I woke up needing to pee badly but it was still dark and after last night's experience with whatever that was outside my tent, I really did not want to get out. I decided I'd give Puddles advice to try. I pushed my sleeping pad and bag to the side and got on my knees and held open a gallon Ziplock beneath me with one hand in front and one hand behind. I had to muscle control my release slowly so it wouldn't splash. I was successful and pulled it forward to seal closed when I was done. Then I placed it outside my door in the vestibule to deal with later when I got up.
I decided to leave my beer rope hanging since I planned to slack pack that day. After eating breakfast with everyone at the shelter, I went back to my tent and made a slack pack out of my sleeping bag compression sack and with a few of my bandanas. I packed water, lunch, map, and my water filter to head up Stratton Mountain. It was a nice gentle switchbacking path through a dominating pine forest. I crossed a little bridge with a perfect swimming hole which I enjoyed on my way back.
On my way up, I came across the elderly caretakers who lived in the cabin at the top of the mountain and loved to chat. Ottis, a man I met at the Stratton Pond shelter the night before was there with them and we all shared stories for a while. Ottis and I made our way to the top. This is his second time doing the AT. He enjoyed it the first time but this second time he wasn't so sure he wanted to finish. He was very undecided. When we reached the peak, we read the plack stating how Stratton Mountain was the place of inspiration for the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail. It looked over many mountains, from Mount Greylock in Massachusetts to Mount Bromley in Vermont. It was truly breathtaking. Up in the fire tower, you could literally see for miles. I enjoyed the many colors and being able to finally see over the tops of the trees. But a large dark cloud was coming in and I didn't want to be caught on top of the mountain when it decided to let loose.
On my way down, Jean the inner keeper who lived in the little cabin at the top of the mountain caught me up in another conversation. I ended up telling her about my experience the night before and she told me about a woman who had her period and was attacked by a group of coyotes, but that wasn't around there. She also told me about how a bear broke down her front door after making curry one night. Her stories left me feeling very uneasy as I hiked back down the mountain on my own. I was still bleeding and began to wonder if that might be why out of all the tents to pick from, the animal that tried to get into my tent last night came to me rather than someone else. I had researched before leaving if bears and other animals would be attracted to menstrual blood but everything said no. Now I wasn't so sure how accurate that was.
I was quite nervous my entire trip back but when I finally made it there, I took the time to catch up on my journal while sitting by the pond. The forecast showed down pouring rain coming in the evening and lasting throughout the entire next day. I decided it was time to face another fear. I packed up my tent and set up a spot within the shelter near the door so I'd be able to go out to pee at night as well as make a quick escape if need be.
That night I meant Bee's Knees and her boyfriend Princess. They were hiking the AT together. Last year Bee's Knees had injured her knees and had to stop, but she was back this year and determined to finish and brought along her boyfriend Princess who she gave him that trail name because he liked to look nice each day and took forever getting ready. We chatted for a while and I shared my many adventure stories with them. They said if I hadn't already been given a trail name they would definitely call me Lucky. And sure enough, as we jinxed it, later that night while cooking I leaned over my pot and melted a whole into my shirt. The Dri-Fit material was quick to catch and without a bra on underneath, I couldn't exactly just take it off with all those people standing around. So there was a lot of laughing and blowing and holding the shirt out until it cooled off. From that point on, they all decided to call me Lucky Faith but I'm still going by Faith for short.
As a trauma survivor I have learned to move forward in my life and heal from my past by exploring many passions such as spirituality, art, travel & herbalism. I hope my blog can help inspire healing in others and let them know they are not alone on their journey.