Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chapter 128: Lake of the Clouds

Journal entry, August 1st:
Unfinished business: My bout of near terminal-laziness at the Eliza Brook Shelter paid off. Veggie didn't catch up to me, like I thought she might, but Buckeye and Twizzler did. Glad to have their company.

South Kinsman was awesome. Most fun I've had since Albert Mountain in North Carolina. Just one long rock scramble, forcing you to put your feet in creative positions to get the proper leverage and all sorts of other weird stuff. I was so happy, I was even nice to the southbounders.

Stayed in a hostel called Chet's Place in Lincoln on the 28th.
I went out for $1 pizza slices and unlimited salad bar with Buckeye and a random SOBO girl that night. My body wasn't used to so much roughage. Leafy green vegetables. I had a giant leafy green shit the next morning.

Speaking of giant leafy green shits, Sativa James yellow blazed around the Kinsmans and caught up with us in Lincoln. He brought an even more insufferable friend with him, Loud Mouth.

Loud Mouth wore a kilt and the perpetual smirk of a pederast on the loose at Disney World. I remember our first conversation well. I wish I didn't. Loud Mouth had accosted me while I was waiting in line at the post office.

"What's your trail name?" he had asked.

"Major Chafage."

"What?" He didn't seem to get it. "Major what? Chafe?"


Still nothing.

"I think your trail name should be Keebler Elf," he asserted confidently. "Can I call you Keebler?"

"No," I sighed, wishing he would go away.

"How'd you get that name, anyway?"

"I gave it to myself."

"That's stupid. Trail names have to be given! You can't name yourself. I think your trail name should be Keebler."

"No. It's Major Chafage, or M.C. for short. It's been that way for eighteen hundred miles. I think I've earned the right to be called what I want."

"Whatever. People who name themselves are douchebags."


Needless to say, I really hated Loud Mouth.
On the 29th, I hiked over Lafayette and stayed at the Galehead Hut with Buckeye and Twizzler.
I had to wash every window in the place for my work-for-stay. Which was okay. The Hut itself was very cool. It was quiet, not at all crowded, relaxing. We played Trivial Pursuit that night with an apparently brain-dead SOBO. I don't think he got a single question right.

Also, Mt. Garfield totally kicked my ass. Hard. It was all steep, rocky ups and downs. Nothing made sense. At some point the trail inexplicably turned into a waterfall. I may have cried.
On the 30th of July, we hit the Ethan Pond Campsite, which was full of camp groups and one cotton-clad, super-annoying overnighter. Then, last, er, yesterday, we (myself, Buckeye and Twizzler) hiked the Presidentials up to the Lake of the Clouds.

Yesterday, I a) stepped in mud up to my mid-shin, b) broke a boot lace, c) fell over, d) fell over again, this time ripping a gaping hole in my pans and bloodying my knee
Which happened right in front of Buckeye and some day hikers. Buckeye didn't bother to stop to see if I was all right. No, he laughed and then took pictures, because that's what good friends are for. And the day hikers? They callously ignored my plight. None of them even offered me a bandaid, let alone Gatorade or soda. Bastards.
and e) something I may be forgetting. Oh yeah, I ate too much food, then "dumpster dived" for some juice some paying guests had left half-drunk on a table, only to find out too late that they had some vile alcohol in them. Spent the next... a long time afterwards just lying there in agony. Working for stay here was easy, though.
And the view of the sunset. Amazing. Breathtaking. Utterly [enter the superlative of your choice here]. Words don't do it justice.
The hiking? Meh. I can't say I find it very invigorating, what with the difficult terrain, the abundance of annoying day hikers, and my damning propensity for self-destruction. The views are nice, but not better than they were from Moosilauke or South Kinsman or Garfield, far less trafficked summits.

I keep wanting to write down my thoughts about a story idea I have, not to mention my frequent daydreams about Katahdin, Megan, and what-happens-after. That last part is both exciting, dreadful, and annoying. So are the daily reminders of how close we, I, am/are from finishing.

I miss Bandito, Caveman and the girls. Bandito would pick me up after I'd fallen. Caveman would, no, he'd just laugh about it, too. The girls would commiserate. But they would all pull for me, because we're all striving for the same goal in the end, and we can all appreciate the effort, pain, whatever it took to get us this far. Maybe I just miss my friends.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I work in the editorial department at Stackpole Books, a midsize publisher of outdoor and other nonfiction books. We're interested in using a couple of excerpts from your blog in a book of AT stories we're putting together--could you please email me when you see this comment? I'd love to tell you more about the project and see if you're interested.


    Kathryn Fulton
    Editorial Assistant
    Stackpole Books