Thursday, June 30, 2005

30 Jun 05

Today I had to ford another brook. I was not looking forward to wet feet again so I was happy that i was possible to rock hop it. I was almost across when I slid down a slippery boulder and plunged my right foot into the water past my gator. So I had one wet foot. Had to put on a dirty sock but at least it was dry. At least until I put it into my wet boot.

Since I stopped early today, I did some laundry. Even though I may make Monson tomorrow, I was starting to reek really badly. I also tried to wash my shorts and may have been slightly successful. I don't think any of it will be dry tomorrow so I will have a cold start.

It was still a long day today even with stopping early. 8.7 miles plus the 0.4 miles to get back on the trail from the lean-to. There are a couple of chatty hikers and I hope they settle down soon. Also I hope the trains are not too loud.

I decided that with so many people at the site, that a fire was called for. So I carefully built up a stack of small twigs over a pile of birch bark. Then I got larger twigs and filled out the pile. The bark burnt okay but the twigs wouldn't quite catch. At this point I also thought I heard someone complain about the fire, but I am not sure. I grabbed a few sheets of paper from the lean-to register, pulled of some of the larger sticks and shoved the paper into my carefully built wood pile. The paper took and eventually so did the wood. I added more wood then let it go. I figured I would give it minimal attention and when it died, it died. Then the complainer added more wood and so did a few other people. We also had a fair number of people sittling around it for most of what was left of the day. My first fire with no help was quite a success.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cloud Pond Lean-To 29 Jun 05 Day 13 Wednesday

Today was a really long day. I should have stopped at Chairback Lean-to like I had planned but for some reason I pressed on. I was just going to hike a couple miles over the next mountain and camp near the stream. I changed my mind, decided I wanted company. So today was a 17-mile day with some good hills and mountains mixed in. The lean-to is some ways off the trail but it is really nice here. The frogs and crickets are singing. Hopefully after such a long day, I will be able to sleep.

The shelter is quite full tonight. It holds 6 and we are 5. Tomorrow I am going ot make for Wilson Vallye Lean-to then try to push out the next day. I may take a zero day in Monson but will see how I feel when I get there. My feet are quite sore right now and may still be sore tomorrow but at least I have no blisters. We had to ford a stream so my boots got soaked. Basically my feet have been wet most of the day.

It has been such a ong day today that I barely remember this morning. I did see a moose today on the trail. I scared her off my banging my poles together. She didn't want to have her picture taken which was too bad. There were some really tough boulder sections on the trail today. It was hard to go over them and swat the blackflies away.

It seems Nicole also had a run in with the same moose I did. She managed to get pictures and charm the moose with her tin whistle. Her trail name is "Moose Charmer."

I am starting to really look forward to Monson. Today was hard physically and mentally. I am still not sure I am cut out for this. Right now my knees hurt a bit and my feet are hender. I will try for a later start tomorrow morning and try to rest everything. Tomorrow should only be ~8.7 miles so I can rest up tomorrow also.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Carl Newhall Lean-To 28 Jun 05 Day 12 Tuesday

All that worrying about the four peaks and they were really not as bad as the topos made it look. The views from white cap should have been great but it was a very hazy day. The other peaks were wooded so no views at all.

Since today was only 7.2 miles and I actually made decent time, I did some laundry. It is drying pretty fast in the sun right now. Last time I did a wash, it seemed to take forever to dry. The shirts dry faster than the socks but I still had a cold wet start.

The privy here at the lean-to is one of the worst ones I have seen so far. The last section had great lean-tos with great privies.

The bugs are not so bad as I am higher up and there is a nice breeze going. I have mostly been staying in the shelters and have had great company with great conversations. Two people from the group decided to put in more miles today so they can better enjoy Gulf Hagas. After today I have three suppers left. I think I only have three days out here. I should be able to walk out to Monson on the fourth day.

I have so many bug bites that I don't have an itch-free spot. I ended up sending my itch relief cream out when I was in Millinocket due to weight. I am regretting that now.

There are a couple of nobo's here so we are all chatting. First we talked about up coming trouble spots but now the conversation is more relaxed.

The weather looks a little iffy right now. There are some dark clouds moving in and it isn't even getting dark yet. Sun isn't due to set for at least 2 hours. I will bring the laundry into the shelter just in case. I would rather wear damp than soaked or melly.

My water bag has a very small leak in it. Right now I just use it to hold unfiltered water but I have to be careful where I had the bag. I will try to get a replacement bag as I find it very useful. I do have to go through my gear again and get rid of stuff I am not using.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Logan Brook Lean-To 27 Jun 05 Day 11 Monday

Today was a hard day as there was a lot more uphill to do. I did get to my destination but I was really having a hard time. I will do some pack adjusting tomorrow and hopefully that will help. I am not looking forward to tomorrow as there are four peaks to summit before the lean-to. I will be carrying less water to help with weight so I hope I can get more while on the trail.

I saw 2 snakes today. Just garden variety, non-poisonous garter snakes but the second one really startled me. There ws also a lot of moose scat all along the trail today.

We all made it to this shelter from Cooper Brook. Even Darryl caught up so I got to see him again. Looks like no entertainment is happening tonight. It is nice, cool, and windy up here. It is keeping most of the bugs at bay. I am staying in the shelter mostly out of laziness but the shelter company has been very nice. The hard part is that we talk later so I get less sleep. I still have problems sleeping and I am up at the crack of dawn. I was on the trail at 6:45 this morning and walked 11.7 miles. It took about 9 hours. I stopped at East Branch and took a long 1 hour break and actually laid down and took a nap. It was quite energizing but I still had problems walking up that hill.

