Cape Lookoff Mtn(128.7)-Sunset Ledge(153.6)
Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s Long Trail Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT, CDT, and AT.
I was right when I said I’d sleep well last night. I slept straight through the night an woke with a start at 5:45am. The sun was pink and shining on my tent and I worried that it was much later. I normally wake up much earlier and then go back to sleep, but that cool air had me out cold. I needed a good night of rest. Sadly, I no longer have the sound of a Jetboil to wake up to. I’d gotten used to that sound as Jett Cat got ready each morning and definitely feel like something is missing now that all I hear is a breeze through the trees.
I got going just after 6:30am and soon came upon a shelter. Out here, most hikers plan their days by shelters. They know there will be water, a privy, and other hikers there, so they tend to plan their day to end at a shelter. I like to aim for stealth sites near views and really like it, but I understand the other strategy. When I walked by, another hiker was leaving the shelter. Her name was Earthling and she hiked the AT in 2010 and we hit it off immediately. We got to hike together for 1.5hrs and the time just flew by. We arrived at a viewpoint with a ski lift and had fun getting pictures. She had to go into town and I hiked on, but it was a fun way to kick off the day.
Nothing really eventful in the hiking today. Some of the climbs were steep and I felt the burn in my legs, but so far I haven’t run into the brush and rocky, rooty trail that I’ve heard is coming and very slow going. Earthling heard it described as if the Whites had a baby with Mahoosuc Notch and that cracked me up! Definitely not looking forward to it. Today was a bit rooty, rocky, and muddy in spots, but not bad at all.
There haven’t been as many water sources, so I’ve been carrying more and that isn’t fun when I’m already overloaded with too much food. I totally overpacked and my food bad is way too heavy. I will finish this leg a day earlier than what I planned and even packed extra food since I had been so hungry this last week or two. I ate lunch on the porch of Skylight Lodge overlooking the lily pad covered Skylight Pond. I accidentally erased the better photo, but this will do.
The two hours after lunch, I fell into a mental slump of negative thoughts of my heavy pack and tired legs. Also, the fact that I’m hiking alone with no distractions from these thoughts doesn’t help. Argh! It was perfect out at least and a nice breeze, so I tried to enjoy it. There just isn’t much to distract me. Few views or anything eventful. Just as I was really low in the mental slump, I walked up on two women hiking together who were fun to talk to and hike with for a short bit. That knocked me out of my funk enough to reenergize me for the rest of the afternoon. The cool temps and more gradual trail in the late afternoon also helped and I could cruise a bit.
I did start a new audiobook today called “Cutting a For Stone” by Abraham Verghese. A really good book so far that I hope to listen to more. I tried some today, but my mind would wander to the bad place and music was the only thing that distracted me, so I did more of that. I know in time, I’ll adjust to hiking solo again, but either way I think it’s just that this trail has little other than wooded rugged hiking so it gets old quick and then you’re just in your head which I should not be in right now.
I saw that there was a viewpoint for Sunset Ledge in my 6:30-7pm camping window and I hoped to find a stealth spot up there. I was happy to find many spots to camp and no one else camped there on a Saturday night. I got to watch another sunset as I ate dinner and this may have been the best of the summer! Five other day hikers came up for the sunset and it’s just a perfect spot for it. It definitely earned it’s name, Sunset Ledge.
I’m camped just near the ledge and look forward to the view in the morning. At least I’ve found scenic campsites the last two nights. That helps and definitely lifts my spirits. I can tell I’m going to sleep well again tonight. I anticipate slower trail tomorrow, so I want to make sure I get caught up on all the sleep I’ve missed since Katahdin.