What a weird night! At 22:30, a mouse ran across my sleeping bag in the tent, and having been startled from a sound sleep, I panicked. I was able with some coaxing to get it out through the tent door and figured that he’d popped in for a warm spot to sleep while I was out on a potty break earlier.
Then, at 3:00, I woke up after six hours of sleep thinking about the thrill of climbing and summiting Mount Katahdin on Wednesday and couldn’t get back to sleep. It was like Christmas morning but three days off.
Since I was tented separately from Tandem and Mio, it didn’t wake them when I went to get my food bag from the shelter. I met Toast, who was camped further up the trail, on the way to the shelter. He is one of the NOBO through hikers that we met on Day 40 who had worked at the Clear Creek campsite at Philmont and had been playing music on the trail in towns for the hikers. He and Big Spoon are also aiming to summit on August 20.
I ate breakfast in my tent. Being “bucket restock day”, I ate four Pop Tarts and two granola bars, then packed and met Tandem and Mio at the shelter, where they were eating. We talked about the day ahead, packed up, and hiked out by 8:30. Today would take us 21.5 miles closer to Mount Katahdin.
In four miles, we reached Jo-Mary Road where our restock food bucket was hidden. We filled our food bags for the final time and were able to leave our trash in the bucket. Tandem had extra cinnamon buns that were smashed in the bucket, which she offered to us. We each ate three, which really filled me up. This was the biggest breakfast I had had on the trail from trail food. Before we got back on the trail, we met a section hiker who was stopping due to bad blisters. He offered us his unneeded food, some of which Mio took, and Tandem took some Starbucks coffee packets.
We hiked on, enjoying the flat terrain though much of it was root-y, rocky, and muddy. We had a climb and descent of 450 feet before reaching the Potaywadjo Spring Lean-to for lunch at mile eleven for the day. Toast and Big Spoon were there, and they said that Bacon Dog had left just recently. Apparently he had a deadline of summiting on the nineteenth and had to make up time after the flooding last week. We were surprised that he had caught up due to how slowly he hikes.
We didn’t eat lunch long and were back on the trail by 13:30 with 10.1 miles to go. We continued to make good time on the “flats” when it was clear of mud or roots. We followed along the Nahmakanta Stream for several miles as it changed back and forth from a roaring river to ponds and lakes. At one point, the sun came out and shined through the rain on the river.
With seven miles to go to the lean-to, we stopped at a campsite for a snack and water break. Most of the final five miles were along the shoreline of Nahmakanta Lake, which had lots of views but was very rocky. The trail also went up and down the side of the hill several times.
We stopped for water before the lean-to and arrived around 18:30 to find an older couple of section hikers in the shelter with their dog and Toast and Big Spoon there cooking. I set up my tent to dry it out; the sun, which we hadn’t seen in several days, was actually peeking out,
I joined those cooking and eating and had Ramen with Ritz crackers and trail mix. We talked a lot with the Philmont guys about their experiences on staff at the camp. The funniest stories were from Toast about black powder rifle shooting at Clear Creek camp and even a story about him shooting a chipmunk (mini bear) on the range. Meanwhile, there was a chipmunk running around the shelter begging like we were going to feed him.
I borrowed Mio’s shoe glue to repair a pinhole in my Sawyer filter bag, which I just need to last another day and a half. I cleaned up and retired to my tent at 20:00 to glue the filter bag, listen to music, and write this blog.
Today was a 21.5 mile day to mile 2,147.42, leaving only 38 miles to Mount Katahdin! Tomorrow we cut that in half, hiking 19.6 miles to the last regular lean-to before The Birches lean-tos on Tuesday night.