July 16, 1998

7/16/98 "Atwell Hilton"

19.7 miles (1755.9 total)

Those Europeans sure get up early. They were up and cooking breakfast by 6am. But it was OK, they offered me tea, crackers, and preserves. Last night, Lea said she would rather use the woods than the privy. So this morning I told her I’d judge the privy. Well, it tilted left and backward (a lot, I guess) but it had a captains chair with a hole in the seat which was a nice touch. I didn’t see any reason not to use it.

Kind of an overcast morning. Hard to tell what kind of day it was going to be. I already knew I was going to do the 19.7 miles to Dizzy B’s and the Atwell Hilton but I was in denial. Within an hour, I came to Ghandi’s campsite. He wanted to do the same as I but he wasn’t sure he’d do it by himself. So we teamed up for the day.

The overcast skys kept the temperatures cool which helped in the climb up Smarts Mountain. I really didn’t look forward to the 2000’ climb, especially the steep summit section. Met Fuzzy, Wuzzy, and Medusa at the fire tower on top. These 3 very young girls had hiked all the way from Katahdin. It gave me a little more confidence in my ability to do it. The shelter was a disaster and the water such a scummy puddle, we opted to wait till later for water. The descent was long, over 4 miles.

Stopped at South Jacobs Brook for a refreshing lunch break. Ghandi and I soaked our feet while I ate way too much GORP. Cool bridge but you have to be real skinny to fit through the uprights.

Soaked our feet and just relaxed

By now, the sun is beaming down on us. With all the winter storm damage, shade is sometimes hard to find. I knew we had another climb but after an hour thought we were close to the top when I saw the peak a lot higher than expected. "Fuck" I said. Ghandi’s reply "It’s great to be walking with you again. I miss your comments". The sun just kept getting hotter. At one point, I drank so much, Ghandi tried to remind me to breathe.

Hexacuba has to be one of the biggest one-story shelters on the trail. Really a unique design. The Penta-Privy might have been good too but it was such a "shit-hole".

Hexacuba shelter is one of the more unique shelters

Ended up, finally, after a long day, at Atwell Hill Road. Just as advertised, Dizzy B left jugs of water by the trail. The Atwell Hilton is a house, once used by the DOC as a maintenance headquarters, now condemned by the NFS, so everyone tents in the yard. After dinner, right on queue, Dizzy B pulls up in her pickup truck, drops the tailgate and starts handing out beers.

Most of the other hikers had one beer and then went to bed. But Dizzy B kept Ghandi and I with a beer in our hands at all times. We ended up moving into the house and talked and drank till 10:30pm. Because we could hear thunder we decided to take down the tents and sleep in the house. Had carpeting, window screens and a 2nd floor fire place.