Friday, September 9, 2016

Day 128: I can see the mountain

8/25: gravel beach - Abol Bridge
Mile: 2149.8 - 2174.1 (24.3 miles)

I have another restless night but this time manage to fall back asleep. Heading out I pass other people packing up and even manage to turn back a lady who had started hiking the wrong direction. Then it's a climb up Nesuntabunt Mountain. I feel like I'm in a jungle. The green is back with a vengeance and everywhere I look there are ferns and giant rock faces and boulders covered in moss. I keep picturing Indiana Jones and the holy grail only I'm clumsily slipping on wet rock and stone steps, no flashy footwork and daring escapes for me.

The views are great and I try to stop and enjoy the views. I'm soaked in sweat and it isn't even 7. It's going to be hot today.

As the hours to pass the temperature and number of bugs rise. I feel guilty for not having fun, this is one of my very last days after all. I chat with a guy named Scuba who looks as cranky as I feel. We commiserate and decide it must have to do with being so close to done. In a few short days there will be no more muggy hiking, constant stumbling, and mosquito bites. My brain has jumped ahead, the only problem is that I'm still hiking.

The clouds roll in a bit and the breeze becomes a little more frequent. I hike on and off with Scuba. The chatter helping us both along. After running into a southbound ATC employee out mapping the trail I take some time to hike alone. He was so very heartfelt and almost tearful reminiscing about his previous hike and making it to Katahdin that I really tried to be reflective and happier. It works to some extent and spots like the Rainbow Ledges help. Views of the mountain, open sky and granite. All fantastic things.

Katahdin in the clouds!!

I hike the last 4 miles to Abol Bridge with Scuba. We both hobble on tired feet to the campground store and restaurant. It's less than a mile to the official entrance to Baxter State Park and it's mess of rules and regulations. The park isn't particularly fond of AT hikers and there has been talk about getting the trail out of the park completely. Right now there's one walk up campsite 10 miles into the park 5 miles from the summit available to northbound thruhikers only. The problem is only 12 people can stay, first come first serve. So instead of a long 20 mile day with the second half being a giant mountain the plan is to wake up early, get a camp spot and relax with a 10 mile day. My last full day on the trail. Then I can wake up early to beat the weekend crowds and summit with another 10 mile day. And that's it, and this crazy thing will be done just like that.

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