Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Day 141: Pack failure!

July 26: It sprinkled during the night but not very hard, and by morning the sprinkles had stopped. The weather forecast called for rain all day long, but for the time being, it was merely foggy and water in the form of tree snot fell from the trees. Not exactly dry, but not a full-fledged rain either! At least I could feel mostly dry. For now....

I reached the next shelter relatively early in the morning where I took a brief snack break but decided to push onward another eight miles to the Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to. Today was Sunday, after all. Seemed right to shoot for the Sabbath Day Pond shelter. =)

The trail was steep and difficult, as per usual at this point, but the rocks were slick from the fog and the most difficult part of the hiking was just not to slip and fall on one's butt. On one particular boulder, I slowly took steps knowing how slick the rock was. The rock wasn't even particularly steep, but despite going slow and careful, I still slipped and hit the ground hard. I stood up, cursing the trail, and took another five or six tentative steps before I slipped and fell again. G***** f**** ******!!!!

Miraculously, the rain continued to hold off. After a short 12.6 miles into the shelter, though, I decided I had pushed my luck enough and decided to call it quits. In any case, the next shelter was another 11+ miles ahead. I'd never make it there before dark. Nope, this was as good as place as any to quit.

When I took off my pack, I noticed a large hole had ripped in the side of it. I'm not sure where it had happened, but it seemed safe to assume that it was probably during one of my many falls on those slick rocks. I landed pretty hard at times! It was really quite a substantial hole.

After emptying my pack and setting up camp in the shelter, I pulled out my needle and thread and started sewing the hole closed. After an hour, it was largely fixed, but it was an admittedly half-hearted fix. My fingers hurt from trying to constantly push that needle through the thick fabric. I broke one needle in the process, but fortunately I had two more spares. It wasn't a good job of fixing it, but I hoped it was enough to hold it together. "You just need to hang in there for a couple of more weeks," I told the pack reassurringly. "You're almost to Katahdin!"

A trail maintainer dropped by with a small but full-sized watermelon, encouraging us to eat it. I had seen the watermelon on a table when I first arrived at the shelter, but I had no knife to cut it open and cracking it open on a rock didn't seem like the best way to get into it. So I--along with all of the other hikers--sadly passed it up. When she arrived, though, she had a large knife to cut it up and said that she did not want to carry it back to her vehicle and thus, we had to eat it. I was more than happy to indulge. =)

Bearfish stopped at the same shelter too, and we both complained bitterly about how slick and slippery the trail was. I think it made us both feel better. =) The southbounders at the shelter I'd joke, "Quit! Quit while you still can!" And Bearfish would just laugh and say he can't believe I'd actually tell people that. I'd turn to him and say out loud, "You know I'm just kidding!"

Then I'd immediately turn to one of the southbounders and quietly whisper--as if I didn't want Bearfish to hear (but it obviously loud enough that he would hear)--"I'm totally not kidding! Quit! Quit you still can!" All the while nodding my head vigorously. Then Bearfish would laugh some more. Good times!

Even when the trail was flat, the slick rocks were difficult to walk on without slipping!

This was the slope where I fell twice, all of about five steps apart despite my going slow and carefully!
This trail crew was installing some new rock steps.

If you do slip and fall, however, be sure to look around for some good photo ops while you're laying on the ground!

Maine Highway 17

The rocks were the slipperiest part of the trail today, but these bog bridges are slippery as well!

Sabbath Day Pond

Trial magic at the shelter!

This was the rip I found on the bottom, side of my pack. I don't know exactly when it formed, but if I had to guess, it was during one of my many falls on the slick rocks. So I spent an hour sewing it up at the shelter.

Yeah, we finished off that watermelon!

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