Caratunk to Stratton

June 27 Mile 165.3

What’s a girl to do when ankle deep in mud in the midst of a thunderstorm? Eat some Skittles (wild berry), put some Tupac on, do a little dance and move those feet. 

What else can I do?

This morning I woke up to clear skies reflected on the Kennebec river, the widest crossing on the AT. The ferry service didn’t begin until 9am so Lays and I had some time to hang out on the riverbank, take advantage of the privy and take some photos of irises. There were so many! Gorgeous. 

Once we got canoed across the river we stepped to it and made 13.4 miles in 7 hours. Lays got to the West Carry Pond shelter before me because the mud really slowed me down and I got a little grumpy about my rain skirt. Once I figured out how to wear it without it riding up my thighs (it needed to be shorter) I was less grumpy but I needed to check myself (before I wreck myself). So I got out the candy and the tunes and the last mile to the shelter I was lip singing with my trekking poles and busting out some stupid funky moves. 

I’m always willing to be silly to keep a positive vibe going. I have to. 

It’s cold so I’ll make some hot water after my stretches, massage my feet and calves and climb in my sleeping bag with Edward Abbey.

I’m a lucky girl.

June 28 Mile 180.1

Wow! Got up to over 4,000 feet today  in the Bigelow mountains. Tonight I am camped where I hoped I would be camping, right below the peak at a cool little campsite, complete with tent platforms and of course a privy.  And I even have phone and internet! What luxury!

I bagged about 5,000 feet of gain today, which is good practice for the Whites which will come up here pretty soon. Southern Maine has many formidable peaks as well so it’s nice to push myself now to see what I am capable of and how I’ll feel tomorrow. I started hiking at 5:30 this morning and got here around 3pm. Not bad. 

I’ll be in Stratton tomorrow midday and am looking forward to laundry and a shower. Every hiker has different priorities when it comes to town; some go for food first, others a place to stay or stealth camp, some like to resupply first. I always go for shower and laundry first. Once I am clean I feel like I am better able to handle the other hiker town chores I need to do.

Looks like I’ll be camping by myself tonight; Lays didn’t make it up the peak it seems and he probably camped at the spot down at the base of Bigelow at Safford Notch. Which is smart for him since he does not have a warm sleeping bag. Fortunately I do.

June 29 Mile 188.2 Stratton, Maine

I’m wearing some loaner clothes from the Stratton Motel and waiting for my laundry to finish washing. Lays made it into camp around 6:30 last evening which was good. We got a bit of a late start (7am) for me anyway, and hiked the 7.5 miles to the highway leading to town. We got a ride from a local who dropped us off at the motel here. Treehugger, the caretaker of the motel gave me a ride over to the PO where I picked up a wonderfully generous care package from my sweet friend Cindy. Thank you Cindy! A true trail angel. I filled my pockets with chocolate and we walked down to the laundry mat. At the gas station we ran into BFG, who we haven’t seen in a few days. He was hiking with three other hikers (Fern and the Harry Potters) and they had a room at the motel. I met BFG on Katahdin, a very tall handsome German man who is hiking as much as he can in three months. It’s nice to see him here.

This evening we’re going to eat burgers and hang out with our friends. It’s nice to be in town but I am already itching to get up into the big mountains that populate southern Maine and New Hampshire. Next stop is Andover 58 miles from here. So excited about having some good food to get me there. Thanks again Cindy! 

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