August 26th 2018
Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to – Thompson Brook (mile 2085.7)
18.3 miles
Total miles: 2111.6

I slept pretty well and we had an early wake up call. We were trying to get to town before 11am so we could get Professors package. The privy was possibly the worst on trail. Someone had been in there and pissed all over the seat, there was also used toilet paper discarded near the seat. How hard is it to throw a piece of toilet paper down a hole, and to turn around a check before exiting the privy?! Anyway, it was a good thing that I didn’t need a poo this morning and I didn’t have to sit on the pissy seat. 


Professor left a few minutes before we did because he wanted to make sure he was there in time for his package and really it didn’t matter when we got there. I took the lead and we were moving along fast. It was mostly flat with a few ups and downs and by the first hour we had done 2.8 miles. On town days I really feel good, mostly because I’m so hungry I need food. I rolled into town today with an empty food bag. For breakfast I had a crappy cereal bar and a cliff bar and then I ate my fruit snacks half way through the morning. Exactly how you should roll into town but I rarely get it right. 

We caught up to Professor as we came to the river crossing. He had ploughed straight through without taking his shoes off but I really think my shoes will disintegrate if they get wet. So we all took our shoes off and crossed. There was a comment on Guthook about their being giant leeches in the river so I crossed as quickly as I could. No leeches thankfully. 


We hiked and chatted to try and make the time pass faster. Jukebox stopped for a wee and she fell behind a bit. I hiked with Peaches as we went up this hill which was much more significant that we were expecting it to be. It was a brutal little hill! It got mistier and mistier the further up we went and it was so humid we were sweating buckets. It was running off my face and my top was pretty damp. 


We did 9 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes which was pretty good considering we stopped to take off our shoes and ford a stream. When we got to the road professor was there, he hadn’t been there that long but he hadn’t got a hitch yet. I was desperate to get my sweaty damp and now cold hiking top off so I changed into my sleep top and puffy on the side of the road. It was a fairly busy road and lots of cars passed without stopping. There was no where else they could be going other than Monson. Jukebox caught up and came to the road and at the same time a lady pulled over and we were all able to jump in her car. Jukebox sat on the child booster seat and peaches was in the back with the bags. She took us right to the door of the ATC. 

Professor got his package and we also had a chat to the lady in there about our plans for Katahdin. We told her our plans to summit on the 31st and asked her about the restrictions for the Penobscot people, and basically it’s not a problem as far as they are concerned. The trail is open all through that weekend and people have already signed up to summit on those days, but anyway, we had committed to the 31st now. People won’t be allowed into the park over that weekend so if we did end up summiting on the 1st for whatever reason, it would be really hard to get a hitch out, and the shuttles aren’t coming to pick people up. Anyway, she went through a load of stuff with us about the 100 mile wilderness and Baxter park and it was all a little overwhelming. 

It was only 10:15am so we went over to the general store in search of real food. The deli sandwiches weren’t being served until 11am so we found some breakfast sandwiches in a hot box thing and I got an egg cheese and ham English muffin. It was really good. And a Mountain Dew to wash it down. We relaxed for a while, charged our electronics, got rid of our trash etc and at 11 we ordered lunch. I asked for a veggie wrap with hummus, cheese, lettuce, cucumber, avocado and carrot. It took an absolute age to be made, they were definitely short staffed and they weren’t happy about it! When my sandwich came it was really disappointing, it was completely green and it was lacking something but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I asked the others if they had carrot on their sandwiches and they said no so I thought they were just out of carrot. Then I realised there was no cheese either. So I went and complained, at first she offered to just put some cheese in what was left, but the other girl said make a new sandwich, so I got a whole new one this time with cheese and carrot in. I was pretty full by the time I had eaten both of them. Thankfully after the cloudy and misty morning the sun came out and we were able to dry things. 


We then went to see Pete’s resupply which is a guy who keeps out of date food in is antique shop and gives it away for free. Of course being a Sunday it was closed. The general store had some things but everything was quite expensive and there was limited choice. So we went over to the hostel in town, Shaw’s, as they are reported to have a ‘full resupply. It was literally around the corner from the general store but Peaches, Professor and I went a very long roundabout way to get there. On the way a car pulled over with two shady looking dudes in and asked us if we smoked. We said no and they drove away. We had no idea if they were buying or selling. They were creepy. 

We got to Shaw’s and it was closed until 2pm. 2pm is the time we wanted to get out of town but that wasn’t going to happen now! So it was back to the general store. I wandered around and around and I spent 20 dollars on sugar. Twix, cliff bars, candy and some meat sticks. We needed 4-5 days of food. I was really struggling. There wasn’t really anything I wanted to eat and I didn’t want my bag to be so heavy. Plus I was so full it was hard to think about being hungry. 

Hard hat came by and he had new shoes. Altra Lone Peak 4.0. They look nice! And had I known they had come out with a 4.0 version I would have got new shoes. As it was I didn’t want to got through that pain of breaking in the 3.5s again and I’ve persevered with these. Now with 1100 miles on them they are falling apart and getting really uncomfortable. Today is the first day that I’ve thought they are really uncomfortable, but there is nothing I can do about it now. 

