Friday, July 11, 2008

AT: Trail magic so far

One evening I am at a road crossing - as usual way behind schedule, because I had been climbing up 3,000 ft and then down 3,000 ft on slippery rocks. Two older guys appear and try to convince me to come into Andover with them - they are just waiting for their shuttle. I don't want to have another town stop and I want an early start so I decline, but I keep them company until their shuttle turns up. Just for fun I ask the hostel owner what other hikers are there. Garlic and Pickle! I can't believe my luck. I know the 2 from the PCT in 04 and I knew that they were hiking the AT nobo this year and had hoped to meet them on their way north. So I took another town stop and had a happy triple crowner reunion with them exchanging hiking ideas. The also give me the good news that the terrain will improve after Mount Moosilauke - and this becomes my new mantra now: I just have to make it to Moosilauke and things will get better.

But that is not all: It turns out that the hostel owners helper is from Guatemala - where I have been before. It also turns out that he has not been speaking Spanish for about 2 years, so we end up talking in Spanish till 1 am in the morning.... The guy is producing "jewellery", so I end up with 2 earing made out of moose shit as a gift. That is no joke - he collects the moose droppings, fixes them and makes jewellery out of it. Interesting... The only problem with this nice and unexpected town stop is that I hardly got some sleep that night and end up almost sleep walking the next day.

Gossamer Gear The One tent
Not so good is that my new Gossamer Gear The ONE tent is making problems. It turned out to be fiddly to set up to start with. And then I had to discover that it is leaking as well. I spent one horrible night in a thunderstorm inside my tent protecting me against the rain with space blanket. I wrote them an email and they will change it into a new tent, but still I would not recommend anyone buying the ONE. Gossamer Gear blames the problem on a faulty patch of tent fabric. And of course, another Platypus bottle broke, but I could change it here in Gorham.

And I have seen some interesting wildlife: Turtles (yes, I mean Schildkroete) right on the trail, all sorts of giant frogs, snakes and moose. The moose were actually kind of annoying. Last night I camped next to a lake and there were moose feeding in the water all night long. It is pretty bizarre to lie in a tent with all those splashing noises nearby... made me sort of uncomfortable. What happens of they run over my tent?
Anyway, I am glad to be out of Maine now. One more week of rock hopping in the Whites and then the worst should be over. I hope I do survive without any injuries....

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