We had a good continental breakfast at Hostel on Maine (coffee, orange juice, all bran, toast/bagels with peanut butter and jam, and boiled eggs). As a treat there was also what I can best described as bread and butter pudding with loads of blueberries and cinnamon and maple syrup baked into the dish. Fit for a king.
We were walking by 8am. Today we put in more than 9 hours of walking, 11 hours on the road of which 2 was for stops and 9 walking. We haven’t done this long a day since before the Whites.
The Whites was always this challenge that people tried to scare NOBOs with…”wait untill you see the Whites”. And then we started hearing that the South of Maine is as tough or tougher than the Whites. And I think it is! But today was the day we signed off on this section of the trail. Theoretically, from tomorrow, things should be easier again, we are done with the big mountains (which might mean cell phone reception – and my ability to post the blog daily – may be dicey).
We had a pleasant day (mostly) – we were doing the Bigalows section, our ascend for the day was a respectable 1700m and there were a few beautiful peaks (though the mist prevented views from some of the peaks we did get an occasional break in the clouds allowing us to pull in our breaths seeing the wonderful lakes around us).
We got tripped up by Old Man’s Head and Little Bigalow as we didn’t worry about them too much – they were supposed to be nothing compared to the bigger peaks of today. Maybe because we did them late in the day or maybe because we were just not expecting them to be hard, we found them surprisingly tiring.
And then Trevor fell. I have to explain that everybody falls, I am sure some people fall more than others but with this terrain it is virtually impossible to not fall a few times. I tend to fall on slippery rocks. Trevor’s falls have almost always been caused my his foot getting hooked on a root (this area has a lot of rocks with only a thin layer of soil, the roots of the trees are therfore above ground and we walk on roots all the time).
I just heard a thump behind me – turned around and there he was, face in the ground and pinned down by his rucksack. I have not had children so I never learned the things mothers have to learn: how you can’t carry your children’s pain when they are sick, and how to cope with witnessing them being sore/sick/unwell. Because I haven’t learnt that it is terrible for me when Trevor falls, I feel like picking him up and cradling him in my arms and telling him we are going home NOW! But you know him, he isn’t one for sympathy so he just told me to get going again, so I walked on, crying from the shock of his fall and in thankfulness that nothing broke. I think there is a whole regiment of angels taking care of the hikers in Maine!
Because water is quite scarce on this section of the trail everybody (and Bigalows seems to be a popular destination for weekend hikers) targeted the same shelter for tonight. We couldn’t stealth camp as we needed to get to water. The shelter is so busy we struggled to get a tenting spot. Our neighbours are very close to us. Not ideal.
I hope I get signal sometime tomorrow to post this blog, photos will have to wait till later.