Day 126. What a great day. After the sh*t show of yesterday, with all it’s painful falls, today was a cake walk … for me, at least. For my faithful friends, perhaps not so much. When asked how difficult this section of trail was, I told them it was extremely nice. With 10 being the hardest, it was a 2 or maybe 3 out of 10. Seriously, after what I just finished in the Whites, today was amazing. When I asked Aaron the same question back, he replied “this is the hardest hike I’ve ever done”. So, yeah, there’s the AT in a nutshell for ya…
I loved today. And I am extremely impressed that my warrior crew of hiker friends that have traversed Glacier Park, Yosemite, Denali, North Dakota, and more were able to
join survive hiking the AT with me (so far). We knocked out a fantastic section on some beautiful trails, speckled with rocky ups and downs of course. But we ended at a gorgeous campsite next to a lake, high up in the mountains with a clear view to Independence Day fireworks going off in the town of Gorham, 12 miles away.
The weather was hot, surpassing 90 degrees at the day’s apex, but the shady cover of the green tunnel protected us and provided cool air for the majority of the day. The summits at Mt. Hayes and Cascade Mountain were spectacular, providing clear views from high up to the White Mountains in the south, in a dazzling display of blue skies and golden sunlight. They were tough for my comrades though, so we rested often, drank lots of water, and kept a slow and steady pace. Actually, our pace was close to 2 mph, so not even that slow. Like I said, good terrain and great day!
When we got to our campsite at Gentian Pond Shelter, Max and I scrambled up a side trail rocky cliff to a plateau area overlook, and searched for a stealth campsite there we could all enjoy. Unfortunately, it was too small for 4 people so we moved over to the tenting area of the shelter.
Side note, I highly recommend solo hikers scramble up to enjoy that stealth spot, it was awesome for one tent or hammock.
These are elevated wooden platforms for camping next to the shelter, so we picked one of those for camp instead. Adam and Aaron set up their (very small) 2-person tent for the night, while Max and I hung our hammocks from fir trees next to it. We spent the rest of the night enjoying a lot of great conversation, food, whiskey and laughs. I haven’t stayed up past 10pm in months, and as tired as we all were after 8 hours of hiking … it was totally worth it.
The 3 of them … whose temporary trail names are the collective “Los Tres Gatitos”, wanted to write tonight’s blog. But after a hard day of hiking and a hard night of drinking, their journal entry dreams slipped to instead being a quick Siri-dictated string of anecdotal one-liners expressing their inner-most thoughts and vague memories. I have a feeling we’ll add these to the end of each night’s post while they are out here, as it’s pretty funny to watch in person. Here’s their own words to describe the first day of their AT hiking experience…
An oral dictation of the day’s events, as transcribed from Los Tres Gatitos…
- It was a 3 out of 10 for some but a 12 out of 10 for others.
- Blisters rampant on us, but Mike was a stud
- Their were too many things to carry and only one solution presented itself, give it to Mike
- I didn’t know we were going to hike through Degaba
- We looked for wildlife but only saw one very impressive thing
- Lots of horse flies
- Aaron’s heart nearly exploded, flew out of his chest and landed on the trail
- We had to execute an emergency medical procedure
- My toenail is near falling off
- Also, Max has slightly less skin on his head than when he started
- Luckily there is not much blood flow through there
- But sitting here looking at the stars, drinking whiskey, and hearing fireworks in the distance makes it all worth it
- Happy Fourth of July y’all
- Peace out
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 1892.6
- Start Time: 08:30
- End Mile: 1904.4
- End Time: 18:30
- Miles Hiked: 11.8
- Miles to Go: 286.5
- Lodging: Gentian Pond Shelter