I got a late start back on the trail, but had high hopes as to how far I was going to make it by the end of the day. My father walked in a ways with me, but it wasn't long before the trail began getting steep, so I set off on my own again. I was feeling good and raring to go. It rained earlier in the day and everything was still wet. I was climbing up one particular rock face and my traction gave out and I fell hard. Nothing too injured, just some scratches and probably bruises.
Shortly after I fell it started raining again and it seemed like the trail was going up every steep rock face it could find. I kept slipping in spots where I thought I should be able to grip. It really wore on me that I wasn't able to trust my footing. After almost five months out here I thought that I knew my capabilities. I came to a side trail to campsite and stood there trying to decide what to do. My guide said there was a shelter five miles away, but I had no idea how long that would take me. Feeling a little defeated I decided to go to the campsite and set up my tent for the night. It was still pouring down rain and when I got my tent up, but I wasn't sure what to do next. Do I just jump in with my wet clothes on? Do I take them off first? Where do I put them when I do take them off? I couldn't figure it out. I stood in the heavy rain for about twenty minutes being indecisive, until I finally came up with a plan. I strung a short clothes line attached to the side of my tent. I quickly took off my rain coat and flung it on the line as I jumped into the tent. There, I was greeted with a big puddle on the floor. Crap. Luckily I carry a little piece of a Sham-Wow for drying things. I slowly mopped up the puddle thankful the tent wasn't leaking, it was probably water that got in as I was setting it up.
Once dry, I stripped off my wet clothes and threw them on the clothes line too. Now I had to soak up the wet spots that I created. When everything was satisfactorily mopped up I started to bring in my sleeping bag and dry clothes from the backpack that was just out of the rain under a flap of the tent.
Finally in dry clothes I laid in my tent listening to the rain pummeling the outside world, thankful I was not walking. It was not that late and there was a few hours of daylight left, but I had gone as far as I wanted to go.
I ended up spending the whole night there. I sleep a ridiculous amount of time and still got a very late start hiking in the morning. The trail took me up and over Mount Success which crossed the 1900 mile mark. As I was approaching the next shelter, only four miles from where I started, I ran into "NutterButter" again. I thought she would have been long gone. She had a deadline to finish the trail by and I wasn't making good mileage so I thought it strange to see her again. She said that she started feeling like crap the day that it rained and ended up staying in her tent for 24 hours. She was wracked with nausea and fatigue, but was feeling a little better now. We hiked the shelter together and had bite to eat. Then, it was down to place called Mahoosuc's Notch (Muh-who-suck's) where my guide said it was "The most difficult or fun mile on the trail. It was a boulder field where I had to climb over under and around countless rocks the size of houses. There were several spots where I had to take my backpack off and squeeze through narrow openings to continue. I slipped more times in the mile than I had the entire trial. I had blood coming out of spots on my shins and knees where I scraped them on rocks. It took two hours to get to the other end of the boulder field and I felt spent. "NutterButter" was feeling just as bad when she came out and so we both decided to stop for the day.
Next morning we had to climb what was called the Mahoosuc's Arm. It was basically a long steep climb up a mountain. Again, the trail followed rock slabs where getting a good grip was near impossible. At the top I rested and decided I had enough. I felt terrible and was miserable. There was a road crossing at the bottom of the mountain so I turned on my phone to set up a pick up with my father. I got a text message from "Bootstrap", who was a few days in front of me, he said "Beware, the plague is traveling up and down the trail between Gorham and Andover".
When I got to the bottom I met my pop and spent the next couple days recovering. I feel better now and am hoping this next stretch goes better. In the four days I was on the trail I only went 30 miles. That is not a lot. There was a day in Pennsylvania that I did 30 miles in ONE day.
My spirits are higher I think I am healthier, so let's see what Maine has in store.