8-21-12

AT miles hiked today: 14.2
Total AT miles hiked: 1108.0

Yay, I have hiked 1100+ miles of the AT! And there are only 180-ish miles left to Mt. Katahdin and finishing the Northern leg of my thruhike.

I'm tented at Crocker Cirque Campsite with No Trace and Unbreakable, Standing Bear, Dame Quixote, Toe Knee, Eagle Eye, Chucky da Phish, Mr Boston/Adam, Troubadour (who played the ukelele and sang) others. Aww, we have a northern trail family, too. I love this trail.

This morning I slipped off a wet and mossy rock and fell on an easy part of the trail, in front of people I didn't know. I sprained my finger, luckily, because I thought I broke it for a minute. It got tangled somehow in the trekking pole as I slipped on a mossy or muddy rock, and it bent backwards when I fell and rolled over. It's swollen now, and reluctant to bend, but not too painful. I was lucky, again, not to get hurt very badly. One of the guys asked if I was okay and I said it's good to start every morning out with a nice fall and he said he'd already fallen twice.

We had been warned by several hikers about coming down Sugarloaf Mountain. A former thruhiker said it was very steep, and worse than coming down Moosilauke. So we approached it cautiously. I timed how long I was on the dry and sandy boulders and concluded that these 20 minutes in no way compared to the fear factor of 4.5 hours on wet, mossy, rocks going down cliff faces with rebar and wet wood blocks. I began scoffing at the buildup yet again not living up to how bad something is to climb/hike. Yes, Sugarloaf would have been awful in the rain. Mud on the boulders and the long drops down the side of the mountain would have made for a much higher fear factor, but still, Moosilauke is my worst descent ever.

Then Eagle Eye caught up to me and said that she screamed back there when she almost fell (I heard, but then she laughed so I kept going) and this was way worse than Moosilauke. She was freaked out by the heights and even the trail running along the side of the mountain because you could fall and go all the way down the mountain and die and disappear. She concluded that I have no fear of heights and I told her she might have an issue on Katahdin.

It's interesting how certain things scare different people in different ways. I like the thrill of fear I get on heights, like on Angel's Landing, but this climb didn't activate that fear. However, my fear on Moosilauke made me have to listen to calming music the entire way down and force myself to exhale because I was holding my breath in concentration. I was basically trying not to die or fall to certain injury. That wasn't fun at all.

I enjoyed today, though my feet took a beating. At least they stayed dry for once. It is very cold tonight, maybe in the forties. I was upset with my heavier load, feeling that my 2.6 lb, 15 degree, down sleeping bag was overkill, even in the Whites, but tonight I am grateful for every warm thing I have, and I wore it all.

The stars were fantastic to view tonight, and the fire would have been nicer had it burned well, but it was still very comforting. Maine is very beautiful, but where is my moose?