The Most Beautiful View – 21 Aug.

I wrote the blog but it didn’t save successfully!!! So round 2 is the abridged version!

Steve, the owner of Hikers Hut (and a very interesting, soft spoken, understated man who spends 6 months of the year at the Hut and 6 months in India) cooked us breakfast (fried eggs with melted cheese on unbuttered bread) before we set off at 6h30. We enjoyed the serenity of Hikers Hut, it more than makes up for not having electricity.

We had Saddleback, Saddleback Junior and the Horn to climb today. At the top of Saddleback we had the most amazing view. This photo is by no means intended to share the view with you (impossible) – it merely serves as a placeholder to remind me of the time I thought that THIS must be the most special moment of the walk. We had 360 degree views of mountains and lakes and not even seeing Everest from Gokyo Ri took my breath away the way this did.

We were (from an energy point of view) quite strong today. Trevor has an ankle which isn’t his best friend and I have an upper body muscle not giving me full cooperation when I want to pull myself up or lower myself down areas, but we both had more than enough energy to get today’s hiking done. We stopped a bit short on what we thought we would do to get our tent pitched and dinner cooked before the rain came. It doesn’t matter though as we need three days to get to our next stop regardless of what we did today. As in the Whites you are sometimes forced to have a short day to line yourself up for getting up and down a mountain without camping options in one day and that is our position with the Crockers on Friday.

Do you remember Slipnot? I wrote a blog months ago about how Slipnot saved the day – think it was the day I told Trevor going off trail for a soda at 9am is not the best use of our time. Well we saw him on top of Saddleback Junior today. He is heading South now, he flip-flops ( did the first half to Harpers Ferry NOBO then went to Katahdin and is doing the second half SOBO). He is looking so good – must have lost 25kg!

We are energized by getting ready for the final lap. We have 3 three-day targets left before the 100mile wilderness. And we already have our re-supply for the wilderness stretch. Because towns are small and what is available for re-supply limited (and expensive!) Mathilda (SA friend living in Erwin) has bought (from a shopping list provided by me) and mailed our supply for the wilderness section to our final stop before the 100 miles. After that there is only the one day climb of Mt Kathadin – illustrating that we are in the home run now!

I forgot to mention that we met n young guy yesterday who left SA when he was 7. He heard us talking and asked if we were South African – it is amazing how I font think we sound different to the average person in the States (some of them I can hardly understand) but clearly we do as we always get asked (within speaking only a short sentence) where we are from. Anyway this guy walks with a dog, a Maltese Poodle look but about 6 times the size (not a Poodle though), and I can’t believe how clean the blonde dog is, taking into account how we walk through mud constantly. In the beginning we saw so many people with dogs. Now we very seldom see dogs on the trail. I think it is just way too challenging to have a dog with you: there are sections I cannot imagine how you get dogs through!

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