US 201(2038.0) to Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to(2056.8) 18.8 Miles
No ifs, ands, or buts about it, today felt like work. I think it's because now I'm on a time schedule. Yesterday my plane ticket was bought. I'm locked into a finish date now. I haven't left myself with a lot of wiggle room in my plans. I'm still not revealing my end date, I thought it would be fun to have everyone guess. Whoever comes closest to the end date and summit time will receive a prize. Email me or post your answer as a comment to this post. Sorry, General, Hannibal, Alie, and Kyle, you guys are automatically disqualified from the contest since you already know the end date.
I was up way too late last night and I didn't sleep very well. One of the guys in the bunkroom with me was snoring really badly. I dugout my earplugs, but that barely helped. I was up and ready to go by seven, but I had to wait until everyone else was done eating before getting a ride back to the trail. Breakfast was included, but it was a pretty poor selection. I had a bowl of cereal and a blueberry muffin. I have been forcing myself to eat lately. I'm hungry, but I'm also tired of eating all of the time. It's like my stomach says, "feed me", but my brain says, "ugh not again".
I was back on the trail and hiking north, by 8:15. Today wasn't nearly as easy as yesterday. I actually had two mountains to climb. After such a big and fast day yesterday, my legs didn't have much umph today. Everything started off great. The trail was a nice and gentle up from town. Usually leaving town means a big climb, but today was nice. I banged out the first 5.7 miles in less than two hours. I stopped at a parking area to have my second breakfast with the hopes of getting some trail magic. Well that didn't happen.
After the parking area the trail went straight up Pleasant Pond Mountain. It wasn't very pleasant. It was very rocky and rooty to start off with and then the trail had a reroute. The rerouted section was pretty sketchy, the trail was already badly eroded. I felt like I was going to slide off of the mountain. I did, however, get the satisfaction of blowing past two groups of day hikers. I love it when I go flying past day hikers with no packs on. It makes me feel like Wonder Woman.
The view from the top wasn't much. I think I'm so incredibly jaded about views at this point in my hike.
The climb down the mountain didn't look too difficult on paper, but my knees disagreed. As I was nearing the bottom I met, Quixote and Halfway, they thru-hiked in '96. We talked briefly and as they were walking away they told me they had left trail magic down at the road crossing. Well, that definitely put a pep in my step.
The cooler had beer, chips, blueberry nut bread, herseys chocolate bars, and roast beef sandwiches with horseradish(my favorite kind of sandwich). I skipped the beer, but enjoyed everything else.
I seriously considered taking a nap at this point. I was pretty spent and still had over seven miles to hike, including one more mountain to climb. Today was really hot and humid. I was drinking a ton of water, but I still felt dehydrated. I did the only thing I know how to do at this point, I put my pack back on and kept walking. I immediately had to ford, Moxie Pond. It's been so dry lately, that all of the fords have been easy. Moxie Pond was no different. I was able to rock hop across without having to change into my sandals.
After making my way past Moxie Pond, the trail leveled out for awhile and I made great time. I passed by a really cool looking cave. At first I thought it was a shelter. I explored the area for a few minutes and then continued on.
I had one more mountain to climb before I could call it a day. I struggled up, Moxie Bald Mountain, but at least the view was worthwhile. I also got cell service, so that was an added benefit.
The top of the mountain isn't above treeline, but because of a forest fire several years ago there weren't any trees blocking the view.
The summit was also covered in blueberries, so I took an extended break eating my fill. The climb down to Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to was easier than expected. My knees hardly protested at all. I got to the lean-to well before dark. Bald Mountain Pond was right next to the shelter and I found a great place to set up my hammock right next to the waters edge. I soaked my feet, rinsed the dirt off of my legs, and cooked dinner. I found a rock next to the water to sit on and I listened to a moose calling out while I ate. As I was finishing up my dinner a beaver swam by and I was able to get a picture this time.
Tomorrow should be a pretty easy hike into, Monson, my last town stop before, Katahdin. I've enjoyed being in town every other night this week. I've also lucked out on my camp spots the last two nights. I have an actual river to ford tomorrow afternoon. This time there is no canoe to take me across. The water is supposedly knee deep going across the Piscataquis River. I'm excited to finally have a real river ford.
"I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I'm going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice." -Mike Ericksen