So on Day 2, around lunchtime I arrived at Gooch Gap Shelter to take a short break. The guys I met there, and have come to now be hiking with, arrived to Gooch Gap around the same time. Shortly after, an older woman came from one of the camping spots and asked if one of us could help her get her pack on. First, that’s never a good sign…but Pumpkin Spice graciously went over to help. Few minutes later both of them appeared and Pumpkin Spice offered to do a quick shakedown because her pack was so dang heavy.
Pumpkin Spice took out heavy object after heavy object, even a broken uv pen for water filtering she’d be holding onto. So we gathered her broken things and heavy objects to send home and bless Pumpkin Spice’s heart, he offered to pack it out and send it home to her.
Pathfinder, as we later learned her self proclaimed trail name, said she’d been out on the trail already for almost one week (it was our 2nd day at that same location) so we started to realize her pack was clearly making her trip difficult. She let us know she planned to move towards Woody Gap that night which we were surprised to hear since that was our original plan too.
Pathfinder left the shelter and we discussed how we should follow her to make sure she made it (she was also running low on food since she’d been out for so long). So we headed out and quickly caught up to her. Her pace was a little slower than ours so myself and another went ahead to try and spot a campsite in between Gooch nd Woody before the pending storm. Pumpkin Spice stayed behind with Pathfinder.
Later, since no rain had started we continued on to Woody Gap and hoped that Pumpkin Spice would help Pathfinder find her way at safe campsite and continue on his way and catch up to us.
It was close to the time of the storm and as I was walking back to our campsite, low and behold, Pumpkin Spice and Pathfinder appear and start walking towards me. Pumpkin Spice was carrying his pack, and now was carrying Pathfinder’s pack on his front side! That’s evidently how he’d been hiking for several miles in order to get her to Woody.
Those two set up camp in a separate area with another member of our group up on the cliff before the rain started.
Fast forward to this morning as we left for our sunrise hike, we asked the guy camping next to them how they faired during the storm, turns out, Pathfinder wanted to abandon ship at the start of the storm so Pumpkin Spice and Pathfinder packed up camp and headed down the road to a local bar or hostel to seek shelter.
So, our goal is now to find this seventy something woman who’s goal is to make it to Katadin, and see how she is doing. Pumpkin Spice, now officially Saint Pumpkin Spice, helped her on her way for a long time but we all must go on our own journeys. After hearing Pathfinder was found by our other friend essentially stuck in a turtle position (turtle that can’t roll over) on the trail because of her pack, I’d love to see her determined self make it to Maine…once she lightens her pack!
Our group will begin to communicate via shelter logs to try and find and support both Pathfinder and Saint Pumpkin Spice, we’d love to know how this legend in the making is doing!