I had yet to camp with anyone on the trail. I was pleasantly surprised when, free of communication, we both woke, executed our morning routines, packed up, and were ready to embark on the days adventure at precisely the same time.
The day was full of pleasant conversation and pleasant terrain. Smooth, flat, and earthen. How lovely!
Part way in to our quest to sleep riverside, we stumbled upon trail magic. Beer, soda, nuts, chocolate, and homemade cupcakes. How kind! How unexpected! We sat and chatted with the two other hikers that were also enjoying the magic. I drank a beer, and ate a handful of nuts.
Slightly buzzing, we continued on.
The goal for the day was very important; a checkpoint of sorts. The Kennebec River is a 170 mile long river, that is approximately 400 ft wide at the AT crossing. I have been told that there is a dam that releases a rush of water in to the river at unpredictable times. Therefore, there is a man in a canoe that ferries hikers to the other side, two by two. The ferry currently only runs from 9am to 11am. If we camp riverside, there is no chance of missing it.
Day morphed to night as we moved along the strip of trail. Roots, gnarled and prominent, slowed our pace; as did the frequent yet small changes in elevation.
I did not recall 20 miles making ones body feel so very sore! Was it the use of different muscles, now that we were walking normally rather than climbing hand over foot? The terrain was so much easier, but this aching was definitely real.
A feeling of victorious relief washed over me as we arrived at the banks of the river.
I found a nice spot amongst the fallen leaves, to retire. Tired and filled with excited anticipation to cross the river in the morning, I fell asleep smiling.