Gentian Pond Shelter(1902.7) to Full Goose Shelter(1912.3) 9.6 Miles
So much for a relatively easy day. It took us over ten hours to go 9.6 miles. There is a common saying along the AT, "No pain, no rain, no Maine". Well today there was plenty of pain and rain, but at least we finally made it into Maine.
Since we had an "easy" day planned, everybody decided to sleep in. I was up at 6:30, but didn't make any moves to get up until 7:00. I quickly packed up and made my coffee. I was going to drink it by the pond, but I was informed that there wasn't any wild life hanging out there. For the first time ever, I beat Airlock out of camp! It wasn't by much, but nonetheless it happened.
The first climb of the day was pretty hard. Mt. Success kicked my butt. It was mostly steep boulder scrambles over wet rock. Boulder scrambles have quickly lost there appeal. Halfway up the mountain I was a muddy, soaking wet mess. Every time I thought I had made it to the top, it kept going. At one of the false summits I came across, 2 Bad Dogs, they were sitting down eating breakfast. I asked them if we were at the top yet and they said no. They thought they were at the top of Mt. Success, but decided they must have been at the top of Mt. Failure. I got a laugh out of that at least.
The day just went downhill from here. Every time we went up it was over rock faces for a few hundred feet. Then we would turn around and go down rock faces for a few hundred feet.
A few times the terrain was so rugged, we had to take our packs off and hand them down to one another. This terrain is really difficult, but with a sprained ankle it is miserable. It is really hard to get leverage going up the rock faces without putting a lot of force on your ankles. Not exactly ideal for me. I'm not sure which hurt more, going uphill or downhill.
Just before we crossed the border into Maine, it started pouring. It made it hard to take pictures, but in the end I made it work. We all wanted to stop and eat lunch, but the rain made it really difficult to take a break. We pushed on as long as we could, eventually the rain slowed down to a drizzle and we ate lunch on the side of the trail.
The remainder of the day was up and down sketchy, dangerous sections of trail.
By the time we finally made it to the shelter everyone was ready for the day to be over. All I wanted was to wash the mud off of me, a hot meal, and to go to bed. Unfortunately, the shelter and tenting area was over run by three different groups of college kids. It's going to be a long night. I searched everywhere for a place to hang my hammock, but the only place I could find is five feet away from the college kids. It's almost ten o'clock and they are still up. Obviously they don't understand the concept of hiker midnight. I doubt they will enjoy the 5 am wake up call I have planned for them.
"Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!" - Robert H. Schuller