Summary: early to rise, emerge onto the Caribou Rd, receive, and approve BMW estimate, continue on a wild non-existed road as 4 years ago, but without a bike. Get back to AT and catch up with schedule.
05:25 Early to rise. It is very cold. The tarp was draped over the hammock and did not contribute to overall warmth. Pack quickly and get ready for the long day ahead.
06:09 I am ready to start. Listening Spanish lessons on Duolingo.
06:31 Temperature is quickly rising. It is now +14 +15˚C. I am losing several layers of closing.
07:22 I am at North Crocker Mountain (4,168′) after 1 mi hike. Sun is very hot. How would I accomplish all these miles ahead.
07:35 Departed from North Crocker
07:45 fell face forward on a steep slope. iPhone slipped out but did not crack. But the knee is hurting even through the pants.
08:03 descend is over. Now start climb again. I encounter only one hikes so far.
08:23 Reached South Crocker Mountain (4,010′). 6 mi from start. 2 more mi to the Caribou Rd. Viewpoint is even higher not even 100 yards away from the marker. 2 more hikers showed up at the lookout. The knee is hurting, but I can continue the journey. Now, I will start down to the road. I am eating the remains in the Lärabar from yesterday. There is not a single cloud in the sky. Completed 2 mi in 2H.
10:07 Completed 3 mi in 4 hours. I am Crocker Cirque Camp. The knee is hurting on the way down. I’ve tried to attached masking tape to the soles of the Keens sandals, but it doesn’t stick. All layers are off now. It was hard and painful to go down. I am trying to lighten the load on my right knee by making walking sticks to work harder. There are 4 tent platform here at a good distance from each other. I am sitting on central platform and looking at my knee. The current notebook is over.
11:03 New notebook is in. I am on Caribou Rd. with total 8 mi behind me – 4 mi today and 4 mi yesterday. There is a weak signal here. I get a text from BMW to approve the repairs. I am trying to finish up kasha from home – there is no appetite. Extracted an apple from the bag for later.
11:22 The whole new chapter of the trip is starting right now. First, my car will be repaired while I am travelling. Second, a beautiful day is unfolding, temperature is now 16°C and now weather forecast shows no rain till Sunday. Third, I am leaving the trail and will use a shortcut over abandoned roads – the track that I completed 4 years ago – September 3, 2018, with my bike and backpack. What a push that was! And finally, the whole new notebook is starting at this spot – whole new 48 small pages to live through. Exciting! After I will be done with these abandoned roads it will be under 5 mi to reach the shelter (it will be 4.6 in 3:45). So, I am taking this section as a preparation for the real hike on AT.
12:17 Walked on the good road 2.43 mi with average speed 2.7 mph. I gained elevation 2 about 500′ but didn’t really notice it. Now, the normal road will end, and I will enter the true bear country with paw prints and dumps, and as far as remember from 4 years ago 2 a mosquito haven. Right knee is OK on a flat road.
13:29 After 2-x hours on abandoned roads I think I am done with the worst section. I’ve completed 3.68 mi with an amazing 2,1 mph. I found a relatively dry spot and I am sitting on the ground where three cuts in forest canopy meet. I can only guess what fork of the former road to take. Road has disappeared many years ago. What is remained is completely overgrown, the thick bushes seldomly parted by large animals under thick shadows of branches and leaves. Feeble barely visible game trail is crossed with springs, washouts, mud piles and wet grassy spots. Often you only guessing were to step next by looking at the trampled grass. I can’t even imagine how did I cross this terrain with my bike loaded with 30 lb. backpack. Amazing. And, of course, on top of everything else, it is a climb up. I removed the socks to keep them dry for later better sections. I am wearing just my Keen sandals. According to National Geographic topo map I need to cover about 2 more miles here on this terrain.
13:55 a photo of a massive bear dump. I am constantly whistling not to spook the large inhabitants here.
14:22 After 3H on the abandoned road. Completed 5.18 mi. On this kind of an open space and not quite a meadow 4 years ago I got rid of wooden walking stick that I was transporting up to this point.
15:02 after 3H and 40 minutes I finally reach broken down bridge. Here AT meets the road again. This “road” section lasted for 6.59 mi. Total distance the beginning yesterday – 14.8 mi. Now 2 more sections on AT. First, I need to go down for a couple of miles to the Orbeton Stream. It will be lowest point of the whole hike – about 1600′. And then a serious climb back to 3000′ to reach the shelter.
16:28 I arrive to Orbeton Steam with my new acquaintances – Grady and Curtis (978) 870-8472. They started the hike as a fun activity and now just go further and further to see where the trail will take them. Very counter intuitive approach, but it works for them. Our connection started on the trail when they would pass me several times, then super steep descent to the river, and then constructing together a stone link to cross the river more securely. I’ve started adding stones to a narrow float and Curtis joined me and added several cornerstone boulders. Now the crossing was ready, and I departed at 16:51 preliminary telling them all one needs to know about the war in Ukraine.
18:53 after 2 hours of climb the young Curtis and Grady caught up with me, and we are at the top of Poplar Ridge (3,120′). Only few a more minutes left before the sunset.
19:03 I finally arrived at a crowded Poplar Ridge shelter. The fire is going, and there are about 6-8 people gathered around the fire. I’ve walked for 12:56 hours and covered 15.3 mi. Now I am caught up with the schedule. Shelter has only 3 spaces taken, but I move on to an unoccupied camp spot. But I will cook and eat at the shelter.
20:22 in a complete darkness but happy, I am eating Patagonia Provisions Organic Black Bean Soup with chipotle + corn meal.
Tomorrow, I need to walk only 8.3 mi, but they will go over 3 summits.
Another large group of youngster arrives in the darkness. They a super polite and organized. This night will be much warmer +8°C, and even now it feels warmer somehow. There are 21.3 from the highway over AT, but due to a shortcut, I walked only 19.3 mi.
The last 2.3 mi section was very tough. By17:37 I’ve covered 1 mi. By 18:00 – 1.6 mi. It took me over and hour to complete the final 0.7 to 0.9 mi of the way. Now, I was able to finish the kasha from home, plus I have tea and my meal or soup. It is strange, but I do not want sweet dates or anything sweet. This shelter at 3,000′ elevation, but I hope for a great night sleep.
Tracy from BMW of Westbrook did call me back and left 2 messages that will get busy to work on my car. Everything should be good on that front.
The knee doesn’t remind of self lately, plus it will get time to rest tonight. The good meal will give me warmth for the night.
21:43 This time, I wrapped the tarp all around the sleeping bag, and that immediately feels better and more comfortable.
Navigate through the List
- 01 September 2022 AT trip - preparations (2023/07/31)
- 02 - September 01 - be happy when everything works (2023/08/01)
- 03 Sept 02 - catch up to the schedule over non-existent roads (2023/08/02)
- 04 Sept 03 - above and beyond one's abilities over three 4000' peaks (2023/08/03)
- 05 Sept 04 - dander of rain pushes into sudden actions at the end of the hike (2023/08/04)
- 06 Sept 05 Mon - think freedom vs. being busy and write about it (2023/08/05)
- 07 Sept 06 TUE - Glorious rain, glorious day with a proper umbrella (2023/08/06)
- 08 Sept 2022 lessons and amplifications (2023/08/07)