At 2pm we went back to Shaw’s. Their resupply store is open 9-11 and 2-5. At 2:20pm we were still sat outside waiting for it to open. Peaches was amusing herself on a kids tricycle and mowing the lawn with a toy lawnmower. Eventually we got inside and the selection wasn’t great for me. I ended up getting some Pringles, some Krispy Kreme doughnuts and some add hot water backpacker meals. They were $6.75 each, and I got 3, more than I wanted to spend really but it is the last few days on trail and I need to eat something. I’m not carrying a stove so I checked with Professor to see if he had enough fuel to boil me some water and he was cool with it so I went for it. 


I still didn’t have enough food so I went back to the general store and got a bag of crisps and 4 more Twix bars – if in doubt just buy more Twix. I also had nothing for dinner this evening and although I didn’t feel hungry at all we had 10 more miles to do and I knew I would be hungry by then. I packed out a grilled cheese sandwich with Siracha mayo. I imagined it wouldn’t travel that well and would probably be a soggy mess by tonight but, oh well. A soggy mess would be better than nothing at all. 

I needed to get out of here! I had spent over $80 in town! 


Pony Boy rolled into town and we couldn’t convince him to hike on with us so this is probably the last time we will see him. At 3:45pm we tried to hitch out of town. We had already packed our headlamps somewhere accessible knowing we would be hiking the last bit to the shelter in the dark. It didn’t take us too long before a lady pulled over and said she could probably get us in the back of her truck. We would make it work! Professor got in to the front and we rearranged the back of her car so we had room to squeeze in. Thankfully it was only 5 miles back to the trail as it was pretty hot and fairly uncomfortable in the back but at least we were back on the trail! 


We missed the sign saying you’re entering the 100 miles wilderness which we were bummed about. I think it says something about being prepared with like 8 days of food but I have 4 at most. I hope it’s going to be enough! The others have much heavier packs than me, especially Jukebox who was struggling a bit with hers. She fell behind a bit and peaches and I caught up to Professor who wanted to hike fast as he had chosen not to get his headlamp out and was racing the sunset. We caught up to him because there was this weird bit of trail where you had to go down and through this dry kind of canyon thing. We decided to wait for Jukebox to catch up and professor carried on. 


We hiked on, the trail was rooty and rocky and full of ups and downs and twists and turns and appeared no different than any other part of the trail we had been on. Only when we came to this big lake we thought, oh yeah, that’s pretty. Prime moose territory but we didn’t see one. We hiked on until we found what we thought was a river crossing. There was a waterfall and before it was some slabs of slate which you could cross to get to the other side. Once on the other side there was no trail so we had to cross back and take the trail which runs down the side of the waterfall. 


The first hour we were hiking we moved pretty fast but we got slower. It was a series of ups and downs and that was slowing us. About 7:25pm we hiked up onto the ledges and the sun was beginning to set. Pretty soon after that we were hiking in the dark, after coming off the rocky ledges and going back into the trees it got dark instantly. I started moving a bit slower. It wasn’t going to get any lighter if we moved any faster. The last thing I wanted to do was fall and hurt myself in the dark. 


I was not looking forward to what was ahead. We had to cross a railway and ford a stream and hike up a steep hill to get to the shelter. We were also unsure as to whether they would be water at the shelter so we would have to haul water up there. I noticed there were some comments on Guthook about camping being limited at the shelter so with our predicted 8:30pm arrival time I was worried there wouldn’t be space in the shelter and it would be late and dark and we would be making noise. There was a stealth spot listed before the ford of the river and I really thought we should stop there. I didn’t want to say anything though. I was just hoping that because Professor had Guthook he would have seen the same thing as me. 


We were hiking cautiously, trying to avoid death by tree root, and we came to a nice flat bit. We saw a headlamp up ahead and I said oh please let it be Professor over again in a mantra. The best thing happened and it was professor and he had his tent set up in that stealth spot by the river. There was plenty of space for us and I was so happy and relieved. Happy not to have to hike in the dark anymore. Happy to not have to ford the river in the dark. Happy to be done for the day. 


Plus it had started to drizzle so we threw up our tents as quickly as we could. Luckily it was a tiny shower and we could then all sit outside and eat dinner. The mosquitoes had been really bad today. I got bitten at least 10 times on the way up here. There were really going for the backs of my knees. I had my grilled cheese sandwich and it was a great idea to pack it out and I really enjoyed it. I just hope I have enough food for the next few days! 

I kept getting this whiff of a horrible smell today and I realised it was me. The left armpit of my top is really really really disgusting. To the point when I smell it it makes me recoil in disgust. I don’t believe I actually smell that bad, but I have been wearing this top for 110 days now and I think the smell is so ground in that any bit of body heat activates it. It really is disgusting. My shoulder blades are rubbing holes through the back. They haven’t broken through into holes yet but it looking rather thread bare. I’m looking forward to ditching the top after the trail. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 110