Thursday, September 21, 2017 (Day 142)
I rose, finding my body to be perpendicular to my sleeping mat. I may not have chosen the most level of spots.
Two Southbounders pass.
I collected water from the pond outlet. It is off-color. It smells and taste funny. I add two strawberry kiwi Propel packets to mask the taste, figuring I should be finished with the trail before any water borne consequence takes its toll.
Today’s theme: determination and reclamation of momentum!
I cross in to Maine. The final state. I can do this.
Water sources were infrequent. I decided to stop in at the next shelter for collection. It is .3 awkward, rock laden miles off trail. I grumble to myself about the .6 mile detour.
The water source at the shelter was suitable. It was running and clear and tasted nice. I walked over to where hikers had gathered. I chatted with one that I knew, while boiling water for coffee. I spoke of the missing o-ring for my filter. Another hiker, who I had just met, offered me a spare that they had picked up off of the trail. It fit. Brilliant!
The sun was setting. I set off, chasing the sunset. I was rewarded. The sun cast an intense orange glow behind a purple silhouette of mountain range, a spectacular show of departure.
The trail continued, rocky and steep and full of hand over foot climbing. At one point I turned to discover that my filter had somehow unscrewed itself from the Smartwater bottle that sat in the side pouch of my pack. Well, there goes that, I thought. I was not about to turn back again.
It grew dark and the stars grew bright. I had only travelled a mile or so when I reached a side trail that led to Goose Eye West Peak, the highest of Goose Eye Mountain’s three peaks.
I decided to take the spur trail to the summit and cowboy camp beneath the stars.
The wind blew, cool and crisp. I bundled up and burrowed in to my down bag. I gazed up at the millions of fiery globes of light.
Oh, starry night sky! How you entrance and enchant and enthrall me so!
I could not think of much that made me happier than falling asleep beneath a galaxy of stars on a clear night atop an exposed mountain top.
With that sentiment, and a smile on my lips, I drifted off to sleep.