So the knee is pretty bad. I mean, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist or anything, but it is almost a little alarmingly bad.
It is swelled up like a cantaloupe. I can bend it, but putting any weight on it at all causes some really searing pain. I expected to be stiff and sore, but this is ridiculous.
It didn’t keep me from sleeping well, though. It was a beautiful night — clear and cool enough to be almost chilly (so whose long underwear are silly now?), and I fell asleep listening to loons wailing and hooting in the dark. It was fantastic.
Anyway…. I guess the only thing I can do for my knee right now is rest it. That means another Zero. This will throw my ETA in Monson off by two days at least…which isn’t the worst thing, and not all that unexpected, really. I planned out a very tentative itinerary for this part of the trip, knowing full well that I could be off by a few days for any number of reasons. Hiking “according to plan” was never the plan; I’m okay with that. But without cell service, there’s no way to let Chelle know that I’ve fallen further behind again, and that weighs on my mind.
Before I left, we discussed the fact that there would be little or no cell service and the possibility of my being delayed for various reasons, and I know she won’t start to worry unless I’m overdue by three days. I was able to get a text out to her a few days ago and so she knew I was going to be at least a day behind at that point…but I don’t know how far behind I’m going to be now.
Honestly, having no cell service hasn’t bothered me; I haven’t missed it at all. For as much as I’m connected to this thing, I had figured I’d probably go into some mouth-foaming fits of withdrawal without cell service, but I really haven’t noticed or cared.
Except for not being able to get word to Chelle or Jessica.
Rationally, I know that they know exactly what I told them: it could be several days without phone service, and I could possibly be days behind my schedule…and I’m sure they’re not worried one little bit. But I find myself in the curious position of worrying more about not being able to be in touch with them to let them know that they shouldn’t worry, even though I was the one telling them not to expect to hear from me. It’s kind of a weird and confusing feeling I wasn’t anticipating. I have to think about this.
Or not think about it. Thinking and worrying about something I can’t change won’t help the situation. It is what it is.
Five days on the trail, and two of them are Zeros — that’s got to be some kind of record.
This is a beautiful site, on the south shore of Rainbow Lake. The lake is pretty big — long and narrow — and beautifully clear. There are huge boulders at the shoreline and the bottom is rocky; you can tell this must be a fisherman’s paradise. I haven’t seen a soul, but earlier this morning I heard a seaplane land and then take off again. I’m sure this must be Katahdin Air Service; I know they run a fly-in service for fishermen out of Millinocket.
Unfortunately, the campsite itself is a little trashed. People have left a lot of trash around. There are cans and even a couple of beer bottles in the fire pit, and around the site I’ve found a bizarre assortment of discarded junk: broken trekking poles, two shirts, a big ass Buck knife, a tent stuff sack, a freaking clothes hanger (I mean, seriously?), a cooking pot, a pair of sunglasses, and a huge signal flare. Oh, and bags of trash left in the privy. Unbelievable. Pristine beauty all around, and people just leave their trash and unwanted junk as if the weekly trash service is going to come clean it up. It’s really kind of a buzz-kill, you know what I mean?
(Sadly, I was also picking up protein bar wrappers…AHEM!…every couple of miles during my hike here yesterday. If and when I ever catch up to Scotty, that boy is going to be carrying my trash for a while!)
I spent most of the day in my tent, just laying down and resting my knee the best I can. I dozed off and on, and heard voices of some hikers down on the trail as they passed by during the day. I heard the seaplane again a couple times, but I didn’t see a soul. Nobody has stopped here tonight, and once again I have the place to myself. It was a dry, sunny, beautiful day and I wish I could have been hiking, but I was glad to be here in this beautiful spot.
Late in the day I hobbled down to the shore to get some water, and idly noticed some large rocks along the path had been turned up out of the ground…. Oh, that’s what bears do when they’re looking for grubs, I thought. Oh — that’s what bears do, I repeated to myself. Now, I honestly can’t say if those rocks (hell, they were small boulders!) had been overturned yesterday or not; I’d honestly been too self-absorbed in my own self pity to notice, but I noticed them now. And no, I wasn’t afraid. I Just thought it was sad (okay, yeah and maybe a little creepy) that there was a bear that was probably watching me instead of the other way around.
(For the record, I’m not really trying to sound as though I’m cavalier about bears; I’m not. I know full well that bad things really can happen — a friend of my brother’s was terribly mauled many years ago, and that has stayed in my mind. But I’m also trying to remember that it is extremely rare, and I can’t let fear hike with me.)
It is only four [blessedly level] miles to the next shelter at Rainbow Stream. I’m going to hike there tomorrow — a nice short day (a “Nero”, for all you hiker-nerds out there) and a chance to get at least some mileage in and avoid falling too far behind my schedule to Monson. I hope after resting my knee today and just hiking four easy miles tomorrow, it will be a little better.