Someone out here has a sick sense of humour as some of the outhouses have names. Last night's privy was called the Full Moon. I should have taken a pic but I didn't think of it. If I see another one I think I will.

I had a few sore spots on my feet that I am covering with moleskin. I also am getting a tan line that stops mid-calf, right where my gaters stop. I may have to hike without them a few times to get a somewhat even tan. They do keep the mud off the legs, though. It has been quite muddy on the trail. Some sections have boards to walk along that are above the swamp. Other areas are quagmires of mud and either you rock hop and hope that is a rock or you attempt to go around which damages the trail. My boots are quite muddy but I have been lucky that they mostly dry out overnight. It gets quite hot during the day as the trees block what little breeze there is and my feet sweat and my face really sweats. Should be cooler up here in the mountains.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Cooper Brook Lean-To 26 Jun 05 Day 10 Sunday

I woke up at 4am (assuming I slept). The hammock wasn't nearly so comfortable tonight. I broke camp, ate and was on the trail by 6:30. Although I was at a nice beach, I didn't get any swimming in. So I decided to plough through as fast as I could to Cooper where there was supposed to be good swimming. I had just missed swimming with the trail maintainers, they were on their way out. It might have been embarassing, swimming in my skivvies with other people around.

I arrived here at ~1:30pm and did some laundry. I also swished my gaters around a little in the water to get some of the dirt and mud off. They are hot to wear but better the mud on them and not my legs. I am not sure if everything will dry, but I have a line strung up that gets some sun. Today the weather is partial coudy and feels less hot and humid but because there is no wind on the trail I was getting very hot. I also appear to have lost my pen. I am borrowing the lean-to pen and will take the pencil.

I finally finished off the hummus I bought to eat for lunches. I was having hummus and cheese wraps. Seems hummus is good for about 3 days without refrigeration. After I ate it all, I noticed it had expired Arpil 13, actually that was the "best if used by" date. Kind of gross if you think about it. Glad I noticed after although I wish I had checked in the store. I guess small towns in Maine don't have a large hummus turnover. Good thing nothing else really expires.

I have been applying liberal amounts of deet to all exposed skin areas but some how those suckers (ha ha) seem to know where I missed or where it is sweating off faster. I am very itchy all over. They even bite through my shirt sometimes, so I spray the shoulders too. They drive me nuts by swarming around me every time I stop moving. Good thing for the head net.

Today was almost 10 miles. Tomorrow I want to try for Logan Lean-To which is 11.7 miles. I will have to start early and take a break at East Branch lean-to to rest. I will have some elevation gain but I have to start making at least 10 miles per day in order to get out before food runs out.

Itinerary to Monson:
26 Jun Cooper Lean-To
27 Jun Logan Brook 11.7
28 Jun Carl A. Newhall 7.2
29 Jun Chairback Gap 9.9
30 Jun Long Pond Stream 10.9
1 Jul Ledman Brook 12.1
2 Jul Monson 7.5

I found my pen so I returned the pencil. Looks like a full house tonight. We have 3 in the lean-to and 4 camping. Most of them are likely heading to Logan so I will see them again.

Looks like the skeeters are back in full force. Most likely it is because I washed most of the deet off in the water earlier.

Hope it doesn't rain tonight as I still have clothes drying. Going to bed early as I know I will be up at the crack of dawn.

Looks like an impromptu band or entertainment thing is going to happen tomorrow at Logan so I will have to make it there.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sand Beach, 12m from Antlers Tentsite 25 June 05 Day 9 Saturday

Today was extremely hot, humid, and buggy. I was up early in the morning so I hit the trail at 6:30am. I was off to a good start but my feet and shoulders are still tender. Authough I hadn't wanted to, I did go to White House. I bought a big net to keep bugs away from my face, and more bug repellant. This was 2 miles and about 2 hours out of my way. I ate an early lunch then hit the trail.

I stopped for a long rest at Potaywadjo (sp?) Spring lean to. I saw the largest spider I had ever seen. I also chatted with a trail maintenance crew. I wanted to push on but my body said no. They talked about a swimming place just up the way so after a long break I tried for it. I am no in my hammock near a great swimming area. Shortly after I set up the hammock, the humidity broke in the form of thunderstorms. Oh well. Maybe I can have a morning swim. I did try to wash up a bit with a soapy face cloth. It was okay except for the bugs. Good thing I wasn't totally bare or I could have had some interesting bites. I think I will try for Cooper tomorrow.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Tumble Down Stream? 24 Jun 05 Day 8 Friday

Today I was sad that I would have to start over at Abol Bidge, but after talking to the cabbie the news was better. Turns out that I was only just down the road from Derek so we shared the car ride over. I was dropped off right where I left the trail. So today I did about 8 miles and tried to rest more often, with pack removal too. My feet and muscles are tired but not too bad. I will need to be careful to not do the same thing as before.

I am in the hammock tonight near a very talkative brook. Hope I can sleep. I miss being at the hostel. Maybe it was the company or maybe it was the bed and shower.

It was hot today and it is suppsed to be hotter tomorrow (mid 90's). It was hot hiking and I am still too hot to even think about getting into a sleeping bag. I hope the bugs go away soon.

