Day 120: Poplar Ridge to Stratton, ME

Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Monday, July 12, 2010

Ah the black hole of town has me in it's grasp again. I'm basically hitting every town along the way in Maine. I'm kind of tired of camping and I'd like to think I've earned it.
Today started like all the rest. My air mattress deflated is especially uncomfortable on the baseball bat shelter floor. Of course that does help you to get going in the morning!

Hit the trail at 7:30 and don't really get a workout until about 3 miles in. Then it's a climb up to Lone Mtn. I spend a luxurious long first break at the Spaulding Mtn Shelter.
Then it's up to Spaulding Mtn (4000 ft) and the approach to Sugarloaf Mtn. When I get to the summit side trail any desire I had to go up is diminished by the sudden rain and thunder.
Today's weather was supposed to be "abundant sunshine" but instead I got rained on by several passing thunderstorms. Joy joy.

Ate lunch down by a river you had to "ford" meaning rock hop across. Actually so far the only river I've actually had to take my shoes off to cross was in NH!

Halfway up my second climb up to 4000 I start hearing thunder again and another big thunderstorm moves in right as I'm on an exposed rock scramble. I decide to push on up to the shelter of the next set of trees. Luckily I've made it up to the ridge with good sized trees which is about the safest you can be.  Lightning is one of the things that does scare me. There's just no protection from it and the trail always has you up so high. Luckily today the storm passes with just a bunch of rain to dump on me.

The trail doesn't get much better, trees on both sides soaking me with water. Also slid into a big deep mud puddle. So one shoe/sock totally mudded out... You can get sick of that.
So in case you haven't noticed I'm getting close to the end but I'm also very done with all this. Sick of always waking up with 18+ mi to hike. Sick of walking on wet, loose, softball size rocks. Sick of slick roots that dump you in a heap at a moments notice.

These are the negative thoughts that occupy my mind all day. Ok so it's not THAT bad. There are views that still wow me and stretches of forest that make me never want to leave. I told someone out for a weekend that I'll be excited to go hiking again with no deadline and no goals set, just for the scenery and the fun of it.

Completed my 21 mi day around 6:30 and easily got a hitch into Stratton with a construction guy in a little red Honda. Mainers are awesome for giving rides, I wish it had been this easy down south!

Got myself a hotel room even if I shouldn't really spend that much. It's so nice though to have sheets, do laundry, and watch TV. I'll hopefully have an ok time leaving town and climbing some more big mtns.  Maine should be getting calmer soon and then I'm hoping that I'll get some good weather and enjoy my stretch run towards the finish.

Passed the 200 mi to go mark midday so feeling like although Katahdin is still far, the light at the end of the "green tunnel" is getting brighter!!!  Hope you stick with me to the end, thanks for the support and the comments. Question was asked: which section would I hike again for fun? A: probably the part from Roan Mtn over the Humps down in TN. Nice hiking and great views. But I haven't thought about it too much. I think I'd rather go to a new place like Isle Royale in Michigan or the Boundary Waters in MN. Course there's always out west too.
Take care all!
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barb kalie on

hi Rob!
Sounds like you are closing in! I can't believe you have been hiking for this long!! I know very few people who would consider this path, but I can only imagine that you have an even greater appreciation for nature and pre-industrialized life. We are heading to visit your mom and dad this thursday. wish we could see you but obviously you have loftier goals right now.
enjoy your visit in nyc and canada. eat eat eat!!! i can only imagine that you are( a mom's view) way too skinny. ahhh...i wish i could imagine what it would be like for someone to tell me to eat because i am too skinny. hey, maybe I should have hiked this trail! (are you kidding me? ben andI went to Mohican this weekend and hiked about 4 miles and my legs are sore today!!!

Karen Belliveau on

Hi Robert, wow, what an amazing journey....I hope the thunderstorms stop and you have little difficulty with the rest of the trip...Karen

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