Day 168

Day 168 – August 22  – 12.4  miles – Crocker Cirque Campsite to Horns Pond

Elevation Change:  8055 feet

In the middle of the night wind came hurtling through the campsite.  It was powerful enough to move my hammock quite a bit, and wake me up.  It had been a long while since that happened.

The wind was the “talk of the town” around camp in the morning.

The day started with a climb up the southern peak of Crocker Mountain.  At the top, we had some great early morning views.

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The clearing at the Crocker Cirque campsite, as viewed from above IMG_20170822_085412727.jpg

From the Southern peak,  we made our way over to the northern peak and then began our 3025 foot descent into the valley below.

Along the way, we crossed the 2000 mile marker.  Zeus captured the moment in a humorous video.

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The Tramily took a break to eat, and reflect on having just hiked 2000 miles.  It was a number that sounded and felt impressive, but it was such a big number it was almost impossible to comprehend.  Which sounds funny, seeing as we were there for the whole thing, but that’s how we felt.

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As we sat there, a local hiker passed by.  He congratulated us on making it all this way.  We talked to him about the fact that we had been seeing lots of moose poop, but no moose.  He said, ” This is Maine, you’re guaranteed to see a moose.”  I hope he’s right.

Not long after leaving the 2000 mile marker we found another one.

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And another one.

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After we passed all the 2000 mile marker OMG walked up behind us.  She had been slackpacking, and would be picked up at the road in the bottom of the valley.  We talked and walked with her all the way there.

Once we crossed the road, the trail began to go up once again, and became very rugged.

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By the time we got to the the top of the 2000 foot climb, the Tramily was tired.  We had planned to hike another 4 miles, but that was looking less and less like it was going to happen.  We decided to stop at the campsite a mile ahead, and decide what to do from there.

I walked out on a little side trail while the rest of the Tramily kept going.  Not only did I get a great view of the nearby pond and campsite…

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I got a great view of the entire area.

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When I caught up to the Tramily, they were sitting at an abandoned lean-to at the entrance to the campsite.  I sat down and we began to discuss what we were going to do.  There wasn’t much of a discussion.  All of us were dead tired, and cutting the day short by 3 miles wouldn’t ruin our plans.  Also, thunderstorms with high winds and hail were predicted for tonight.  We would camp here.

Also sitting there with us, was a thru hiker named Illegal.  He was recovering from  being ill and was disheartened by his lack of recent progress.  He was thinking of quitting.  The Tramily was not about to let that happen.  All of us shared words of encouragement.  By the time we were done, it looked like we may have talked him out of it.

The campsite was called Horns Pond campsite, and it was huge.

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Because of the bad weather, the Tramily decided that we would all sleep in the lean-to.  (not the abandoned one we were sitting at)  I think it was the first time all four of us stayed in a shelter together.

We made our way over to the lean-to at the campsite, and found that there were two of them located right next to each other.  Both of them were empty!

After we set up our gear, we had a visitor.  A large rabbit.  Not nearly as big as The King Of All Rabbits, but still nice to have around.  It didn’t show any fear of us, and seemed content to hang out and eat some plants.

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At one point, some of us walked down to the pond to check it out.  It was a pretty mountain pond.

The pond also gave us a clear view of the sky.  The clouds were getting darker by the minute.

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Back at the lean-to, we battened down the hatches in preparation for the storm.

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The view from the shelter

When the storm got to us, we watched as the mountain peak in front of us became enveloped in clouds.  Several times we saw a bolt of lightning hit somewhere near the peak.

It was a good night to be in a shelter.

183.1 miles to go.

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