July 24, 2013
Today’s mileage: 21.1
Total mileage: 1887.6
The terrain was tough today, so we were really glad that we were slack-packing this difficult section. To do that however, we had to do a big day so that we could make it to the next road crossing. We survived several big climbs, steep ascents and descents, and tons of slippery rocks and boulders.
We started off with a steep climb up Wildcat. We climbed up to four of its peaks and there was even a gondola running on one of the peaks since it’s a ski mountain. There was one section where we had to do a little rock climbing. Steep is the best word I can use to describe the climb up Wildcat. However, it was so much easier and quicker without our packs.
We took a break at Carter Notch Hut before doing another big climb up Carter Dome. It was windy up on the peaks and was actually quite chilly at times. We kept our longsleeve shirts on and had to wear our rain coats later as it cooled down significantly on the peaks.
We came upon an older man hiking down North Carter who really should not have been hiking. It was painful to see how slow he was moving. His legs were all scraped up, poles bent, and shorts were all torn. He didn’t say much when we asked him if he needed help, yet he wouldn’t let us pass him either. He fell and then Miles offered to carry his pack down to the campsite about a mile away. He was in serious danger of hurting himself. We couldn’t stay with him, otherwise we would never make it to the road by the end of the day. He must have been moving at a half-mile per hour pace. His pack smelled more disgusting than anything I’ve ever smelled. We passed some SOBOs and they agreed to look out for him on their way by. Once we got to the campsite, the caretaker knew that this man had done something like this before a few days ago. He abandoned his pack on the trail, walked to a hut, and then a caretaker had to hike his pack to him. His pack must have weighed 60-70 lbs and was horribly distributed. I’m not sure what was up with this guy, but I don’t know what he was thinking being out on a trail that he clearly cannot handle. Miles felt used by the guy, but knew that if he didn’t take his pack, he may have seriously injured himself.
We had to make up for lost time, so we tried to speed our pace for the last 8 miles. The terrain got easier as we neared the road, but it still took us almost 12 hours to slack-pack 21 miles. That’s the Whites for you!
As soon as we stopped hiking, we were immediately exhausted. It was a really long day, but we are so determined to cross over into Maine, that we sacrificed more rest for our big push to the border. We have a zero day coming up and we’re so ready to be in our home state tomorrow, that we have no regrets about our long day in the Whites.
Can you believe it? Maine. Tomorrow.