guy here who will ferry hikers across for free since it is too large to ford.

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The second half of the day ended up being my biggest mental challenge of the entire trail, as well as my lowest point. As the trail got easier/flatter I picked up speed and started making great time. As I was walking I tripped on a stick and fell. On my way down I could see a large rock right where my face was about to be, and luckily I put my arm out and avoided busting my face on the rock. I landed to the side of the rock and laid on the ground for a few seconds thinking about how lucky I was that my face didn’t hit the rock, and how bad it could have been. As I stood up, however I began to notice that my right knee was twisted, and I couldn’t move it normally. I began to think about my options… Can I continue hiking forward? Do I need to go back to the road I passed about a mile ago? I have 150 miles left until the end; am I too injured to continue?

I hadn’t seen anyone all day, so I decided to let my frustration out on the rock I almost busted my face on. I hit it as hard as I could with my trekking pole (and broke it a little). Finally, I decided to hike on even though I was limping. I stopped on the side of the trail to find some ibuprofen. Some hikers passed by and said hi and asked me how it was going. I wasn’t able to hide the fact that I had been crying. I told them about my fall, but also that I was fine. They gave me a hug and made me feel better.

Probably about an hour later, the ibuprofen must have kicked in and my leg actually started feeling a lot better and I was able to move it normally. I was relieved and a little embarrassed about my little meltdown.

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