Tuesday, June 8, 2010
A nice early start this morning.
All up hill.
The Chairback Mountain is no joke. Especially when you are carrying fifty pounds and managing a dog. I had taken a picture of it a ways before on the trail. Not long afterwards realizing that was where I was headed. The trail took a ninety degree turn straight at it.
A super steep rise of rocky cliff. A tumble down that and you’d be sure to break bones and puncture soft flesh. This thought occurred to me half-way up when I looked down behind me. The rocks were sharply angular and sat at a nearly vertical rise.
The view. At 2100-feet. Simply breath-taking.
Past Chairback, the trail dips back down about 300-ft and then begins climbing up Columbus Mountain, 2250-ft. I made it to the Chairback Gap Lean-to just after noon. I was writing in the register when it began to rain. The wind had been gusting all day. The sun was out but it was cold. The next lean-to, the Cloud Pond Lean-to is about seven miles away. I knew I wouldn’t make it there today if I continued on. Columbus Mountain, Third Mountain, Fourth Mountain and the majority of the incline of Barren Mountain lay ahead.
At the start of the day, I was 89-miles South of Katahdin, Baxter State Park and Wayne, the guy at the gate. It’s good to periodically look back and say, “Hey, I did that.” and feel satisfaction at the pace and what was accomplished. I’m slightly behind my self-imposed schedule, an average of eleven miles a day, but a mountain is certainly not a molehill. And I prefer to not tent in the rain. Or carry all the extra water weight that would come as a result.
This decision puts me in a rather precarious food position. It would be good if I can reach Monson in two days. If I push tomorrow and get down Barren Mountain, there’s a lean-to near the Slugandy Gorge and Falls. I think. Pete’s maps are from 1988 and it says, ‘Site of Proposed Lean-to’.
And of course, all this will depend upon nice weather. It’s been off and on rain all day. I hoped these winds would push this storm past us, and quickly. Not only is it windy, it’s cold enough where I can see my breath. I managed a fire. It survived the rain showers as they come and went. The fire pit was in a terrible spot in conjunction to the lean-to. The wind’s gusts kept the smoke blowing in my face. There was plenty of burnable dry wood available. Left overs from lean-to’s construction. I want to sit by the fire and avail myself of its warmth but breathing seems more important.
Another factor, my feet, they need rest. No blisters still but the bottoms hurt. Most nights I wake up in the middle, my feet cramping and legs aching. Maxwell needs rest too. He’s visibly lost a lot of weight and at times he’s hobbling along. As soon as I deposited my pack in the lean-to he went and laid down. Poor guy. I upped his food rations from a cup to a cup and a half a day. He needed it and it makes my pack lighter. A win-win situation for both of us. Time to make dinner. And then early to bed.
Distance: about 4.5-miles
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