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Today was a day of mushrooms and wet pants. LOL! I was awake before my watch started vibrating at 5am. I was up and already packing when I could see the sky turning from dark to multi-colored. It was a beautiful sunrise over the pond. I wanted to get going as it’s been a long time since I put in an 18 mile day. The elevation today was not bad at all so I knew that wouldn’t be an issue. Of course, if the AT is going to give you a smooth elevation then it’s going to screw it up with the terrain somehow to make it difficult. Today, it was with river crossings. The first crossing was looking really muddy but the water was only to my knees. Then right around the corner was another crossing that was really deep and the bottom was all mud. When I stepped down into the water, I was immediately sinking into the sludgy mud under the water and I quickly realized I needed to pull my phone out of my pocket because the water was deep enough to go halfway up my pants. It was cold too! Enough to make you sing soprano! By the time I got out of that, it was into thick mud that just covered my feet and sandals. It was so thick, at times my feet would feel stuck and like I was pulling against a vacuum. I guess since I didn’t get the mud in Vermont (why it’s called Vermud) because of the drought conditions, the AT decided to give me all the mud here. I kept my muddy feet in the sandals and hiked that way for another.4 miles since I had another river crossing. This one was nice and clean water, which worked great to wash off my feet and sandals and it was only about knee deep. I switched back to my hiking shoes and socks after that and was glad I kept those dry. There was one more long river fording that I took the time to switch to my sandals again and decided the other side was a great place for lunch while my legs and feet dried off and I put my shoes back on. Four water crossings in one day! It was also a day of mushrooms. I have so many pictures of mushrooms that I should make a coffee book with “Appalachian Trail Mushrooms.” I never considered myself a big fan of mushrooms but it’s been fun seeing all the amazing types with their different shapes and colors. After the long hiking day, I stopped just before the 100-mile wilderness and got shuttled into Monson, ME. I’m at the AT Famous Shaw’s Hostel staying in a bunk bed. I got here with just enough time to shower and then go to dinner. I’m zeroing here tomorrow so I’ll have time to do my resupply for the next 10 days and do laundry. I’ll pack up 5 days of food and then will put the other 5 days into a bucket that Shaw’s Hostel will hand deliver at a road crossing I’ll reach on the 5th day out. It’s $85 just for the bucket and for them to shuttle it out to you in the 100-mile wilderness. Since I should still be hiking with Sparkle (we plan to reach Katahdin together), we can put both of our resupplies in the same bucket and then split the price. Makes it cheaper for both of us. I’m so close to the end, it’s crazy. It feels so surreal. I’ve done and seen so much that I am unable to wrap my head around it all. I look forward to being able to sit down and go over all my journals, Relive videos, images and videos. It feels like it has all happened so fast but at the same time feel like things I’ve done on this trail were years ago.
2,079.8 official AT miles hiked. 114.5 miles to go!