August 15th 2018
Imp campsite – Gentian Pond Shelter (mile 1904.4)
19.9 miles + 0.4 to and from Shelters
Total miles: 1929.4

There was some snoring last night but I was tired enough to sleep through it. I didn’t sleep through the two people who came into the shelter after dark, and when someone dropped their water bottle from the top deck it gave everyone a fright! 


I packed up and left before the others. I was still in a bit of a strange mood. My overtirdness making me paranoid I think. I hiked along feeling ok and then they caught me up and powered past me after only 45 minutes. I felt crap. I cried. I get overtaken every day and I don’t cry about it. But I did today. 

I decided that most of what was going on was all in my head but it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. Not when your head is in that headspace. I hiked on and I realised I was going pretty slowly so I tried to step it up a bit. There was a big climb up to Mt Moriah and thank goodness it wasn’t raining. There were some big slabs of rock and some steep climbs. It was cloudy and there were a couple of views. After that mountain it was mostly downhill for the next few miles. I was able to pick up the pace a bit and the trail became less bouldery, still rocks and roots to avoid but there were some patches of trail in between them where it was possible to put your feet which was a novelty. 


Peaches and Jukebox were stopped getting water and I continued on. I made it down to Rattle river shelter. If we had continued to there last night which was our original goal we wouldn’t have made it until after 9:30pm! The mile before the shelter and the three miles after were a breeze. Flat wide trail with very few trip hazards. It was wonderful. I could actually walk properly. I could walk without having to look at the ground! 


We came to a road and in the parking area I saw the Jamboree. I recognised it immediately and all at once a load of memories of the PCT 2015 came flooding back. Halfslow’s support vehicle. I knocked on the door but there was no answer. I checked around the side and I saw the PCT sticker on the window. I had no doubt it was his but if there had been any that would have sorted it out. 


There was a short road walk and a hostel right on the trail. I saw some people and asked if they had seen an old Vietnamese guy. They hadn’t seen him but they knew him. Between us we all decided he must be ahead of us. 

Another mile of road walking took us across the Androscoggin river and back into the woods. By this time we had done 10 miles in 5 hours which was better than yesterday when we moved 6 miles in 4 hours. If I could keep up that pace I would get to the shelter around 5pm. That sounded nice. 


We passed a man with a nice dog and as we climbed up the hill the others quickly pulled away from me and guess what – I cried again. I stopped to wee and the man with the dog nearly caught me but thankfully didn’t and he hiked on ahead of me. When I had a wee, as I was rearranging my top I felt a sharp pain in my left side and I looked to see that I had some kind of chafe or blister and I think it was from my rain kilt yesterday when I untucked my top. It is really sore, and now I’ve touched it it’s even more sore! I caught up to him as we neared the top. It wasn’t a difficult climb, in fact it was quite nice, the ground was soft and there weren’t too many rocks and roots. That changed the closer we got to the top but still, not too bad. It wasn’t raining but this time I was sweating a lot. It’s hot when the suns out. Just one day of bad weather can make your forget that! 


At the first top the man with the dog was struggling to find the trail and he asked if the other two girls were my friends. I said they were and he said “well why are they going so fast, you should tell them to slow down!” It’s funny isn’t it when someone says exactly what you’re thinking. 

Another half a miles brings me to the peak where I was going to sit and have some lunch. My stomach was rumbling on the way up. The other two were already there so I joined them and had some food. With the shorter day yesterday it’s unlikely I will have enough food to get some to town but there you go. I have extra cliff bars so maybe I’ll be alright. Peaches gives me some tape to put over the sore on my back. We carry on and I keep pace on the downhill but it’s still a bit uncomfortable for me. I feel like I’m just pushing it that bit too far and it could lead to injury because I’m not being careful enough. Of course as soon as we go uphill I lose them. 


