August 19th 2018
Bemis Mountain Lean-to – Piazza Rock Lean-to (mile 1972.3)
19.5 miles
Total miles: 1998.2


I keep forgetting my hat. It was cold last night and I had to sleep with my head inside my bag. The sobo dude was true to his word. He snoozed his alarm 3 times and got up super early. There was no chance of going back to sleep with all the activity so we got up. 

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All through the night my body was in pain. Especially my legs and in the morning they were still sore. We packed up and left at 7am. The sobo man was still there. 

The trail was fairly chilled out this morning. The weather was beautiful and the trail took us over big slabs of granite. When we got a few views we were above the clouds which were hanging low in the valley. The other two were out in front but they had definitely slowed down and were allowing me to keep up. I kept up until we got to the stream which we crossed by hopping on stones and then there was a big uphill. Not long but pretty steep. I actually didn’t feel too bad today and they didn’t get that far ahead of me. 

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After another small uphill the trail levels out and has small, but not insignificant ups and downs. I was feeling really good and I was keeping up with Jukebox. I was trying to go fast enough that Peaches wouldn’t catch me as she normally catches me within a few minutes. The trail wasn’t easy to navigate. All afternoon we were avoiding bogs, walking on skinny planks of wood and avoiding huge tangled masses of tree roots. It was relentless and exhausting. I slipped at one point and I fell into a log where there was a little nubbin stuck out and my bum landed on that which was really painful. 

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Jukebox said to go ahead of her and I felt good and I was going faster than I had been able to for days. The others said they were having trouble keeping up with me and even though that’s probably an exaggeration, I was doing alright. We hiked on until we were all starving and we stopped at a tiny beach by a big lake. The lake was really shallow and Peaches waded out really far. Then by the shore line we saw a leech. The lake had leeches which means there is zero chance of me getting in any lake. No thank you. 

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I had one of my giant slim Jim’s for lunch and it snapped. Pretty sure meat isn’t supposed to snap. It was a year out of date. Gross. Peaches still ate it. Even more gross. 

We had 10 miles left to get to the road to town and it was about 11:15am when we left the lake. I was put in the lead and I went for it. I have no idea what came over me. It was like I was being controlled by someone else. I was able to maintain my pace and even on the uphills I didn’t slow down like I normally do. It did help that it was a great temperature today and also that I have been feeling so rubbish for so long, it felt so nice to feel like a strong hiker and I wanted to make the most of it. 

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We blazed through the trail, but the bogs and tree roots were really starting to wear us down. It’s not walking at all. It’s leaping and jumping and swerving. And that’s just the physical challenges. The concentration required to anticipate where your feet should go next and how to avoid the bog without slowing down and taking time to analyse, having to constantly make split second decisions is really mentally draining. We hiked like this for 6 miles and when were were all out of water and seriously thirsty we stopped for a little break at a stream and filled up with yellow water. 

We then had 4 more miles of leaping over tree roots and bog dodging. Just when you thought the bog was going to end there was another one to avoid. Jukebox had mentioned that there was a Thai restaurant in town and I was really focused on getting there and getting some decent food. Plus it was my Dad’s birthday and I wanted to reach town with time to call him. 

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We made it to the road at 3:15am. We made great time and I was out in front the whole way. I expect tomorrow I will be back to my normal slow pace so I wanted to make the most of it. We went to the side of the road to hitch and we got lucky with a day hiker who was just finished with his hike and headed to town. So he gave all of us a ride but when we got there we found out that the Thai was closed on a Sunday. Bummer. So we got him to take us to the ice cream shop instead. Pine Tree Frosty. I got three scoops of ice cream and they were delicious. 

Then we went to the Red Onion restaurant in search of real food. I still had a protein craving and got a burger which was pretty good and a sprite and they hit the spot. The service in there was a little weird, not a place I would recommend necessarily, but they had wifi and I managed to speak to my dad.

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The grocery store was a mile out of town and we didn’t want to walk so we tried to hitch a ride. We were being strangely unsuccessful so we had resigned ourselves to walking but we were still trying to hitch as we walked along and a man pulled over and we piled into his pick up and he dropped us at the door of the IGA. We were so thankful because it was all uphill. 

The store was as agonising as every other store. I still had a few bits left over from my last resupply so I just got some bits to supplement it. We hopefully only needed 2 days of food. We saw Sherpa and Lord Snow there too and we were all hung out outside the store with our food spread out looking really homeless. 

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We then needed to hitch back to the trail. All 5 of us. We stood outside and it didn’t take us long for a man to pull over and he could take four of us. Lord Snow sacrificed himself and stayed behind and got a hitch not long after us. The guy that picked us up was so nice and he took us out of his way to get us back to the trail. 

Our plan was to camp near the road. We had seen a camp site on the way in that looked perfect but when we got there, there was already someone camped there and he wasn’t exactly inviting of other people to camp with him. We got a bit of a weird vibe from him. We decided to go and check out if there was anything up the trail on the other side of the road and when we couldn’t find anything we knew we were going to have to hike another 1.7 miles to the next shelter. 

It wasn’t an exciting prospect but we didn’t have a choice! It was 7:20pm now and it was all uphill and as we hiked it got darker and darker until the last 0.3 miles we were in complete darkness! Our first bit of night hiking. Thankfully it wasn’t as boggy this side of the road, and there were a couple of stream crossings which were pretty sketchy but apart from a couple of stumbles we made it safely. 

When we got to the shelter there were 3 people set up in there but no sign of the people. There were the remnants of a fire so we got our stuff set up and got the fire going again. Peaches had packed marshmallows as we had intended to have a fire at that original campsite we saw. This was even better. We didn’t have to collect wood or get the fire started. 

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When the people came back we knew some of them. Burgundy, the French guy we have been leapfrogging with for a few weeks, a flipflopper we met at the last hostel, a guy we have met before but I can’t remember his name, and two new people, a girl and a German guy. Luckily they were all cool about staying up around the fire and we shared out the marshmallows to everyone. I love a good toasted marshmallow. We sat around the fire for a while and I still managed to be in bed before 9pm 

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. I am tired and sore but there is no intense leg pain like there was last night. It’s been a funny old day. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 103

 

 


 

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