Beech Gap Tenting Site(90.7) to Long Branch Shelter(102.5) 12.2
Sorry for the delay in posts the last few days. It was a combination of no cell service and a very low charge on my cell phone. I let a few fellow hikers charge their phones before I topped mine off. Rookie mistake. I love my powergen 12,000 mah battery pack. The thing is a beast. I've kept my camera, phone, iPod shuffle, and InReach fully charged for 4 days.
Today's hike was probably my favorite so far. The day started out super shitty with really bad thunderstorms. I really dislike hiking in the rain all day long. The terrain was pretty easy, until it wasn't easy. Dr Suess(Josh) perfectly described it as "an easy up, followed by a gradual down, with another long easy up, then an easy down, followed by rethinking my decision to do this hike". I described it as easy up, easy down, then FML. As it turned out I loved the super straight up vertical climb. It was a, throw down the hiking sticks and climb hand over fist, to the top kind of climb. Absolutely amazing. Yoda from 2 years ago would have turned around and went home. Yoda now laughed and said "well this will be fun". I'm not sure where the inner strength has come from. Maybe it's the confidence gained from doing half marathons and triathlons. Maybe it is the amazing support back home from family and friends. My friend Zach summed it up nicely, "anyone who can swim 1 mile doing the back stroke can certainly hike to Maine. You don't know the word quit". Thanks, Zach, for helping me to remember that. I think of it often.
Today was also another milestone, I finally hit the 100 mile mark and it was at the top of Mt. Albert. I made a mile marker to commemorate the occasion.
With the storms the view wasn't great, but still better than looking out an office window.
After our summit of Mt. Albert we had a nice easy decent down to a wonderful dry shelter. Everyone else decided to stay inside the shelter. I have a hammock to avoid shelters, so I hung it outside. The rain finally stopped around dark and the temps dropped. I managed to stay dry and relatively warm. We got in really early after a short day(my idea of an easy short day is rapidly changing). I enjoyed getting to know Josh(Dr. Suess) and Mike(Hip Flask) better. They are really nice guys that graciously allowed me to follow them around for 2 days. We will see more of each other further down the trail.
You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.