Broke Down

What the hell…my stove just stripped out trying to attach it to the canister for breakfast. Really!!!!! I only have the 100 Mile Wilderness to go and my stove strips out. Unbelievable! I pull out my AWOL AT Guide and see that I can go to Shaw’s Hostel in Monson, ME for a repair and if not that, I hope I can find a used one in a hiker box or purchase a new one somewhere. I really didn’t want to be spending money on gear at this stage of the game. UGH! 

I’m on trail by 6:30 am the next morning, while 10 Bear was packing. My day was spent alone going to Moxie Bald. It was a fun morning on boulders and bedrock. Once I got to the top, it was a little confusing to where to go, as the summit sign had me go in one direction and then from there it was kind of vague. After wandering around a little bit I eventually figured it out. Before I got back into the tree line I noticed the sky looked like rain as fog began to roll in.  I haven’t seen 10 Bear yet and wonder how far back she is. The minute I get to tree line, I stop and strip down and put on my rain pants. I am so afraid of getting wet feet. I put on my rain jacket next and by now the rain has begun. The rest of the day is climbing over wet roots and rocks.20160914_071312

I roll into Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to at 5:30 pm. Zuko, GI Jane, Joe and Coral are already here. I go to set up my tent and as I am doing so, I snap a tent pole at the Y junction. We all try to work on it to fix it with a stick, but the stick just cant hold up to the pressure. I set up my tent anyway and instead of it being a dome it is a pup tent. Next, I have to borrow GI Jane’s stove since that is also broken. 10 Bear has arrived and is busy setting up her camp. As I climb into bed I hope that it doesn’t rain. I should have know better than to think such thoughts.  The minute I was horizontal, I could hear rain hitting my tent.

20160915_073623.jpgI woke up early, 5:00 am and packed up and told 10 Bear I was heading to Hwy ME 15 to hitch to Monson so I could go to Shaw’s to get my gear figured out.  I would meet her there.  By 10 am I was on the Hwy trying to hitch a ride. Let me just say that a lot of cars, trucks, semis passed by without any hesitation. I was beginning to think I would be there for a long time when Shaw’s Shuttle Service showed up. The driver asked me if I wanted a ride and I said, “You bet!”

20160915_110847Poet, the owner of Shaw’s, didn’t have a fix for my stove, but he did have 1 stove left to sell and so I bought that. The tent was a little more complicated. We couldn’t get replacement poles from Big Agnes in time for me to finish by the 21st. He had a tent for sale, but I didn’t want to by a new one at the tune of $400. Another hiker had a tent he was thinking of selling, so I thought about that. In the meantime, Poet mixed up J B Weld, got a screw and took apart my poles and glued the screw and a pole together. It would need 24 hours to set.

In my determination to still summit on the 21st, I decided to stay the night, this would allow me to be brought 11 miles North on the trail today and then be able to slackpack back to Hwy ME 15. In the midst of this, 10 Bear arrives and I let her what know what my plan is. I tell her, she can hike ahead and I will try and catch her tomorrow or she can stay at Shaw’s. She decides to stay at Shaw’s and within 10 minutes we are headed up the road to start our slackpack.

The first thing that happened heading SOBO is that we had to hike a good mile just to get to the trail. 20160915_132549.jpgDSC00179.JPGNext we came upon a river that we had to ford and neither one of us brought our camp shoes. We ended up taking off our shoes. I grabbed the rope above my head and started across. I stumbled once and got wet. I was sure glad that I didn’t have a full pack on my back. We made it back to town by 6 pm. I was glad we had slackpacked this section as it was a lot of up and down over ridge lines.

20160915_151130Early the next day I got up to try my tent poles. I set up my tent in the driveway at Shaw’s. The poles held. We resupplied, had a great breakfast and continued our hike into the 100 Mile Wilderness.  We were now in the home stretch.dsc00164

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Oh My…YURI!?!?!?!

At noon today, I went out to get our mail. Expecting the usual junk mail, I almost had a heart attack upon opening the mailbox door. There in all his glory stood Yuri.
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To those who don’t know about Yuri, he has been hiking with me for the past few years. Last year when launching my epic journey on the AT, Yuri went missing. I was on day 1 of the hike. Yuri was right beside me on my pack.
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At about mile 6 I sat down for a break only to discover Yuri was no longer riding high on my backpack. Heart break are the only words that come to my mind at the moment I realized my hiking partner was no more. I posted an article on Appalachian Trials of MIA Yuri. (http://appalachiantrials.com/first-days-of-trail-life/) I kept hoping someone would come across him and let me know of his where abouts. But alas, this was not to be.

Now it is March 29th, 2016 and low and behold he shows up.
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He had this fantastical tale of where he has been. I myself wonder about some of the details. (He tends to exaggerate a bit.) Here is the tale in all of it’s fine glory:

YURI. “So, there I was bumping along on your backpack enjoying the sights when out of no where there was a crash & the lights went out!!  I don’t know how long I was out but when I woke up…WOW!

Everything was white & I was in an unfamiliar place; white towels, the feeling was so soft & warm. Then this lady asked what kinds of treatment I wanted. Treatments!?! I thought, what the heck is this place. Then the woman explained to me I was at a Resort SPA! A SPA! I told them to give me the works & figured you’d be there soon to join…
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But you never came…maybe spa’s aren’t for you. (ME. A lot of eye rolling)

Anyway after waiting a year, I figured I better get in the first box out of here and head home…and…HERE I AM!

ME. Unbelievable!

YURI. I know, RIGHT!

ME. Well, you are going to be so happy in a moment, I have big news.

YURI. You do?

ME. Yes, I got hurt coming out of the Smokies and had to get off the trail at mile 309.

YURI. Oh my…that is bad news. Not big news, but bad news.

ME. Oh, that isn’t the big news. The big news is that we leave tomorrow morning to head back to the AT.

YURI. WWWWWHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!
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ME. AND, I figured a great way to make sure you don’t jump, oops I mean fall off of my backpack again!
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Story by Andrea & images by Sookie