July 21st
US 2/Swinja’s(1887)-(Full Goose Shelter/Campsite(1908.4) New Hampshire/Maine

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT and CDT.

I got way too distracted with socializing yesterday at Swinja’s and ended up doing blog and email stuff until 12:30am. I was up at 5:30am this morning and made a mental note to go to bed earlier tonight. My eyes were burning and didn’t want to stay open, but I was energized and it was a great day to hike. Sweetfish is joining in for 31mi since he has the next two days off work, so the three of us set off and started hiking at 7:20am. It’s pretty entertaining to have Sweetfish along as he is a triple crowner that is full of fun trail stories. He loves to talk and can easily do so while hiking, so we just requested stories and/or jokes and he delivered. He is also the luckiest hiker ever and trail magic just follows wherever he hikes. We call it Sweetfish moments and are hoping it will rub off a bit onto us while he’s here. We spent the first couple hours hiking uphill and were relieved that it wasn’t too steep or rocky, so we made pretty good time. Once on top, there were nice views and hiking on top of a flat rock surface.

It was the same pattern of down into forest and then up onto a flat rocky top most of the day. The miles got much slower as many of the ups and downs were on slick and steep slanted rock or boulders.

Again, this hiking isn’t as exhausting as it is just precarious and time consuming. There were some slips and probably more on my part today. The classic one from me today was when we stopped for lunch and when I absentmindedly stepped back into a large rock and tumbled back like turtle on my pack. No serious falls though so that’s good. We’ve been spoiled by the ease of getting water at the huts last leg, so it was back to filtering today and a couple of additional breaks were required to do that.

We leap frogged all day with a pair of guys going northbound named Shakespeare and Ramshambo. We didn’t hike a lot together, but conversed a bit as we saw each other. We all overlapped on top of Mt Success and got pictures. We did a pose of Captain Morgan at Sweetfish’s request.

The fun after lunch was that we hit mile 1900 and crossed into Maine. There are just 281mi left to do in Maine and it was a very bittersweet realization that there are few days remaining.

Towards the end of the day, we had our campsite destination chosen, but the steep and rocky terrain was making for slower hiking.

I knew I needed to get there as soon as possible to be able to blog and get to sleep at a decent time, so I decided to kick it up a notch the last four miles and I told Jett Cat and Sweetfish I’d see them at the campsite. We’ve found that this is working for me and Jett Cat as she usually hikes later just slightly slower than me and then we both can hike our desired pace the last hour or two of the day and we tend to be within 30mins of each other. I was glad I chose to push because it was more of the steep ups and downs.

The tops of the climbs were great and there was a great view of the ridge ahead. When I got to the ridge, I was able to look back and see the others hiking down in the distance and we waved to one another. They were up on this hill.

It was along the ridge that I just got a burst of energy and had my first real hiker high of the AT! I get these often out west when I can cruise trail that has panoramic views and beautiful weather. I was so stoked to finally feel that energy and rush again today that goes all the way through my fingertips. I had my music on and felt like I was flying. It was a great way to end the day and I just had to take a picture of what I saw as I was feeling my hiker high. Just great!

I got to camp just before 7pm, Jett Cat arrived 30mins later, and Sweetfish came 30mins after that. Roshambo and Shakespeare also showed up. It was finally a day over 20mi and Sweetfish did amazing to hang in there despite not having done an overnight since the CDT last year. We all fit on the tent platform and are very content to be in our sleeping bags. Temps are nice and cool and perfect for sleeping again. Maine just might turn out to be my favorite state…

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