July 2, 2018
Destination: ME Route 4 (Rangeley road crossing) Today's Miles: 0
Start Location: ME Route 4 (Rangeley road crossing) Trip Miles: 1970.50
I slept in until almost 9 today! It felt incredible.
Of course I was starving for breakfast, so I walked into town to Mooseley Bagels. I loved it immediately when I saw their painted Adirondack chair outside. It’s a diner-style cafe and had a counter, so I sat there. I had some coffee and a bagel sandwich, as well as a blueberry muffin. I stayed a while and worked on some trip logistics.
By the time I left, I had a full belly, a plan to meet up with Apollo and Skutch, who I found out were stopping in briefly before hiking out, and a set plan to get to Katahdin, as well as a summit date and a reservation at the AT Lodge in Millinocket. It was a productive breakfast! I had to lock down the plane ticket because I was worried about flight availability, and they were already getting expensive. It felt weird to all of a sudden have to do responsible adult things, like plan and book tickets. It felt even weirder to be that close to the end! Before I really had a chance to think more on that, I met up with Apollo and Skutch for some more food. After that I had to search for bug spray, but I finally found some at a sport fishing store. They had Ben’s 100, so I decided I would try that. My picaridin-based spray worked, but it seemed to wear off so quickly. I went to a coffee shop to finish a few logistics and saw Snuggs. He had not zeroed in Andover after all and was looking for a place to stay in town, but everything was booked. I felt bad for him as it was quite hot outside, probably in the 90s, but it seemed he didn’t have much of a choice but to hike on.
Back at the hostel I got set to walk to the grocery store to resupply. The ATC kids were headed that way so they gave me a lift, which was really nice. I bought the usual stuff to get me through to Caratunk. Some energetic southbounders showed up at the hostel and I spoke with them for a little while. One guy named Happy had started as a NOBO but hurt himself, so he was now trying as a SOBO. He asked me if I ever thought I could do it - make it all the way. I told him that I never thought I wouldn’t, and while that sounds cocky, it’s very true. I knew I would never quit the trail, no matter how hard it was. Quitting does not sit well with me. Quitting leaves a hungry heart that cannot be filled, and a lifetime of wondering “what if.” My only concern was around hurting myself to where I could not physically continue. Even in moments where I have wished I wasn’t in the woods, or walking in a storm, etc., I have never once entertained the idea of just going home and calling it quits. That’s just me though - I won’t pass judgment on people who do quit, or have wanted to.
I walked down the street to get some food at a pub-like place. It was jam packed so I had to sit at the bar. It was loud and the Red Sox game was on. Just like that, I was out of the woods and staring at the boob tube! It frightened me how easy it was to revert to lethargy. I ate a hamburger alone and thought about my journey coming to an end. At one point I teared up a bit, but I’m not sure why. Then I ate the rest of my French fries, licked the grease off my fingers and left to go to sleep. Oh, wait. I ate ice cream one more time :-).
It was a lovely day in Rangeley and just what I needed. I was so grateful to rest and to see other hikers, as well as excited to have a plan in place to wrap things up. Now I didn’t have to worry about anything other than getting to the Big K.