Eating up the remaining miles.
My alarm is set for 6am at which time there is only a weak amount of light to work by – the sun rises around 6:20 and I’m hiking today by 6:45. Despite most of the 4600′ of elevation change occurring immediately I reach Cooper Brook Falls Lean-To at 9:30, managing 7.3 miles in just 3 hours. The idea today is simply to accumulate as many miles as possible and see where that leaves me regarding a possible summit of Katahdin on Friday rather than Saturday as originally planned. I have 62 miles to go in these next 3 days to do that so today is the tester.
Today is back to being warm and sunny and later on humid as well. When leaving Monson a few days ago the forecast was for rain tomorrow so I consciously enjoyed the weather today – it might be the last nice day of the hike for all I know. Lots of things now are becoming the last example or nearly so.
I had lunch at Jo-Mary Road 11 miles in and left at noon. Four miles later I took a break at Antlers Campsite by the very large Jo-Mary Lake which had a mussel midden as apparently you can just scoop out fresh seafood from the lake if you are so inclined.
The trail today was quite flat and sometimes was simply a woodland walk on a path of pine needles, a welcome contrast to the usual difficulty akin to a Japanese game show. I was able to walk at top pace and the miles ticked by with a satisfying rapidity.
I pushed on towards my top target of Nahmakanta Stream campsite and was caught a mile or so from there by Stefan so chatting with him helped the final half hour pass quickly. Stefan is a cool person to hang out with and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. He’s also come around to the idea of summitting on Friday so we keep hoping Juergen catches up and hasn’t made other arrangements for his site. We had the campsite to ourselves so could find a private spot each and with only an hour until dark set about evening chores quickly.
After some owls stop making a racket hooting to each other, I can hear the big stream rushing by about a hundred yards away which is the perfect sound to fall asleep to. As it’s the most remote part of the AT the 100 Mile Wilderness soundtrack is mostly just that of water, wildlife and the whisper of wind.