Full speed ahead

Chairback Gap Lean-to, ME, AT NOBO mile 2096.8, Wednesday July 30, 2014 — Maine is a land of contrasts. For the past several days we’ve been breezing along at 2 mph or better. Today slowed to molasses plodding along around 1 mph.

Rock falls and ledges may not have dominated the landscape today, but there were enough of them to seriously erode progress. In between the pacing was brisk.

The shelter popped up at 4:15 pm, too early to stop, but too late to start the nine- mile push to the next one. So, I stopped and used the extra time to cleanup.

Right now it ‘s 6:30 pm and two NOBOs I met in Monson just pulled in. One fell yesterday about four miles into the day and cut his hand requiring four stitches. They’re just now catching up.

This morning’s gift was the most spectacular view on the trail so far. The vista sprawled well beyond the scope of of the grandest cyclorama imaginable. Purple mountain layers rippled across the horizon snuggled by cloud boas weaving in and out of the distant valleys while an azure blue lake invited a high dive from the high cliff where I perched.

The light was just right. I didn’t want to leave. I plan to return to the 100-mile wilderness in the future when I can stay put and dig for treasure when and where I find it.

I beat the rain now drumming the shelter’s tin roof. The prob is for more tomorrow, slowing the next day. I am thankful for small victories like this.

The daily temps are blessedly cool enough that strenuous up hill doesn’t generate extraordinary amounts of sweat. Tonight , as last, a light jacket was necessary to ward off the chill at dinner time.

Tomorrow is a rough day of rock fall and steep but short hills. “Can’t wait,” (he lied).



River ford.

Young moose. Far bank. Did not survive.

Old trail marker.








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