Tomorrow I will try for Antlers Campsite but depending on when I arrive and how I feel I may press on. I had 4 zero days and Derek is 2 days ahead of me. I want to make up time.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Millinocket 23 Jun 05 Day 7 Thursday

Today I bought real food to replace the dehydrated crap I had. Since I am starting back at Abol Bridge, I got 8 days worth of of food to get me through the 100-mile wilderness. The first 2 days I will be repeating an area I had previously done. This time I will try to rest more often. I thought I had managed to lose pack weight, but when I put my gear in it felt the same as before. Turns out my base weight is about 28lbs. and food plus water brings it up to almost 50lbs. I think that the small amount of weight I lost was a drop in the bucket. I hope that once I clear the 100-mile wilderness I will not have to carry so much food weight. Although I was psyched to get going, now I am a very worried and a little down. I will have to be diligent in taking breaks and removing my pack. I leave tomorrow at 7:15. I will get a mosquito net for my head then move out. Derek, AKA "Stone Passer," will be 3 days ahead of me. His heels are healing but are still raw. He will be moving slow but steadily. I hope to catch up to him as I liked the company. Hope I catch up to Natalie, also.


Live update

I was off to a good start then got railroaded by blisters. I have mailed a series of journal entries to be posted that will explain more of the story. Needless to say I have been healing from blisters and sore muscles for the last few days in Millinocket. I will be hitting the trail again tomorrow. I have made a few friends in the process and have been having a great time, both on and off the trail. I sent out a few postcards today to a few people and will sent out some more next chance I get. I will be about 8 days out in the woods before my next town stop. I will try to get the itinerary updated but that may not happen.

I am taking lots of pictures and will try to get them off the camera at some point. I should be doing that right now but I forgot the camera back at the hostel. I did get some people to take my picture at the top of Katahdin. To bad the view sucks, I was above the clouds and it was raining that day so no views. I will just have to come back and climb it another day to get pictures of the view. I have already seen a moose, some chipmonks, squirrels, ducks and a deer.

I am having a great time and find the walking in the woods quite peaceful and serene. I look forward to getting back into the woods tomorrow and will take the next few days easier to try to toughen up my feet without blistering them. I also lightened up the pack a little so that should help some.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

22 Jun 05 Day 6 Wednesday

Today my feet were much better. Blisters are mostly gone and most of the sensitivity and pain is gone. But my knee now hurts. It is a muscle pain and after stretching and using it it is fine. So I spent most of the afternoon trying to stretch it. But I did notice if I sat still without moving it it hurt a lot again.

Tomorrow I will stock up on food, mail things out and try to upload pictures. I will hit the trail Friday. Natalie, the girl who sprained her ankle, finally pushed off today to Monson. She hits the trail tomorrow. I think her trail name is Rogue Rooster. Darren, aka Stove Passor, his feet are looking better and he thinks he will move out Friday also. We may share a ride, as we are going to the same area with slightly different drop offs.

I put all my gear in my pack and it is much better. It was only my base gear so food and water will add but I will try to be careful.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

21 Jun 05 Day 5 Tuesday

Two other hikers are in the AT Lodge today. One is quite experienced, 'walks alone.' He was kind enough to go through my gear and together we were able to take out what felt like 10 lbs plus the food. The food I had bought was just "add boiling water to rehydrate"-type food. I thought this would be the easiest thing for my first section. Turns out the stuff doesn't taste good and it is heavier, and much more food than I need. So it is getting replaced with better stuff that will hopefully be lighter. I will do a dry pack tomorrow to see how the base weight feels. Base weight is no food or water, just gear. I will lose a bit more weight when I switch from my 30F bag to the 45F bag, as well.

I did laundry today. My clothes were very ripe. I had only one clean pair of underwear, everything else except rain gear needed washing. So I tied a bandana around my chest for some support, borrowed jeans from the free clothes pile, grabbed my raincoat and hobbled over to the laundromat. I also washed my mud splashed gaiters. So now I am in clean clothes again with a clean body just waiting for muscles and blisters to heal. Tomorrow I think I will get food which is a nice walk to judge how good I feel. I may also try for the library and send out e-mails. I have postcards to fill out and a bounce box to start. I also have gear to ship out, so I should warn Jen it will be coming. I think if I am good, I will try to get back on the trail Thursday or Friday. I will start back at Abol Bridge which sets me back about 16 miles, which isn't too bad. At least there is no skipped section. If I can't get a lift then I have to taxi in so Abol is cheaper than trying to get back in to where I left the trail.


Monday, June 20, 2005

20 Jun 05 Day 4 Monday

So I woke up this morning not sure if I would stay at the Rainbow Streams lean to or attempt to press on. I decided that I would press on but I would hook up with the road and either hitch to the next area or walk it. I was hoping to make for White House where I was hoping to drop weight and rest up for an extra day. The road was long, winding, hard, and it was hot out. I ended up getting a ride back to Millinocket where I was prepared to call for a lift out. Instread, I now find myself at the "AT Lodge" recuperating from about 4 blisters. I will also take the opportunity to pare down my pack and set up a bounce box.

There are two other people here at the hostel also recovering from foot related problems. One girl sprained her ankle and the guy had infected, open blisters. Another thru-hiker is here and will be starting tomorrow. His pack weights 70 lbs. I told him he has to lose weight but I am not sure he will do it or not. He seems confident to carry it but then so did I. I hope he is better off than I was. He did opt for less canned food.

The people who run the hostel are very nice and helpful. I will stay a few days, re-gear, then try again. Hopefully with less weight on my back my feet will be happier. I am not sure I will be able to get back to where I left the trail. It will cost $65 to get a lift to that point but only 1/3 to get a lift to either before that point or 20 some miles after that point. So I need to decide whether I see some sights over again or miss out on some sites and not have hiked the entire trail.

