After finishing Old Speck with Rock Monkey, I had a good amount of time to kill while I waited for my ride. Fortunately the famed “Soda Mike” was there, and offered me a cold root beer and some crackers with peanut butter. Apparently he typically reserves his trail magic for thru-hikers, but will occasionally extend his generosity to section hikers, and I was very grateful, there’s nothing like something sweet and cold after a week in the woods.

My ride finally showed up (30 mins late) and took me back to my car so I could drive myself up to my parents’ vacation rental in Rangeley. After walking with all of your things, it’s unbelievable to think about how terrifically efficient an internal combustion engine is, and how little energy (of mine) it requires to move! Naturally, being starving for hot, awful food, I diverted from my usually wholesome diet of whole foods/fresh foods and stopped at Burger King for a hippie puck, fries, and a coke. I also stopped at the grocery store for a case of beer, and wholly committed myself to going to town on a pizza that evening.

Even though I had swam in a pond the day before, I was incapable of refraining from immediately diving into the lake, and running to the shower. We often take bathing for granted, and while there was nothing particularly uncomfortable about going without for a week, it is awkward to smell your own funk, and the luxury of a swim and a shower is very humanizing.

Throughout my week in Rangeley, I spent a lot of time trail running, which put me within access of thru-hikers, especially since the southbound bubble was fundamentally passing through town, and the northbounders were arriving as well. Having gained a new respect for the individuals who undertake this adventure, I tried my best to offer rides to whoever I had the time to shuttle. I also met up with Kites and Cakes, helping them get into town for a night, and sharing a cone of ice cream, as well as Rock Monkey for a breakfast, and lift back to the trail. All in all, good times were had


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