Nomad and John O: AT Thru-Hikers

Shin Pond, Maine

Week 5

Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Trail day: 29
Trail mile: 443
Location: Shin Pond Village, Craig and Terry Hill proprietors, Shin Pond, ME

The day dawns a little iffy, but the goal today, no matter what, is to find the trail to Mount Chase. So I'm out and on my way early. I take the first road to my right this morning not expecting much, and sure enough after a few hundred yards, it ends in a gravel pit. As the two-track skirts the base of Mount Chase, I try every side trail that leads up the mountain. I finally find one that looks promising — as it keeps going up and up through the rocks and dense growth. I am encountering many old and recent blow-downs, and progress slows to a pitifully agonizing pace; but the trace of trail keeps going ever upward to finally gain one of the secondary spurs leading to Mount Chase. Here the path turns to little more than a game trail, and as it winds along, first up and then down, I am starting to have second thoughts about this whole ordeal. Wouldn't you think that getting lost in a place where you've got a compass and a map, and where going up would lead to the summit, and going down would logically lead back to civilization . . . that the concern about getting lost would be of secondary concern? But believe me, there are places —like this place where there are many square miles and where up and down doesn't necessarily take a person, well, either up or down. I get very concerned now as I enter another small drainage and the trail branches into a thicket of saplings. I start watching behind me as much, or more, than I'm watching my forward progress as I break saplings and branches to mark my path. Just when I'm hopelessly and utterly lost, and in fright-filled desperation ready to quit, to try heading back I find a trail, a most-grand trail where even quad-tracks have passed. Well now, what a stroke of luck, and am I ever relieved!

What are they carrying? Check out John and Nimblewill's gear lists and pack weights


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