I have had a shower and except for big foot pain and minor muscle pain I feel good. Also talking to other people who are laid up but excited to go back to the trail makes me want to keep going. I don't really want to quit and this is a breath of fresh air that is giving me the uplift I need. Tomorrow is mostly R&R, some laundry and possibly a pair of sandals to hobble around in here and at camp. I should hever have left the Gators behind.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

19 Jun 05 Day 3

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was out and athough it was about 40F this morning it was much warmer at midday. I am still a walking wreck. Every part of me aches. I don't take breaks during the day as I don't want to take my pack off. I don't feel I have been eating or drinking enough and I stink to high heavens.

I am not cut out for this. Tomorrow I will take the road and try to get either a lift or get to Whit House Hostel. At least I took lots of pictures today. I had the camera in my pocket which made for quick and easy access. Too bad I hadn't thought of it sooner or I could have snagged a photo of a mouse standing in the middle of the road. I think I got some pics of Katahdin from Rainbow Wedges. I will have to download them then look at the map to see if I did.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

18 Jun 05 Day 2

I am still really sore and tired from yesterday's climb. Today is supposed to be mostly flat. Turns out it was. I did see a moose on my way out of the camping area.

The ranger had mentioned a bridge was out. Was it ever. There were trees all across the way but few of them were very stable and most of them were quite slippery. It was a very harrowing crossing. But I made it.

After that it was mostly smooth sailing. The trail was a little vaguely marked at times. Several times I had to pull the map out.

I have come to the immediate conclusion that I am over packed. I should have stopped at the post office in Millinocket and set up a bounce box immediately before starting. Not now when I am entering the 100 mile wilderness. Next stop is Monson, 100 miles away. I am really sore and tired right now. I am not sure how far I can keep dragging all this extra weight. I am also wanting to leave it in the woods.


Friday, June 17, 2005

17 Jun 05 Day 1

Due to a tropical storm, the weather has been mostly rainy the last few days. And today was no different. I did try to sleep in, hoping that a few more minutes would give the sun the chance it needed. But alas, it was destined to be a rainy day.

I got to the trail head at 8:00 and was on my way. The trail was easy, the scenery nice, but it was grey and raining. I made it to the falls by 8:30 and discovered a toilet. So I made use of it and took the chance to peel down. I found the trail deceptively easy, considering I had 5 miles to make 4000 feet.

After several hours, I hit the tree line. I was above the clouds, or at least I was in the clouds. I was also faced with a wall of rock. The rock pile was enormous but somewhere about it lay the peak. So I carefully pressed on. It was very slow going at the point and the only view was the inside of a cloud. A brief clearing showed the extent of the climb. I was ready to cry.

After the enormous rock climb was a plateau strewn with rocks. It was the most amazing thing to see on top of a mountain. And it seemed to go on forever. I finally did reach the summit and got my picture taken. This was the beginning of my hike.

At the 1 mile marker heading back down I met a northbouch hiker finishing his last mile. I had also met up with 3 other people who were kind enough to stay with me for most of the harrowing descent. Although climbing the rocky slopes was easy, strenuous but relatively easy, coming down was a whole other story. I was glad for their company and their help. I may have overdid my first day. My knees are complaining. Otherwise, I am quite tired and have some aches and pains. Toorrow will be a big day and I will be tired from today.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

16 Jun 05

Baxter State Park. Left Montreal this morning at 7:30 and hit the Maine border at 10:00. After several questions and a quick trunk check we were on our way. Our roads suddenly went from arrow-straight to narrow, tree-linked and winding upon reaching the Appalachian range. While the roads leading to the border were becoming winding and tree-lined, the change seemed more noticeable afterwards.

Today was quite cool and there were scattered showers on the drive down. Temperatures are in the mid teens. I received my new sleeping bad and will be receiving another one in about 2 wks. The bag is rated good to 30F (0C) so I hope the temperature doesn't drop. I will have to worry about skeeters and blackflies. I am sleeping in a 3-walled lean-to for the next few nights.

I hope the weather is better tomorrow. BSP is forecasting 80% rain and may rate the day a class 3. Meaning conditions above the treeline will not be good for hiking. I will at least make for the tree-line then see how things look. I am filtering water for tomorrow and packing my day pack. I will make food soon and maybe a fire.

I have set up "camp" for the night. I also had my first brush with nature. A chipmunk was sitting about 5-7 feet away nibbling on something. By the time I managed to get back to the camera and pull it out, it was gone. Too bad, he would have made a cute photo.

I am trying to decide the age old question of "what's for dinner?" I have so much choice that I can't decide. I am also unsure about how much food each package makes, so I may be eating it again for breakfast. I will have to choose wisely.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Last day

Today is my last day at home. It feels like there are a million and one things that still need to be done but there is no time for that anymore. I dropped off the cats with a friend today. One of her cats was not impressed and another was hissing a bit but otherwise curious. Scotty just walked around and seemed to make himself right at home, but PerC was running around, trying to smell everything all at once. He didn't seemed to impressed. Neither of them were impressed to be shoved into the cat carier together. I normally just put them on a leash and harness then buckle them in, but we were taking my parent's car and they have leather seats. I hope they will be okay. I miss them already.

We will be leaving early tomorrow morning so as to arrive at a reasonable time. I will be dropped off just outside the park and will walk in to the camp site. This will also be the last regular post I do. Most posts after this will be by a friend who will be kindly updating the site from my letters. If I encounter an internet connection then I will post but that will not be too often. I will try to take lots of pics and upload them when I get a chance, if I can offload them from the camera. This is a big step and I am nervous but otherwise really looking forward to the adventure.

