Day 133. Full disclosure, I finished and scheduled last night’s blog before I actually got back to the hostel. There was no cell service there, so I assumed I’d go right to bed after my outdoor shower. Not the case!
We had an awesome campfire until after 10pm, and it was fantastic! After my fun outdoor shower, a bonfire was lit by the guests. The owners of the hostel, Steve and Cathy, made popcorn for us, then brought out a guitar and asked if anyone played. I said I did and would be happy to play as long as people wanted, which ended up being late into the night. Besides me, there were 9 others congregating around the fire, and everyone joined in singing songs at one point or another. It was a perfect evening and one I’ll surely never forget. As I went to bed, Cathy joked that this hostel has always reminded her more of a rustic summer camp … being a camp guy myself for years, and still sitting at the fire, I told her I couldn’t agree more.
Side note, contrary to my confusion yesterday, Steve and Cathy do have a “home” on site. But it’s no more than a 1-room cabin next to the unattached 1-room kitchen. The whole property is just timyb1-room buildings and flower gardens . You can see their home in the pic below. From left to right is their bedroom, kitchen, hiker bunk house.
Then, guess what happened when I woke up this morning? I had the BEST day in Maine! It’s true, all the whining and complaining (mostly out loud to myself) the past week was all forgotten, as today brought a fantastic day of hiking again.
Beautiful trails, incredible summit views, a mile of gorgeous ridge walking in the sun, and even a waterfall. When I think back to this state of my journey, I know I’ll think fondly of today. Before lunch, I had scaled Saddleback Mountain, The Horn, and Junior Saddleback’s peaks … each providing breathtaking views in all directions. In fact, from the top of Saddleback, you could even make out Mt. Washington to the south and (supposedly) Katahdin to the North. I couldn’t see the latter, as it’s still 200 miles away … but they say it can be seen.
Some other fun anecdotes today. The Piazza Rock Lean-to privy had an interesting feature, so I learned. If you ever feel like pooping in the woods AND playing cribbage with a friend … this is the place for you! I’d love to meet anyone who actually attempted a game, haha.
Also, found some blueberry bushes on the summits today. They were not ripe yet, but they are getting close. Maybe a few weeks away from good fruit. Another alpine berry was starting to bloom there also, which may have been crowberries, but I’m not sure. I have only seen those in Alaska, but they looked and tasted close to the same. Don’t worry, they weren’t anything poisonous.
I also had a fun rest-stop at the Poplar Ridge Lean-to. This is one of the oldest shelters on the trail and is known for its informative binder of Q&As that accompany the registry. A volunteer built it up over his 50+ years of maintaining the trail in this area, and he had a good sense of humor. There are nearly 75 responses to hiker inquiries over the years, my favorite being #18 pictured below. Affirmative action mosquitos … brilliant.
Only a couple problem areas today. One was my 7th fall, which was totally my fault. I lost the trail (per usual) near the waterfall, and was using my Guthook app’s GPS to find it. But I was also walking, and I stepped on a loose rock, causing a rough stumble down the dirt hill. I scraped up my leg a bit, but nothing too serious. So, I yelled at myself (out loud of course), cleaned the leg as best I could in the stream, and hiked on.
The other annoyance today came at the end. When I arrived at the Spaulding Mountain Lean-to, another group of teenage girls were here. A different group than before, but still annoying as they took up all the camping areas in front of the lean-to. But that wasn’t the worst of it, I found a secluded place to string up my hammock about 50 yards behind the shelter and then went to get water. When I came back, a loud and obnoxious family of 3 had decided to setup their tent RIGHT NEXT TO ME.
I mean, come on. There were at least a dozen other tent sites between me and the shelter. Why go next to me?? And I’m not kidding, their tent is literally 3 feet from the end of my hammock. When I walked up, they jokingly said, “we hope you don’t mind, we couldn’t find another place.” I thought to myself, that I would be happy to find them one … most likely in the creek, where I wanted to throw their tent (with them inside) into.
I’m a nice, inviting, friendly and social guy … but this is seriously invading my personal space. They loudly ate their dinner on a log between our tents (no joke, 1 foot away from me) and then loudly “went to bed”. I write that in quotes because they proceeded to talk, giggle, bicker, and make loud movement noises on air mattresses for the next 2 hours. I can hear every word of their conversation, and every breath they exhale as I write this.
A really crummy way to end such a nice day. I was wrong to think that teenage girls would be the problem here. This married couple with their 25 year old daughter all sharing a small 3 person tent, close enough for me to pee on them, are. Hmm, maybe I should do that. A little late night revenge pee? It’s better than my other dark homicidal thoughts right now…
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 1970.5
- Start Time: 07:30
- End Mile: 1989.2
- End Time: 18:10
- Miles Hiked: 18.7
- Miles to Go: 201.7
- Lodging: Spaulding Mountain Lean-to
Some beautiful views you’re contemplating there, Mike. Enjoy!
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Happy here 🙂
Well, it was bound to eventually happen… one spectacular decent day in Maine (I hear that the timing is akin to the once in a century torrential downpour in Death Valley). It sounds like a dynamite day, and I know you’re fingers must have been whispering sweet nothings to the guitar strings before they handed it to you. Yep, this was definitely a “Happy” kind of day. Incidentally, I’ve updated our most recent songbook and added, among other things, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (thanks to you). Other updates…
Well, it was an extremely hot, muggy day here in tropical Minnesota. We had a very heavy downpour of rain for an hour or so, and more is coming tonight. There is significant flooding going on in the southern half of the state, and the Northshore is getting blasted too. If that isn’t bad enough, more heavy rain is scheduled for the evening and part of tomorrow… yikes!
Another final (?) REI visit. I had them re-build one of the poles for my new tent, and they made it about 6″ longer than the other one. It’s my fault, I never should have purchased the cheaper 2-person Winterail tent. I finally said, “the heck with it, maybe I’ll just toss it”. I ended up buying a new REI Passage 2 tent. They credited me with the tent pole repair, so all-in-all, It worked out well. In hindsight, I know better, and I should have done this to begin with. The tent has two doors, is free-standing, and has good rainfly coverage. The packed weight is 5 lbs., 3 oz. (I used your scale to confirm this!). I’ve got everything spread out over the basement – my backpack is actually about 1/4 empty on top (AT training really works). I have a separate pile for what I will be leaving in the cabin/car. I’m hoping for some positive backcountry options.
I’m glad you finally got some exceptional hiking, companionship, views, and a decent trail to boot!
Keep on truckin’
mom & Happy
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Sounds like s good call on the tent. You didn’t love the other one, so it’s probably for the best you swapped it. No more Ace Ventura birthing scene! Haha