August 5, 2013
Today’s mileage: 15.1
Total mileage: 2055.5
When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t in a hurry to leave my warm and cozy down sleeping bag. Eventually, we got going around 8:00 and started the day off with a climb up to Pleasant Pond Mountain. It was a chilly morning, so we welcomed the 1.3 mile climb to warm us up. We didn’t spend too much time on the summit because of the cool wind that chilled us the moment we stopped moving. It felt more like fall today than summer. We looked ahead to the north down towards Moxie Pond and across to Moxie Bald Mountain, which we would be climbing in the afternoon.
As we made our way down Pleasant Pond Mountain, I took a misstep and I rolled my left ankle as I fell to the ground. I was in pain immediately and feared for the worst: a sprained ankle that would cut our hike short. I held my ankle and groaned in pain. I tried to hoist myself up on my own, but with my pack on, my ankle was too weak to support my body weight plus a 30 lb. pack. I asked Miles to quickly help me get back on my feet because I knew that despite the amount of pain I was in at that moment, the longer I didn’t move my ankle, the stiffer it would become. I limped slowly at first, but the more I walked, the more mobile I became. I knew there was a road up ahead and I also knew how it easy it would be for my parents to come pick me up and take me home to rest my ankle. As much as it hurt, I told myself out loud, “Lindsey, there’s only one option here. And you’ve just got to suck it up and keep moving no matter what.” Harsh? Maybe. But after all we’ve been through in the past 4.5 months, I’m not going home with a bum ankle 140 miles away from Katahdin. I’ll go home with a bum ankle only after we’ve made it all the way.
After the dirt road crossing, which I promptly ignored as my way back to civilization, we took off our shoes and put on our Crocs to ford Moxie Pond. I didn’t realize that the term, “fording a pond” even existed, but this end of the pond was more like a stream than anything else. The water only went up to our ankles, so it made for an easy ford.
After taking a break, we started the climb up to Moxie Bald Mountain. Somehow, I managed to roll the same ankle once again, just as it was beginning to feel more mobile. I kept moving however, and eventually was back up to speed, soreness not lacking. The climb didn’t seem to take long at all, and before I knew it, we were up on the bald granite summit of the mountain with a clear, 360 degree view. The coolest part about our view was to the south where we could clearly see the Bigelows and Sugarloaf. We looked to the north at a myriad of mountains, wondering if we were looking into the 100 Mile Wilderness. It is amazing to think that only a little over a hundred miles stands between us and Katahdin. We are now over halfway through Maine and are eager for our first look at Katahdin.
On our way down from Moxie, we picked blueberries and ate them as we hiked. The sweet taste in my mouth as I hiked down granite rock faces was nothing short of glorious. We stopped at the lean-to, thirteen miles into our day, where we were originally going to stop for the day. But it was only 3:30 when we arrived, so we opted to take a break and push on a couple of more miles so as to shorten our day into Monson tomorrow. We found a perfectly smooth rock to sit on right at the edge of Bald Mountain Pond. It was a beautiful spot for an afternoon break. We watched a group of ducks glide by, each one dunking its head underwater every few seconds in search of fish. Two loons swam by later, disappearing beneath the surface and coming back up far away from where we last saw them.
The last two miles to the stream were flat, so we made it here in less than an hour. We found a nice tent spot and ate dinner on the rocks along the stream. This evening was the first time we had seen a clear, blue sky in days. I don’t even remember the last time I couldn’t see endless clouds in the sky. Eating along the stream tonight might be my favorite dinner spot we’ve had on the entire hike. My ankle feels better, but still pretty sore. Hopefully, some Advil and rest tonight will help. I was in my sleeping bag for the night by 7:30, an early night in. I’m looking forward to finishing my book, Wild just in time for our stop in Monson tomorrow night. I’m excited to stay in our last trail town before Katahdin and to see my parents!
Monson, here we come!