My long hair

My long hair
Originally uploaded by Canadian Loonie.

This is the pic of how long my hair was just before I had several inches removed from its length. It is still long but it feels shorter, especially when I brush it. I am not sure I will be able to handle long hair in the woods. If not, then I will be sporting an even shorter hairdo in another week or so.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blessed relief

It has finally rained here and the humidity is mostly gone. It has also cooled off considerably. We are actually feeling the effects of tropical storm Arlene and it is nice. There was some problems with a bit of flooding along a section of road downtown. Since 40cm of rain fell in such a short period of time, is it any wonder there was an accumulation. Our new foundation work mostly held up. We did have some settling of the gravel they used to fill in the hole and the deck has shifted a bit but everything is fixable.

I am driving to my brother's friend's place tomorrow to drop off the cats. They will be staying with her and her three cats for about 2 weeks. My parents are heading over to PEI after they leave me in Maine. This way they get some away time on the island. They haven't been there in some time. Hope everything goes okay.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Montreal for a while. There was more stupid bureaucratic paperwork to try to wade through and it looks like they will not give an inch. At least the car is insured. My father will take care of the last inspection and the registration. This has been such a headache. For those of you who might be interested, NEVER import a car into another country. Just sell the car and start over. Especially if it happens to be Quebec and the Regie is on strike. Forget about it.

I have sent around some emails to a few friends to let them know I will be completely out of touch for awhile. Maybe I will finally get a little traffic on this page, and maybe even a few comments. Some of those would be nice. Some days when I look at the stats, I get the feeling I am the only one who is loading the page and that is just to make sure the post went through and as a last spell check. I guess if I just used the spell check feature I wouldn't have that problem, but it can't seem to handle Canadian spelling nor grammar, which most of my mistakes are. We are in a league of our own.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Damn Quebec

I hate living here just for the fact that Quebec feels that Canada can't seem to do anything correct and so they must have their won agencies to do a "proper" job of it. I had to have a federal inspection of the car, which it passed. But I also have to have a provincial inspection of the car too. With only a few days left before I leave, I really don't need this hassle. I will not be able to get a driver's license before I leave because the agency is on strike and the private company can license the car just not me. I did get my papers work sent off for my medicare card and that is now being processed. Quebec is also thinking about having another referendum to vote on separation again. This is a huge can of worms so I will not get into it. Suffice it to say that neither side seems to know the whole truth in this debate.

I have not heard back from the lady from Tennessee who was looking for a southbound thru-hiker. We chatted via email several times then on the phone once. I am not sure if our talk scared her off or what. I am leery of hiking with someone who has so little experience. I don't know if she will show up and I am almost afraid to email and ask. I have heard from one of the other people down on the calender on as starting on the same day as me. I am not sure we will hike together but we will probably bump into each other along the way. I actually think I don't want much company during the day but I think that company at night will be really nice. I think it will be fun talking about the day to people who have walked the same path as I did at about the same time.

I is supposed to rain tonight. Supposedly, tomorrow will be hot and muggy but hopefully less so. I think it will be hard having to close the window tonight. Since it will rain, the window will need to be staggered and that reduces the air flow big time. I think it will be quite a hot night sleeping tonight.

Had a few inches of hair cut off today. I did get a before picture. I think I will get an after picture just in case I decide to get it cut off somewhere on the trail. It really wasn't a very drastic cut but hopefully it will be enough to not irritate the hell out of me. I really am not sure how I will take care of long hair on the trail. And while I really like my long hair, I don't think I will hesitate to hack it off if it becomes a problem. I really do want to go to Arisia next year with long hair and I also hope I can make up the 4-5 inches in that time. My hair was just long enough to wrap the braids halfway around my head and make a really cute crown. I will post a pic of me with the before shot sometime soon, I hope.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Still hot

It is still so ho here in Montreal. Yesterday was the Grande Prix and the temperatures at the track were over 55C after the humidex. The drivers must have been drenched in sweat inside their fire suits. I don't think I could even imagine getting into a suit like that, let alone having to wear it for hours. There was absolutely no air movement. Today was pretty much the same weather except for a slight breeze which was almost cool at times. We really didn't do much today. This heat is sapping everyone's energy. I did make my death by chocolate pie and it was a big hit. It normally is. I managed to get most of it done in the relative coolness of the morning then added the whipped topping later at lunch time to finish it off. We got to enjoy a nice barbeque'd dinner out on the back deck with pie for dessert.

I helped my brother get the futon mattress into his car. Unfortunately the frame didn't fit in the car and he has no roof rack. So my parents will take it to him later when they go over to visit him. We also have an uncle-in-law who lives in the area so I am sure they will visit with him too. They will just have to make sure they place the frame on the rack with the bug splatter facing forwards, no need to accumulate bugs on both sides of the frame. I also think he forgot the bolts that hold the frame together. I will try to remember to check and have my parents bring that with them too.

So, 4 days to go. We will leave early on Thursday and my parents will drop me off at the park entrance. It looks like they will spend a few days in Bangor and do some shopping then head over to PEI to enjoy some lobster fresh off the boat. My grandfather lives there and knows most of the fishermen, in fact we are probably related to half of the fishermen in some way. This will be a chance for them to catch up with everyone. I hope they have a good time. That side of the family can be a little on the busy side and sometimes it is hard to really catch up with everyone. I got lucky when I went down after Christmas that my brother and I managed to have a nice supper with my uncle and his wife and we caught supper with my aunt and her husband. We unfortunately didn't get to see the new cousin. My cousin has a kid, so I guess that makes them removed or something. Whatever.

