August 19, 2000

Piazza Rock Lean-To, ME 15 Miles Hiked Today 1949 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

Mooselook Maguntic It was different hiking alone again.  I noticed how noisy my pack straps were/seem with out having competing noise from another hiker. I also got a lot more hiking done (15 miles in only 6 hiking hours). I also thought more and was more willing to talk to others.

Crazy as it may seem, the leaves are starting to change. On the way to the trail this morning, Joanne, co-owner of the hiker B&B, was pointing out how some branches are changing and how some whole trees are going from deep green to yellow green. At this shelter, we have some red maple starting to turn. By the time I finish in three weeks I should be seeing some good fall color. That will mean that I will have hiked at least a little of all four seasons. Yes!

SnakesI met up with some hikers Rob and I passed earlier this week. It turns out there are 15 of them who through this AT planner guy, have done the whole trail together. Before they left they agreed to a predetermined schedule and signed off on it. They have not wavered the whole time. On the positive side, they are a close - knit group and have had no squabbles, are doing the hike cheaply, will probably be friends for life, and have not skipped any of the trail (something I won't even be able to claim). However, they have had only one zero day, never change plans to suit the weather, moods, etc. meet fewer new people, and are supported by a van. In observing them, they seem happy and get along great, but I couldn't stand to do the trail that way. I need room to experiment, to go with the flow, be my own boss. I wonder how many of them, though, would be able to do the hike that way? So far, of the original 17, only two have dropped out. Of course, it is easier when you're only carrying a day pack. Whatever...

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