Day 171 – August 25 – 14.7 miles – Caratunk ME to Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to
Elevation Change: 5341 feet
It was hard to leave the Sterling Inn in the morning. The breakfast buffet was great, and sitting and drinking coffee felt really good. Eventually, we did manage to get back on the trail.
There was only one mountain, named Pleasant Pond Mt., that we had to go over today. It was a 2000 foot climb, but the climb was spread out over 9 miles. Compared to the last several weeks on trail, it was a cake walk.
On the way up, the Tramily stopped off at “the beach”, a small stretch of sand of the shores of Pleasant Pond. When we sat down to take a break, Zeus surprised everyone with cans of Dr Pepper. Awesome!
After the break, we continued to climb up Pleasant Pond Mt.. While not steep, it was rugged.
When we got to the top, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use something Flashfire picked up in Rangeley. A kite.
There wasn’t too much room, but Flashfire was able to get it flying on the second try. Its funny how such a simple thing can be so fun.
From the top of Pleasant Pond Mountain, it was a uneventful 5.5 mile mike down to Moxie Pond.
Stoat got there a little before me, and was excited to show me some water hemlock, a very poisons plant, growing along the edge of the pond.
From Moxie pond, it was only a three mile hike to get to the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to.
When we got there I went directly over to the privy. When I got out I heard a hiker shout, “Dan?” That surprised me. No one had called me by my real name in almost 6 months. I turned to look at the guy who said it, but didn’t immediately recognize him. when I saw his hiking partner / girlfriend come around the bend, it all came back to me. It was Dustin and Valerie.! It didn’t recognize Dustin because he had a big beard now. Valerie did not. We first met them on the ride from the MARTA station before we got on trail. The last time we saw them was on the way up to Springer Mountain on Day 1! Now all this time later, we meet again… right outside a privy.
I let them know we were staying near the lean-to, and they said they would stop by after they set up their gear.
I went back to camp and let Stoat know who I just ran into. He was just as amazed as I was.
That evening, everyone was loosely gathered around the lean-to. Including Sierra Mist and Sleepy Bear, who we had met at the Sterling Inn. Dustin and Valerie, now Gus and Valkyrie, joined us, and we had a great time hearing everyone’s stories.
Flashfire and Zeus demanded that I tell one of my stories. Actually, it was one very specific story, that they wanted me to tell. It was one that they heard many times by this point. Stoat was sick of hearing it, but he tolerated it.
It….was my poop story.
-If you rather not read a humorous story about poop, skip down to the next section.-
The Poo Story
Back in the Smoky Mountains, a lot of the shelters didn’t have a privy. Everyone was expected to use an area designated for pooping.
We were camped at one of the privy free shelters, I can’t remember which one. It didn’t even have a designated poo patch. Just a full size shovel leaning against the shelter that anyone could use.
I had to go really badly. Like, having tunnel vision, bad. I grabbed the shovel and went down an old abandoned dirt road that was nearby. When I got to a turn in the road, I could wait no longer. There weren’t any big trees nearby. The side of the nearby hill would have to serve for cover. Did I mention that there were dark clouds passing over head, and the sounds of thunder could be heard not too far away? Another reason why I needed to do my business… NOW!
I quickly dug a hole, and got my pants down just in time. My body was not used to going to the bathroom completely unsupported, on uneven ground. So, naturally, I wobbled a little. I put my left hand out to keep from falling over. That hand landed in the pile of dirt I just dug up. And….that’s when I realized that I had just dug up someone else’s cat hole. <Thunder crashes>
The look on my face was one of abject horror. I held out my poo covered left hand as far from my body as I could, (Like that helps anything) all the while continuing to do my business. (My body didn’t leave me a choice.)
As one might imagine, holding one hand out didn’t help my balance issue at all, and I wobbled again.
This time, I put my right hand out to keep from falling over, and……. put it directly in my own poop….
At this point in the telling of the story, the entire camp erupted in laughter.
After food, poo was probably the one of the most talked about subjects around camp. Young, old, male, or female, it didn’t matter. Everyone talked about it. For one, it was something that was done in a completely different way then in “real” life. Talking about the different techniques was helpful to everyone involved.
We talked until it started to get dark.
Its has started to get cold at night. Everyone was wearing their puffy jackets around camp. Once it got close to bed time, everyone was eager to get in their sleeping bags.
Warm days and cold nights. My favorite kind of weather.
136.5 miles to go.