Thursday, 9/17

AT Miles = 13.0 / 2054.8
Other Miles = 0 / 63.0
Total Miles = 13.0 / 2117.8

Miles to Katahdin = 123.5

I often wonder how some of trhe other thru-hikers manage to have such small, light packs. Well, I found out at least part of the reason this morning. It was cold last night, and when I got up this morning a bunch of other hikers were talking about how cold they were last night. Not me. I was toasty warm. I am carrying my warm sleeping bag, plenty of warm clothing, and plenty of insulation for the bottom of my hammock.

First thing this morning I climbed to the summit of Moxie Bald. What a beautiful morning it was up there! The air was cold and crisp and still, the valleys below were filled with fog, and there were just enough puffy white clouds in the sky to give the sun something to shine on and to lend depth to the sky.

After climbing down the mountain I stopped at Moxie Bald Lean-to for an early lunch. The shelter is near the shore of Moxie Pond so I took my food bag down to the water and sat on a rock in the sun and ate lunch with a gorgeous view out across the water. It was so peaceful and comfortable that I toyed with the idea of staying there and spending the day sitting in the sun reading my book, but practicalities won out and I soon pushed on nine more miles to this lean-to.

Along the way I had to ford the West Branch of the Piscataquis River. As fords go it wasn't much; the water barely came to my ankles. But fords eat up time. You have to take your pack off, remove boots and socks, put sandals on, tie boots to pack, put pack back on, ford the river, then reverse everything. But, the cold water sure did feel good on my aching feet!

I will be in Monson tomorrow. I have been frantically trying to figure the logistics for the final leg from Monson to Baxter. The problem is that I need to know Jodi's schedule and cell phone reception is lacking around here. Right now I am planning to take a zero day in Monson on Saturday. I haven't had a day off since I got back on the trail in Gorham. Tomorrow will be my 15th straight day of hiking. If I leave Monson on Sunday morning, I expect I shouid be in Baxter Park next Saturday. I may be able to get there on Friday, but that would be piushing pretty hard. Once I get to Baxter I need one more day to climb Katahdin, and this summer-long quest will be over!

"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Allen Freeman