Fording Rivers

Fording Rivers…

July 16. The beds were rock hard and the AC shut off during the night so it was hot and stuffy in the room in the morning…I think I would have rather been in the woods. It did rain overnight and I like being in hotels when it storms and having a good breakfast to start the day would make it all worth while. I woke up starving again…even though I had two large meals yesterday…the hiker hunger is really kicking in. I also had some dreams, or nightmares, about my shoes not making it through the last 150 miles…I think they should be ok, but I have been wearing them since Deleware Water Gap and the rocks of New England and the White Mountains have started wearing through the treads…but I am too close to get new shoes now. We headed down for the breakfast buffet and the food was good but I am getting sick of stuffing myself full just to have food for fuel. We were all uncomfortably stuffed after breakfast so we retreated to the room for visits to the bathroom and a 20 minute nap. It was going to be hard to get back on the trail today for sure. We packed up at 9:30 and found out that the complimentary shuttle to the trail is at 9 AM every day…back to hitching. We stood on the road for about 15 minutes before two guys in a station wagon full of rafting gear picked us up and we all 3 crammed in. After getting dropped off at the trail we started climbing. Before noon it was already incredibly hot again, it could be a tough day. We crossed 2 mountains today including Moxie Bald and the view from the top was all haze from the extreme heat and humidity. Finally in the afternoon the clouds broke and the rain came down. I don’t much like hiking in the rain anymore but today it was refreshing. Besides, before the rain started I was already dripping wet from sweat, so it didn’t make much of a difference, I was wet either way. The showers came down strong and in no time I was soaked. We stopped for a quick break in the afternoon and learned that a stream up ahead was swollen from the rain. A few people had forded the river the day before and it was only knee deep, but after the rain last night it was now waist deep and moving fast. We hiked on and crossed a few small streams and when JD and I made it to the Piscataquis River we saw Rafiki sitting on the other side. He said the crossing had been pretty intense so he waited to make sure we were ok.  There was a rope tied from one side to the other and the goal was to cross the river without being swept away. I started across first. The fast moving water wasn’t as deep, but as I made my way across on the slick rocks I almost lost my balance a few times and I would have been in the water, pack and all.  I took my time and made careful steps, I made it through the fast water and it had come up to my shorts. Now the deep part. Rafiki said it hit his waist, and he is taller than me! I unbuckled my pack and lifted up on the straps above my head…it had already gotten wet, but in the deep section the water came above my waist. After a tense 2 minutes I made it to dry land and JD followed quickly after. It was a success and we had 3 more miles to the shelter. We hiked on next to the river, seeing the rapids grow and hearing the turbulent water rushing below. We made it to the shelter around 8:30, just before dark. We set up the tents, had dinner, and went to bed. The mosquitos were so bad I put on my long pants and jacket. Another big day of hiking, 27.7 miles today with a very late start at 10 AM…we were feeling good about our progress and knocking some miles down in the next few days!  We finished the day at mile 2060.7, with only 123.5 to the end!

Fording Rivers

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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