I’m moving slowly and struggling my way over rocks and through mud and bogs. Risking my life on those slippy bog boards! The trail moves up and down in small but steep chunks. As I descend the other side I have run out of water and I’m super thirsty. There is a stream just up ahead so I make my way there. As I arrive the others are leaving. They didn’t even wait for me, I thought. 

There was a guy at the water and he hiked on. As he was half way up the little hill I went to get some water and climbed a little further upstream to where it was flowing better. I slipped and both my feet landed in the water and my bum landed in the soggy mud. F@*k I yelled and my water bottle made a crinkling noise as I landed on it. I heard the guy shout down to ask if I was ok but I couldn’t respond. Instead I cried. Normally it would be quite funny. My feet were so close to being dry and now I’m basically sat in the stream. But not today. It further cemented the thought that all of the negativity was in my head. The others weren’t doing anything differently, but my mind was going down silly rabbit holes. And it was all because I was overtired. I cry when I’m unwell or overtired. I imagined calling my mum and she would have said, “you’re overtired”. 

What a stupid thing to cry over. Maybe I’m getting sick. I have felt a bit nauseous today but I don’t feel ill. I’m hoping it is just tiredness. There had been a small discussion over lunch about pushing on another 5 miles to the Maine border to make a 25 mile day but I decided there was no way I wanted to do that. 19 miles for the day is perfectly acceptable and even if I get to the shelter early I will use that time to relax and hopefully go to sleep early. The others can carry on if they want. 

With that decision made I knew I had plenty of time to get to the shelter and I went slowly. A couple arrive at the water while I was there and I tried to hide my blubbing. They didn’t say anything to me anyway. After the water there was a climb and then some wiggles and then a downhill to the shelter. 


The uphill was nearly the end of me. I was crawling up. There were big rocks to get over and I slipped and bashed my knee. It’s always the left knee. I came to a big rock which was just the right height for sitting on and I took a seat, intending to stay there for a quick 5 minute break which turned into a half an hour break. I just sat there on that rock for half an hour. I used the time to look ahead at tomorrow and see how many miles I thought I could do. The Mahoosuc Notch is coming up which is apparently the hardest mile of the whole AT. I figured out to get to the end by the 31st August it’s an 18.1 mile average and to get there but September 3rd it’s a 15.2 average. I think I might be shooting for September 3rd! 

Eventually I dragged myself away from the rock and continued to pick my way through slippery rocks, tree roots, fallen trees and mud. I walked through the mud. My feet were already wet so it didn’t matter. 

The shelter felt like it would never arrive and I passed an older couple of ladies. One of them reminded me of Catwater. I miss Catwater. I gave them the good news that we were only 0.2 away but I didn’t realise the shelter was 0.2 off trail, I thought it was right on the trail. 


I got there just after 6pm. Not bad really. Not good but not bad. The others said they had waited for me but that was probably when I was having my time out on the rock. The vibe felt a little better, and I explained to them that I had cried when I fell in the water. I think it was obvious from my face that I had cried so I had to explain it. It was definitely me that was in the weird mood today. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy. But it was a good day really. It didn’t rain. It was sunny. There were a few views. We passed 1900 miles and we have less than 300 miles to go. We hiked 20.3 miles with the side trails to the huts. I didn’t die or break any bones. 


The two older ladies came into the shelter, Blisters and Signage. Signage is 70 and she first thru hiked in 2007 when she was 59. She tried to thru hike again in 2015 but broke her leg near Erwin. Now she is section hiking the whole thing with her friend Blisters and she said she will be 72 when she summits Katahdin again. Bad. Ass. 


There was also a sobo in the shelter, a girl from Brisbane Australia. We were quizzing her about Mahoosuc Notch and she said it can take anywhere between 2-4 hours to get through that mile of the trail. Signage said it took her 5 hours to get through it! Jeeze!!

6 women in the shelter, no skinny white men in the words of the Aussie girl! It’s now 8:45pm and I have just finished this and I am going straight to sleep! 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 99