I really hope it is cooler in the woods, or at least cooler in Maine. I am having a very hard time with the humidity right now. I don't think I will last long on this hike if it is like this in the woods.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Heat wave

I think it is officially a heat wave. The heat is not breaking and seems to have no intention of breaking any time soon. Our house has no basement and although the ceramic tiling on the first floor helps cool the place a little, it is still very hot. There is a 2 degree difference between the two floors but there is no air flow in the TV room downstairs and the sofa set is leather. Which means we stick to it, a lot. It is hotter upstairs and a ceiling fan but it is quite hot. I feel like I am drenched in sweat all the time and it is really hard to get any work done either inside or out without breaking into a sweat. I got talked into making my famous death by chocolate pie and I should do that tomorrow so we can all enjoy it but I am just so hot. I will try to get most of it done in the morning when I is a little cooler. Since it requires both the stove and the oven I want to get it over with in the relatively cool morning. We'll see.

My brother and I took our parents our for supper tonight. I was hoping for better air conditioning at the restaurant but it was still a bit hot. We ended up sitting next to the door to outside which was wide open. I am not even sure if there was any AC on in the place. We went to celebrate several things. Most importantly was having the whole family together. This really doesn't happen as offen as it used to, since I was living in the States, my brother joined the Forces and moved to Ontario and my parents worked overseas. We also got to celebrate my mother's birthday which we haven't been able to celebrate in person for quite some time. We also did a father's day celebration. And I am leaving next week on a very grand adventure. My brother is also leaving on a smaller adventure paid for my the army, but still sounds quite nice. I am in the finally stages of packing. I am organizing the little things into the stuff sacks that I made the other day and checking everything to make sure it is all there and in good shape. I am having trouble finding the small plastic bottle I had bought for camping as I was thinking of filling one with curry powder to spice things up on the trail. I will check again but I may have to break down and buy more. I think I will still bring my big sleeping bag on the off chance the other one doesn't arrive in time. I think I will leave the heavy thermals at home and bring a lighter pair. I can always have them sent to me later as winter approaches.

Friday, June 10, 2005

More foundation work

So today we got up early to beat the heat and finish off the last stretch of foundation work that needed doing. Mostly it was to cover the side of the foundation with foam and cement, then to level off the bricks that the deck sits on. After that, the foundation people came by and put the deck back in place. So we managed to do about 4 hours of work before lunch, in the shade in the back of the house. The temperature today was sweltering and every little movement cause us to break out in sweat. And since we were in the shade, the skeeters were out in full force. I was really happy to finally come in and have a really cold shower. In fact it was so cold, I had goose bumps. My brother is home for the weekend but he missed most of the hard work. Lucky him.

I managed to finish off all the stuff sacks that I think I will need to organise the black hole that is the inside of my pack. I also used some of the blaze orange to make some of the important bags more noticeable. I think that the first aid kit and the bear rope are deserving of the bright orange. Next I have to actually go through everything and put them in their bags and trail pack the pack. And on a good note, I got a call about my sleeping bag, it will be in Millinocket for me to pick up before I start the hike. Si, although I will not have it in my hands right now for trial packing, and to check it out, I will have it at the beginning of the hike. This is great and I can't wait to try it out. I am really interested in the Big Agnes sleep system in their sleeping bags and think that this is a great bag for hammock camping. I will see soon enough.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stuff sacks stuffed

7 days left and I finally broke out my mother's sewing machine (mine is buried in the garage under piles of my stuff) and made the stuff sacks and pack cover for the trail. Boy is my mother's machine really fast compared to my sluggish old garbage find. I made the pack cover out of some blaze orange silnylon I recently bought and the stuff sacks out of some grey and green silnylon I had bought some time ago. The orange is a really bright colour and will hopefully prevent me from getting shot at by hunters who are too close to the trail. I should track something down for my front too. I also had a chance to make some smaller stuff sacks to help organize the little things that will be going into the pack. This way, they won't be loose and maybe I will have a chance of actually finding them when I want them. What will end up happening is that I will have to open 4 little stuff sacks before I find the one I am looking for. Oh well. At least I will feel better knowing my toothbrush will be stored with the toothpaste and the batteries will be stored with the camera. I also made a small stuff sack for the pack cover, I should find a way to keep the two together. I will looking into it tomorrow as I think I have a way. I also bought a nice compass and the little toggles I would need to keep the stuff sacks closed. Good thing I had elastic cord left from some other (unfinished) project.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another swelteringly hot day. Today was hot but tomorrow is supposed to be really hot. Of course there is still more foundation work to do, and I have to get up bright and early. I also still have a little bit of sewing left to do too. I was in the middle of making a small sack for my journals when the bottom bobbin ran out of thread. Perfect time for a break. I will also have to get the process started on my medical insurance card, and try to get the car inspected. I am waiting for the government to sent me some mysterious form 2. I think I will just go crazy tomorrow instead. Maybe they will commit me into an asylum that has air conditioning.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Another day down

8 days left before I leave to hike the Appalachian Trail. I ordered a sleeping bag just in case the one I am supposed to be testing doesn't arrive in time. I hope the ordered one arrives though. I am also waiting for the dog tags I ordered, they have not arrived yet but I did just order them on Monday. I hope everything arrives in time and I get everything done that needs doing.

