8/6-8/10 Stratton, ME to Pierce Pond Leanto (33 miles)
We did our last major climbs before the 100 mile wilderness. They were tough, but we were treated to some truly awesome views.
The weather continued to be very dry, with all but the large rivers dry. This has meant that we have had to be a little more strategic about where we camp.
Stitch’s friend joined us for the last two days here, luckily after we had finished our big climbs. She did a good job keeping up with us, even though we started doing bigger miles.
Maine has had some very large ponds that often seen more like lakes than they do like ponds. They were mostly a great temperature for swimming so I took advantage of them.
Today we crossed the Kennebec River by ferry. We got there a little before it opened and there was already a line of 6 hikers waiting for the ferry. The water level of the river was very low (probably 3 feet at its deepest) due to the dry weather. The ferry operator said the river had dropped about 1 ft in the last week.
On the other side of the river we found a hostel that served burgers and milkshakes. We didn’t want to pass up that opportunity, so we stopped in. The waiting for the ferry, coupled with the burger stop, put us well behind schedule.
There was a reasonably big climb in the afternoon, but there weren’t many good views since the river was below 500 feet.
Overall Maine has definitely flattened out. Many of the stream beds are dry, and all of the rivers that often need to be forded are so low they can easily be crossed without getting our feet wet.
8/11 Moxie Pond to Horseshoe Canyon lean to (16 miles)
Last night was a terrible temperature. It was too hot in my sleeping bag and too cold out of it, along with high humidity. That made it tough for us to sleep well.
We had a steep climb early in the morning, but other than that it was very flat today walking along rivers and streams. This made the miles fly by and was a good reminder about how fast we can go.
8/11 Horseshoe Cayon to Monson, ME (9 miles)
We had a short hike into town, but it started drizzling on us. Thankfully it wasn’t too bad and we managed to stay mostly dry before we got picked up by the hostel.
Since I have already done the 100 mile wilderness (the last 114 miles of trail with very limited road access) I have now hiked the entire trail. It was a very weird feeling knowing that, particularly because I still had a week of hiking left. I suspect it will take awhile for it all to sink in, even when I complete my thruhike.
After shower and doing laundry we went to the BBQ restaurant (one of two restaurants in town). It was amazing. This is definitely a place that doesn’t have a lot going on in the summer outside of tourism, particularly from the AT. It really started raining in the afternoon, so the hostel really filled up. I felt lucky that we are going to be inside for the rain for the next two nights.
8/13 Zero in Monson, ME
We had a very lazy zero today. It was raining on and off all day so we hung out at the hostel.
We decided not to to a food drop in the 100 mile wilderness, so will be carrying 7 days of food. This is the most that I have carried yet, but hopefully it won’t be too bad.