Town time is tight these days as we rush into the last leg of our trek so I am going to make this a quick update. We are now in Rangeley, Maine! It is the second town stop in Maine. The first was Andover.
We came to the road, which was barely even paved over and waited a long time before a car even came by. Then of course when five hikers jump up and stick their thumbs out, the reaction wasn't the best. We had met back up with Yardsale, Mudmouth and Maineiac a few days prior and our group size sometimes makes town experiences difficult.
Finally a guy in an old Honda with his dog stops and says he will take all five of us. After we cram in the car he asks us if we plan to eat, which of course we are, and he offers to make us steaks! He took us back to his camp, a small off the grid cabin he built himself, and made us a steak dinner with all sorts of veggies at 10am!! Even more crazy, after we eat, he lends us the key to the Honda and lets us drive it to town to resupply at the General Store. So with bellies full of amazing food, we find ourselves in a car cruisin' along a backwoods road in Maine with the windows down and the radio up singing along to 90's tunes! It was wild to suddenly be in the situation with a handful of friends you have walked over a thousand miles with. When we got to the town of Andover, it was little more than a crossroads with buildings on one side, but the food there was great. After eating (again!) and resupplying we headed back to the camp and our new friend took us back to the trail.
Rangeley is the town we are currently in and last night we were lucky enough to stay with Maineiac's cousin, Dana and his wife Casey. Both of them have worked on trail maintenance crews before and are big fans of the outdoors. Dana picked us up after he got off work and took us back to their place where Casey had chili cooked up for us. We had brought some beers along and sat up late drinking and hanging out. In the morning Dana made pancakes for breakfast and dropped us off at the IGA grocery to resupply.
So far Maine has been good to us, at least the towns have. As for the terrain, I am convinced it is trying to kill us all. There has been mountains that we have climbed that I thought no human had been on until I found myself on top of it. It seems most mountains are sheer rock faces that we are climbing up, strapped into nothing and with big packs on our backs. If it is a level area there is sure to be a lot of mud around. Most times there are small board walks to walk on but once, as I was leading the five of us along an exposed ridge top one day, I stepped off of a board walk expecting a few inches of mud but not worrying about it as my feet were already soaked with rain and mud. To my surprise, after that one step I found one leg almost waist deep in mud! Mudmouth and Gonzo each had to take an arm and pull me out as I tried to keep my shoe from being suctioned off my foot. When I was out we all had a good long laugh at such a ridiculous thing happening. Then it proceeded to hail on us as we ran off into the safety of the woods. This is what hiking in Maine is like.
We only have 50 miles or so until the trail flattens out a good bit and we don't have such huge climbs anymore. We are also all making plans for rides back to civilization after we summit Katahdin and are hearing stories of friends who have already made it. Both these things are pretty exciting!