August 8, 2013
Today’s mileage: 15.2
Total mileage: 2101.7
I was woken up in the early morning hours by the sound of raindrops on the tent fly. Normally, after all of the rain that we’ve had to deal with on our hike, I would be annoyed at the prospect of further rain. However, this morning I knew that living in the rain would soon be a thing of the past. What’s one, or two, or even six days of rain to hike in now that we’re almost finished? Really, the only thing that’s concerning is how slick the rocks are during and after the rain.
As we made the climb up to Barren Ledges and Barren Mountain, thunder rumbled above us. Seriously, we seem to get caught in a thunderstorm every time we’re heading up the highest mountain of the day. You know how most storms occur in the afternoon or evening? Well, Zeus must have it in for us, because he thought we would enjoy a morning storm. But, we got lucky and the thunderbolt thrower took mercy on us and led the storm away from us quickly. By the time we reached the top of Barren Mountain, the thunder had passed. Unfortunately, we had no views today since we were locked in the fog. We passed two women going south this morning who told us that yesterday, they were able to see Katahdin from the top of Fourth Mountain. We were going to be climbing it this morning, but we knew that we would have no such view today. We hope that things clear up tomorrow afternoon so that we can have our first look at Katahdin from the north side of White Cap Mountain.
Besides Barren Mountain, we had four other mountains to climb today. We summited Fourth Mountain, Third Mountain, Columbus Mountain, and Chairback Mountain as well. There were some short, but very steep sections along the range that we took our time climbing down since they were so slick from the rain. Miles took the lone fall today and later I coached him on the art of butt sliding. Us tall people have to utilize the “lower center of gravity” approach when necessary. It’s saved me several times.
We didn’t see any other NOBOs today, only a few people section-hiking the Wilderness. I have a feeling that we’ll be mostly alone for the next day or so, but that others will begin to catch up near the end. We already know of five others who are planning to summit on the same day as us. I have a feeling it’s going to be one, big party on the last night.
Near the end of our day, we passed the 2,100 mile marker! It’s our last 100 mile marker of the hike, so now I guess we can start celebrating every 10 miles until the end. I remember when we passed the 100 mile marker on top of Albert Mountain in North Carolina back in March. It was a big moment for us then and I feel as if each of the twenty after that first 100 were just as exciting and worth celebrating. That was one thing that didn’t get old for us. Every 100 miles means something and holds countless moments worth remembering.
We are the only ones camping by the river tonight. We got in around 7:00 and set up camp before washing our legs off in the stream that flows into the west branch of the river. The rain held off while we cooked our dinner and we are cozy in our tent, preparing for our last day of multiple mountain climbs tomorrow. A mouse has been sneaking around the campsite and even found its way between my pack and the tent. We scared it away, but I have a feeling that it will be back later to startle me awake in the middle of the night.