Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
All of us suffered through the cold in order to admire the sunrise from Stark’s Nest, then we prepared to continue our journey.
After saying goodbye to Smokebeard, we walked out into the cold and foggy forest. We passed Mount Ellen chairlift area, then took a break inside the Castle Rock warming hut to eat second breakfast and to thaw out.
Then we bumped across Nancy Hanks Peak, Lincoln Peak which had it’s own chairlift below us, and then made our last big climb over Mount Abraham.
When we got to Lincoln Gap, we broke for lunch. I exploded my food on the side of the road not the least bit concerned over the cars passing close by. The trail ahead began to mellow out. On occasion, I’ll have days where I’m feeling especially strong and ready to crank out the miles. This was one of those days.
After a short break at Cooley Glen Shelter, I was practically running the rest of the way. I smiled and greeted the Northbounders as I flew by them, but stopped to chat with one in particular who wanted to pick my brain about the terrain he was about to cover. His name was Tar Heel and he told me he hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 1979! I praised him.
“You hiked way back before they even thought of lightweight backpacking gear!”
Back when they carried outer-frame packs, bulky sleeping bags, and wore blue jeans and boots that probably still aren’t broken in by now. I warned him about hiking Mansfield in poor conditions and wished him luck. Then I was back to jogging.
I sprinted up to Mount Roosevelt summit, took my pack off, and sat silently to take in the scenery alone. It was so quiet and peaceful. I figured the guys would have caught up to me by now, but there was no sign of them. After about 10 minutes, I switched to a steady pace towards Emily Proctor Shelter. Frisbee would catch up and pass me along the way.
When we got to the shelter, we set up shop and waited for Middle Brother. It was going to be a cold night, but we enjoyed our dinner and then listened to some Dave Chappelle stand-up comedy that Middle Brother had downloaded while we were in town. After a night of laughs, we went to sleep.
19.4 miles (31.2 km)