The next morning, we got some trail magic and a ride to the trailhead from one of Buckeye's friends, then hiked out singing the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." (No. 3 on the countdown.) Again. Because of course we did.
We weren't feeling particularly ambitious that day, however, and so only went an easy 11.8 miles to the Gentian Pond Shelter. Katahdin—and the end of the trail, and all that other unpleasantness involved with our inevitable return to "real life"—loomed just 286.1 miles away, after all. We fully intended to savor every single step. Besides, I figured I had roughly twenty days to finish, which dictated a relatively relaxed pace of only fourteen miles a day. I wasn't in a hurry. And I constantly lobbied my friends to
Unfortunately—and as usual—events conspired to put me in a particularly nasty mood upon our arrival at Gentian Pond. Maybe it was because we'd run into Sativa James and Loud Mouth in town the day before. (They had yellow blazed again, and seemed hell-bent on catching up with us. Why? I felt like I had made it perfectly clear, in my typically passive-agressive way, that I hated their guts and wanted them to die. Was it just to torture me?) Or maybe it was because there was an ornery south-bounder already occupying the shelter.
Feeling thusly apocalyptic, I wrote two registry entries, one at night:
Nice trail magic back at the water source! I know I was just in town for 3 days drinking Magic Hat and chilling by the pool, but I really needed some soda today to help me keep going. Plus I know there's nobody behind me and fuck SOBOs, so I took seven!! And if you come along tomorrow and there aren't any, that means I finished them. Ha ha!! Fuck you.(All of which was purely fiction and meant as a joke.)
PS. It was Dr. Pepper, Mug Root Beer, and Orange Crush. HA HA HA HA HA!!!
And the other the next morning, after I had courageously endured the south-bounder's rather peculiar early-morning rituals:
Dear SOBOs,Good stuff! Three weeks left on the trail, and I was having so much fun... I wished it would never end.
I love you, but you're never going to make it. Not because you're bad hikers, or you have the wrong equipment, but because you're all so infuriatingly annoying, waking up at 4 AM to fuck your water bottles (that's what it sounded like), talking in normal voices when people are sleeping, smoking in the shelter, blasting death metal on your iPod, and just generally acting like discourteous dick-holes, some tired NOBO at the end of his rope is going to murder you. Just a fair warning. I want you to be safe!