1861 miles on the Appalachian Trail
Cold. I sleep restlessly, curled on my side, unable to stretch my legs without feeling the chill of the ground creeping into my body. The lean-to and campsites were full last night, so the three of us camped on a somewhat flat area near the privy. The trail today descends to Orbeton Stream via Poplar Ridge before rising again towards Mt. Abraham. Though we'll climb on Mt. Abraham, Spaulding Mountain, and Mt. Sugarloaf, the trail does not reach any of their summits.
A few years ago, a thru-hiker named Inchworm disappeared somewhere between Poplar Ridge Lean-to, where we stayed last night, and Spaulding Mountain Lean-to 8 miles ahead. Her remains were found two years later, just a couple miles from the trail. The last known picture of her hangs in Poplar Ridge Lean-to in memoriam.
I am literally falling asleep as I climb up to the ridge toward Spaulding Mountain. Luckily, the trail becomes far less rocky. We wait for Tenacious at the shelter trailhead; she's fallen into one of the streams.
Nighthawk suggests that we hike further, pushing past Mt. Sugarloaf to the Carrabassett River.
"It's gonna be fun!" she says.
"I'm...not sure I can summon the proper amount of enthusiasm required by that statement," I reply.
Hiking becomes quite a bit easier once I eat my entire chocolate bar and bag of beef jerky. 5 miles later, we reach the Carrabassett River. According to other hikers, we have only a couple days of rough terrain left to hike before the trail levels out until Monson.