Laying snug in my hammock, I hear the sounds of the night all around. The beatles crawling through the leaves. The owl hooting. The creek of Sawyer Notch runs near by. It always takes a while for me to settle down to the sounds of the night. My mind plays games on me as acorns fall from the trees and bugs dance on my tarp.
I am alone. Those I camped with last night at Baldplate shelter chose to call it short angle for into Andover ME via the southern route. I'm choosing the northern as I have an extra day food supply. In the morning I've got a 1200 foot climb in a distance of less then a mile and two miles of easy down hill. If the up is like Carter Notch, I'll get treated with stone steps in sections and quick treadway in others.
The climb over Baldplate Mountain this morning included sections of scrambling on exposed granite slabs meeting with spectacular views. Down the northern side once I hit tree line, is another story of expletives. Chutes of lengths I don't like and they were wet. The hope I had was to cling to the side trees. Occasionally a ladder would appear, often on the other side of the trail.
Once clear of Baldplate, I made fast time and took long breaks. A few to many breaks however, I find taking breaks with others is rewarding. People make the trail what it's become, the outdoor aspect is another. So I didn't make my destination today. I did break the 15 mile barrier I haven't seen in two weeks. I feel good laying here alone this evening.