My hike to Grindle Ridge today was intense. But let’s start with last night. I thought I heard critters on and off all night. That is, critters in/near my shelter. I hadn’t left any food out, but I do know mice are often in shelters. UGH. And I worried about raccoons and other creatures.
I think I mostly was hearing the wind blowing and rain falling from leaves and my rain fly blowing. But it will still unnerving. At one point, I swear I felt a mouse running under the tent.
Eventually, I slept. And I let myself sleep in a bit. After all, my fellow hikers all told me that I had just 2 more hellacious miles (3.2 km) uphill, and then the trail flattened out as it bumbled along the ridge.
Before breaking camp, one fellow hiker, Amy Noble from New Jersey, said she’d just read my book! What a coincidence.
Heading to Grindle Ridge
So this morning, after a really steep mile/kilometer or two, the trail did, indeed, flatten out. But only for a while. It kept going downhill to small creeks and then back up. And while these hills weren’t as bad as those first few miles, they were still steep. There are also rocks and roots everywhere here, so you just can’t move quickly.
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So many people rave about this trail, and I really want to love it. But I can’t quite get there due to its toughness. Maybe I’m finding it extra difficult because I’ve just hiked more than 550 miles (885 km) and only took one day off. And I’m older. And I’ve got a heavy pack. But I think this trail is just hard.
I met one SOBO hiker around mile 19 or 20. He told me the next 9 miles (14.5 km) or so the trail was pretty flat. Now, I’d just climbed a gargantuan hill and was really annoyed, so I wasn’t sure whether or not to believe him. So many people keep telling me this trail is easy! But he was correct.
Thankfully, with flatter terrain I enjoyed the last hour or two of hiking. But then it came time to set up camp and I ran into trouble. I had a reservation at the Grindle Shelter, which was supposedly at mile 24. But there were so signs for the shelter area at, before or after mile 24.
To make a long story short, I had family members try Googling the trail map to see where this shelter actually is. I had bad cell service and couldn’t find a good map. They couldn’t, either, and night was falling. So I called 911 to see if they knew.
Turns out Grindle Ridge is at mile 24.5, not 24. I’d never quite hiked far enough ahead to spot the sign. But how would I know to go ahead that far? Last night, they’d nailed the camp at mile 6.3
Now, last night they correctly said my campsite was at mile 6.3. How do they suddenly get 24 for 24.5?
Anyway, I made it just before dark. I hope I don’t hear or feel mice tonight!
Today’s Miles: 17.7 (28.5 km)
PHT Miles to Date: 735.1 (1,183 km)
PHT Miles to Go: =14.9 (24 km)