Wetfoot and Arry, Vol 1. Day 1: 10.4 miles: Semper Gumby
Semper gumby. The art of being flexible. Katahdin is closed. Still. It will be until June 15th at the earliest. For those of you who knew my original plans…I was going to start June 3, summit Katahdin and continue south. Now I shall be a mostly SOBO.
Instead of waiting for the mountain to open, we took a vacation in bar harbor, admiring the views from Acadia National Park. If you haven’t been there I highly recommend it. We had all the wild blue berry things…including yes…a blueberry soda float. It was delicious I might add.
We even got up early to see the first sunrise in the United Stated at the top of Cadillac Mountain (yes, we drove to top…super lame-o).
And while we took advantage of being so far up north we made a new plan. Arry and I were going to start in Stratton. The day prior I did all the normal preparatory things. You know, download the constellation app, the bird identification app and the plant identification app. I also begrudgingly downloaded the maps on guthook for the northern section of Maine. You can never have too many maps. I picked up my pack, it was heavy. I’m not sure how much it weighed. Most of it was the four or so litres of water and food. I for sure brought waaay too much food for four days of hiking. My boyfriend went through my snacks and determined I didn’t need two pounds of gummy bears! The marine corps taught me to bring ALL the gummy bears!! We compromised on bringing one, and he would mail the other pound out to me for resupply.
My boyfriend dropped us off, helped take the obligatory “I’m starting a hike” pictures and we set off. First blaze we saw was a yellow blaze…this doesn’t look right I thought. Then it ended in a puddle, power lines ran through the entire area. Great, I couldn’t even find the trail, how was I to hike 2000+ miles on it. Finally I turned on my GPS and opened up Guthooks, which told us we were too far east. I guess it was good I got it after all. Once we found the right trail, this one with white blazes! My boyfriend hiked to Cranberry Stream with us. He left to drive home…and Arry and I were alone.
It was exhilarating. The pines looked exactly as I pictured Maine would look! We walked and I began taking in the amazing views. Maine really is a gorgeous place. There was even snow left! No wonder Katahdin is still closed.
As we walked the trail turned into rock staircases. Arry would run up and then watch me struggle up to her, and then she would take off again. Oh well. They became long and monotonous. Finally we came to a breathtaking view. The mountain I thought. Wrong. It was one of three lookouts before you reached the top of Bigelow Mountain. From the lookouts you could see miles, basically with a 360 degree view! Sugarloaf mountain stood out on one side, and a bunch of lakes were on the other.
I began becoming disheartened as I trudged up rock stairs endlessly. Arry kept bounding ahead, and would sometimes backtrack down to me. The poor thing. Near the peak, the weather became much colder and windier. We finally summited Bigelow and I started looking for a place to tent. I came to a lonely tent site and stopped, took off my and the dog’s pack. After a mental pep talk, a short rest, and some food in our bellies I made up my mind to go two and a half more miles to the Strafford Notch Creek Campground, really just a few tent sites.
I was amazed at how much snow there was on the trail. Arry liked to stop and eat it, which was nice because it gave me a chance to catch up and get my breath. In some places you would step up to your knees in it, others the snow was just harder so you didn’t sink in as much.
We summited Avery peak, which had a memorial. Then blazed to the campsite. We met a man hiking solo and a young couple out for a day hike. And at the campsite there was a guy tenting solo and a family tenting and hammocking.
It’s going to be a long hike. As I was prepping dinner Arry couldn’t decide if she wanted to be in the tent with no bugs, or next to me outside, where there were bugs. In and out. In and out.
But the good news is, I was able to hike all day, and cook dinner without having to stop by a stream to fill up. That’s a for sure sign that I brought too much water. Lessons for the next time.
Finally I went inside and she curled up on my sleeping bag! She has her own, that I carried for her! I guess hers isn’t good enough…
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