Today was a really nice cool day. In fact, it was almost cold compared to the last few days. I am not complaining either. It was really refreshing, and since we had to do some more foundation work, it was also ideal working temperature. I don't think it was much over 20C (70F) today. It also rained a little giving us a chance to rest up some. It is supposed to be warmer tomorrow but I hope it is still cool.

I never did get a chance to pull out the sewing machine today to make stuff sacks. I need to try to get that done as soon as possible. I find it is just too easy to sit down and waste the whole day, especially when I pick up knitting. I can sit and knit for hours and not notice the time passing. It is also hard to get things done when I am helping my parents to do stuff around the house. Or alternatively, if they are sitting down in the living room, it is nice to join them and still get nothing done. I did finish a pair of socks that I had been working on and started and finished another pair. I have just started another pair that I think I will give to my father. My brother is supposed to be coming this weekend, and my mother's birthday is soon. I should bake her a nice triffle. Something light and easy on the waist line.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


It was only a few degrees cooler today compared to yesterday, but it was the cooling wind that made a big difference. It just wasn't as humid. It did rain a little last night. I could hear it raining at some point in the night. Waking up at odd hours seems to be one of my specialties.

I am realising that I have only 9 days left to get my medical insurance card started on its way, get my car inspected and licensed, and get a driver's license. So far, one of the government ministries is on strike and that has been affecting most of the above. So I will give them until Friday to get off this strike. If they have not resolved things, I have to get a photo taken for my medicare card, get the car inspected and hopefully licensed and say to hell with a driver's license. I shouldn't need it on the trail. I just hope they don't give me grief when I finally try to get on.

On a good note today, I think I finally found a pack. While I had really like the Osprey Crescent that I had tried on about two weeks ago, I found the 430$ hard to swallow. So I continued looking. I managed to find the Acteryx Bora which had a slightly better price of only 380$. Not much of a savings but still pretty good. I got it at MEC. The store was only okay. I really prefer REI. I am not sure why I felt that way as the store was very nice, but there was something about it that just didn't seem to compare well to REI. So I did a dry packing today and everything fit. At 80 liters, it had all better fit. I did end up getting a bigger sized pack then I felt I needed and now I know I will try to fill the pack up to over flowing. It is always bad, in this case, to buy a bigger pack. That way you can justify bringing something that you didn't really need. I am still short a sleeping bag and I did notice a few other things I have to get. I will try making a pack cover tomorrow out of the blaze orange fabric I got.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Sweat wave

I think that it just keeps getting hotter and hotter here. I have no energy and keep moping and dragging my butt around. The heat wouldn't be too bad but it is the humidity that is killing me. It is supposed to rain tonight. I hope it helps break a little of the heat. Supposedly, Wednesday will be cooler but then the temperatures will go back up. Today was a record high, we hit 31C (88F), I'm not sure what it was with the humidex. I'm not sure I want to know what it was with the humidex.

The cat decided that the hole that he made in the screen the other day wasn't big enough. We had just covered it with duct tape and he decided to make a new hole under the old covered hole. That means the glass doors are closed again. There is just no stopping him. If I put him out, he whimps out and cries to come back in, but if no one is there, he is brave and goes out on his own. I have heard that cats hate the smell of moth balls, but then so do we. I may have to try them though.

I made it down to the border today, and the car is now undergoing importation. I had to pay some fee to line the governments coffers, and of course the fee was higher for Quebec. Quebec always has to be different. I have to bring the car in to get an inspection, which costs money, then attempt to get it licensed, more money, while the licensing bureau is on strike. I still have no valid driver's license due to this strike, yet more money. I should have got my license the first chance I had but I was trying to settle in and make sure my stuff took up the least amount of space possible. All this is makng me wonder about my burn rate. I can't be spending too much money or I will jepardize my trip. I also need to make sure I will have some money left over so I can relax a little when I get back. I bought a set of dog tags for while I am on the trail. I hope nothing happens, but if so at least I have emergency contact information on me at all times. They even had specialty tags ewith flags on them, so I picked up a Canadian flag tag.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Lazy hazy Sunday

It was quite hot today. The fact that the cat keeps ripping a hole in the screen door, means that we have to keep the kitchen door closed tight. The cat will not go out if you try to kick him out but left alone with an open door and curiousity gets the better of him. So if we forget to lock the screen door, he opens it to free himself and in the process, lets in a bunch of flies. They then spend the rest of the day tracking down, catching and eating flies. If we lock the door, he scratches a big hole in the screen and walks through the door instead. This time both of the cats were outside. PerC came back right away but Scotty took his time. The solution may be simply to close the door to the hallway. There is a cat door that will ead to the kitchen but Scotty doesn't fit through. I don't think PerC will open the screen himself, but I don't think this will help the air flow problem.

After the work rigours of yesterday, no one wanted to do anything. We did pick up a few things to get started on the next step but we did absolutely nothing today. We also had to return the cjumping jack that we were using to compact the extra dirt. I felt okay when I woke up but later that day, my back felt like I had been hit with a sledge hammer. Not very pleasant.

