Hiking the Appalachian Trail #2

Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin

Thru-hike #6

103 days, 2,100 miles, May-Jul, 2009

Ray Jardine

Ray's AT-2009 page 2 of 4


Jenny: Ray is in Maine, on the Appalachian Trail. He's still having fun, despite all the rain and the muddy trail. Here is an excerpt from his journal from a couple days ago:

Today was "The Adventures of Plain Ol' Ray."

I had stayed overnight at a hostel in town. When I woke up I was quite hungry so I ate some cereal with fresh milk. In fact, I ate the contents of the whole box along with the whole quart of milk. And for dessert - breakfast dessert, that is - I ate a pint of ice cream. This is a typical example of thru-hikers' appetites, and their extreme need for calories.

The hiking was nice today, in fact all afternoon I kept seeing good camping spots. Of course, I wasn't ready to stop and make camp yet. Much later, in the evening, I was just hiking along, it was almost dark, when all of a sudden something's charging at me. It looked like a horse and the front legs were up in the air and coming at me. It was a moose! And he knocked me right over into the mud. Of course, that patch of mud was the only one around, and of course, I landed right in it.

I was so mad at that moose for knocking me over in the mud. I yelled at him, "You doggone moose! Don't knock hikers over into the mud!" Actually, he didn't physically knock me down. But I saw him charging so I stepped back really quick and slipped and fell in the mud. Then I really let that moose have it! "You doggone moose!" The moose just moseyed off into the woods, as I berated him.

A ways further I came to a nice creek where I was able to wash the mud off.

Tarp full of trees, from the story "The Adventures of Plain Ol' Ray." I never would have guessed this would make such a comfortable campsite.

By then it was quite dark and the clouds were getting ready to dump again, so I hurried on, looking for one of those nice camp sites. The rain was just starting to fall and I decided I needed to stop and make camp, pronto.

The trial was beginning a long ascent, and the sky was rumbling of thunder. It did not look too safe up there.

So I made a hard right turn and thrashed into the bushes. It was the most unlikely spot to set up the tarp and Spitfire, with bushes and saplings everywhere. I pulled out the tarp, tied the ridgeline to a couple trees, tied two of the corner guys to some trees - covering several saplings in the process - then tossed in my pack and dove under just as the clouds let loose.

From underneath the tarp I finished pitching, out of the rain. It took me 15 minutes to preen the impromptu site of small sticks and branches. I cleared away the sticks from a narrow strip, just wide enough to set up the Spitfire and lay down inside. There was no way a tent would have worked here because of all the saplings and bushes surrounding me.

And now I am snug and comfortable inside the Spitfire, sharing the space with some small evergreens. I never would have guessed this would make such a comfortable campsite.

Hi Ray, Thank you for posting a sampling of your AT adventure! I'm fascinated by your adventures and thoroughly enjoy reading about them. I realize you recently wrote a book but any plans to write one about your recent thru hike? Great stuff!" Ron F.

The story has 4 pages. This is page 2.
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