Arriving at the base of Whitecap Mountain from my own patchwork of side trails and logging roads, I lost the trail.
The old fire tower trail I found on a map at a trailhead parking lot display was consumed by the forest. I spent an hour picking around quite a stretch of marshy land before it terminated in thick brush everywhere. There was a lot of fresh moose shit in this area.
I back tracked to the road and took another trail, less direct, but existent.
While taking a break as I made my way up to the summit of Whitecap, to rejoin the AT again, I heard a heavy rustle of brush about 30 yards away, not on my trail. There must be an animal trail leading to this trail just a short way up. As quietly as possible, I unzipped my hip-pocket to slide my phone out for the camera. I heard a sizable scramble and a couple heavy hoof clomps on some rocks, it must be a moose and he caught wind of me and tore ass out of the area. I never laid eyes on it damnit!
It’s the weekend. You know what that means…? Weekend hikers! These guys gifted me a bag of grapes that I demolished and some high quality jerky, and also packed out my trash. I met them on the summit and got to answer some of my favorite consistent weekend questions like, “So where did you start?” With the standard reply of, “ummm Georgia” with a coy smile.
It’s a guaranteed conversation starter every time and watching the response in those first few seconds has become more entertaining the further I got. It gives me energy. A lot of thru-hikers complain about being slowed down by weekenders. I rarely felt that way and enjoyed all my interactions, even the brief ones, and really appreciated the fresh fruit.
Again, I’ve never felt such a noticeable difference in returns from good food so quick, until recently. It’s like my body is processing what it gets at top notch speed. It’s great to be able to draw such direct correlations with things. This last portion of the trail is definitely teaching me to pay better attention to the finer inner workings of my body. On my next thru-hike, I’ll be putting more emphasis on better foods throughout.
Another thing that’s been vastly demonstrated on the trail… that being things always work out for the best. Perhaps it’s just a choice you have to make? To view the incidents in life that way… and have the patience and linear recall to connect those dots together later and validate the hard times. It’s just a lot easier out here with all this consecutive time to observe things and the brain naturally wants to draw correlations and conclusions.
So many thru-hikers experience this phenomenon of “the trail will provide.” But damnit if there isn’t something just simply magical about it all. What is it about humans, that when you put them out in nature a prolonged amount of time, they seem to gravitate to some element of spirituality, mysticism, providence, what have you…?
Is it that society, in all its glory… just consumes and doesn’t allow room for this level of spirituality? Or is it that the brain creates an external source to rely on when you remove communal man from society and there’s nothing left?
Whatever the case, I’m exactly where I want to be, when I need to be there. This is the week to be in Maine.
The red carpet is even rolled out for me! Vast sections of the trail are littered red with fallen foliage.
I had a really early start this morning and passed along a shelter. Nothing spectacular, but the privy at this place was astoundingly clean and roomy. I took advantage of this one.
So nice that someone spent the night in here recently.
I’m feeling good, and getting low on food, even running leaner with the rations. That combo usually spells a big mileage day with a night hike to punctuate it. So I skipped on sleeping in the shitter and pushed on towards a spot that may be a spectacular bit of sandy beach surrounded by the wilderness.