Tomorrow, I have to drive down to the border and finish the export process on the car. Then I have to turn around and hit the Canadian border to start the import process. I really hope I don't have to drive back to the border after this to process anything else. It will take me at least 45 minutes to get to the border then I have to wait to be processed, twice, then I get to drive back and hit the licensing office. I hope they are no longer on strike or this will get very interesting. I am due to leave in 11 days. Whatever, I am going back to relaxing.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

So tired

Well, my bike made it out of the shed and I did put air in the tires but that was a far as my bike ride went. My father needed help compacting the dirt around the house that went in to ht eback filled hole. What a day. I was shoveling and moving clay. Not the easiest thing to do. Clay is very heavy and clumpy. And the back fill had been driven over with a back hoe so it was a little compacted. It took us all day but we did finish. We have to return the compactor tomorrow. I am not sure either of us will be camable of lifting it into the back of the car. Hopefully we will not have to do to much tomorrow. I am not sure we will be capable of moving. I didn't get any cardio work done today but my muscles sure took a beating. My back hurts and my side which hurt from before hurts a bit.

On a good note, I did get to wear my hiking boots and start the breaking in process. They also go covered in dirt and clay. I have to wash them up and waterproof them for the trail. I also still need a back and sleeping bag. The bag is supposed to be in the mail, and I need to go to MEC to look at bags. Hopefully I can get there soon. I also have to go back to the border sometime soon to finish importing the car. I think I am going to bed early tonight. I just had a nice refreshing shower about an hour ago but I will go to bed with wet hair. So what if the pillow gets a little wet, I am tired and I hope I will sleep well tonight.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hot, hot, hot

Boy it got hot here. It is 30C (that's 86F for those South of the 49th parallel) right now and it is 10:00 at night. It should be cooling down, not getting hotter. Welcome to Montreal in the Summer. I think that this is unseasonably warm. I find it interesting that even though I sleep with the covers off, I find myself under them and sweating the next morning. I think I need to really kick them off the bed tonight. It feels much hotter tonight then it did last night. I may have to open the window all the way. To hell with the highway noise. I can't sleep in the quiet so whats a little noise when I am already up. I think I may go down and get the floor fan from the garage.

The cough I've had for the last few weeks has been getting better. I hardly cough now and when I do, it is productive. I am still favouring my side as it still hurts a little, but it too is getting better. I think tomorrow morning, I will get the bike out and go for a long ride. I think that if I get it done in the cool of the morning then I can save the afternoon for other things. Not sure what other things but I will have the whole afternoon to ponder that. I think I will also have a nice cool shower after I get back to wash away the stink and road dust.

For those of you who have been following this page from the beginning, there is now an addition in the side bar. I have added my travel itinerary. It is laid out until the end of the trail in the hopes that I will make it that far. One thing to keep in mind is that the dates are not firm, and do not take town stops into account. They also are for ideal number of miles I should accomplish in a day to finish somwhat close to the 6 month mark. Sorry if the font is small or runs off your page.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Clean car!!

It was absolutely gorgeous out today. I washed the car and gave it a wax. I think it was a little too hot, and I may have cooked the wax to the sunny side of the car. I think after cooking it on, it then melted a little as it was had to get off and didn't dust off like usual. It mostly smeared around. I wasn't able to clean the inside of the car because it still has a futon mattress in the back seat. I will have to vacuum it out later. So now I am trying to get lots of liquid inside as I got a little dry out there under the sun. I had to put the car back on the street to leave the driveway for my father. The car was covered in dust earlier from the dirt left on the road by the construction people. So I guess I was covered in dust the instant I put it back on the road. Oh well, what can you do.

After that my parents came back with stuff for the garden. The garden, at this moment, happens to be so overrun with grass, that it looks almost like the lawn. Only more bumpy. So then we began the immense task of digging up the top layer of grass and roots to get to the garden. The sun was very hot and the skeeters where out in full force. I got bit a few times. And now I really need to camel up on water.

I finally had a chance to take to the lady who may be my hiking partner. She has very little camping experience, but then many of the people who start their thru-hike also have little to no experience. She seems nice, and really wants to do this. I am not sure her motives for doing it are valid though. I don't think the trail should be a last resort weight loss program. I am sure it will work but I think that diet modification is better. You have to change how you eat otherwise, any weight loss will only be followed by more weight gain since you are still eating the same as before. Using the trail may also be bad at diet modification because you are encouraged to snack constantly on the trail to keep up energy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Home again

I made it home in one piece, but I have decided that if I am ever moving to a foreign country again, I will buy what I need to live there then sell it all off when I leave. I have not had a terrible time at the border but enough headaches that I don't want to have to deal with them again. I finally got the title to the car and when I came back from the states I stopped at the American customs to had over my get-into-the-States-hassle-free card and they asked me what I was doing with the car. That was when I found out you have to export a car before you can even think about importing it into another country. That was fun. Especially when I guy said he was unsure he could except a duplicate title. At that point, he had better except it, I wasn't impressed. Why allow duplicate titles to be issued if they can't be used? Then the Canadian border had it own questions. Like what is that strapped to the roof of your car and why isn't it declared as an item to follow. Then he wanted to know why the car wan't also listed as a to follow. It was but in a strange way so he didn't see it. So, to wrap up the story a little, I have to go back to the American border in 72 hours and finish the export process, then hit the Canadian border to start the importation process. I think I will scream if there are any fees and other hidden things they "forgot" to tell me.

On a good note, I did manage to sell another paddle. Only 2 left to sell. And I did get the coveted futon. Thankfully I accidentally left my roofrack on the car, so that made transporting it a breeze. I'm not sure how bug splattered it is though. I had nothing to cover it with. At least I managed to wedge the mattress into the back seat of the car. Good thing it had a fitted sheet on it, because I had to drag it down two flights of stairs by myself. The first floor neighbour gave me a helping hand to get it into the car. The mattress is still in the car, and will probably stay there until my brother can come get it. Hopefully this weekend.