July 20. Another cold night in my fleece sleeping bag liner, but another night closer to being done and back in a warm bed! I was up again at 3 AM putting on all of my clothes to keep warm, still didn't get out the emergency blanket, but probably could have. At 4 AM I heard JD start moving in his tent, then the sound of a soda can opening! JD and brought a Coke from his wife to drink this morning. He was up early and ready to go and he left camp around 5:15 AM. He woke Rafiki and I up as he left and we got our gear together and headed out around 5:45. It was pretty impressive that we all got up and moving so early after a long 40 mile day yesterday, but we had places to be today as well...we still had a 33 mile day to do in order to make it to the Birches. Straight out of the lean-to we had a 1,000 foot climb up Nesuntabunt Mountain and it was a slow go. Once at the top though there was a direct view of Katahdin and again, it was amazing to be looking up at the mountain we would summit tomorrow, 36 miles away! When Rafiki walked up to the lookout he said he had joined the face plant club and this morning he took a pretty hard fall coming up the mountain. At this point we were all pretty beat up...I had scratches and bruises all over my legs, my feet were in tough shape, and I was really sore! We were all looking forward to some time to recoup! Rafiki and I caught up with JD at the next shelter, the Rainbow Stream Lean-To. We were all dragging, tired from 76 miles in two days!
We took a break here, in the guide book each shelter lists the distance from the shelter to the upcoming 3 shelters. Typically something like 9 Mi, 21, Mi, and 29 Mi. It just gives us an idea of what is ahead. The Rainbow Stream Lean-To list reads: 11.5 - 24.9 - 0.0. Zero point zero!
We were running out of shelters!!! The 24.9 shelter was The Birches where we would stay tonight, but after that there were no more shelters...the trail would be done! We got excited as we ticked off the shelters throughout the day and at The Birches the numbers read (0.0 - 0.0 - 0.0)...awesome! The trail was mostly flat, but still dealing with bogs, rocks, and roots, took a toll. We made it to the Rainbow Ledges and had another great view of Katahdin, 21 miles away.