Pierce Pond (2034.6) to Bald Mountain Brook (2053.2)
With a lot of people at the campsite in the morning there was a little bit of a rush to make it to the Kennebec River. It’s a sometimes deep, sometimes fast flowing river that requires the use of a hiker only ferry to cross. It only operates between 9am and 2pm. Outside of those hours it’s a swim or a $50 call out fee.
Thumper and I made good time on the several miles from camp to the rivers edge. Two other hikers were waiting ahead of us. We were an hour early. Many more hikers arrived over the next hour.
As I sat waiting I noted that I still had a slight lump in my throat and a bit of tender swelling of my glands. I’m still feeling strong so hopefully it’s nothing to worry about.
The hiker ferry was not what I expected. Nothing more than a canoe ride across the river. I was made to sign a waiver form for such a treacherous journey, wear a life jacket and conform to rules which included but was not limited to the correct way to load the ferry/canoe. Within a minute or two we were safely on the other side and on our way to a nearby B&B which had a small store to top up our food supply.
The owner of the B&B kindly cooked up leftover food for myself and Thumper. Scrambled eggs, toast and fried potatoes with a coffee. This is not normal service so we were lucky and appreciative. Both of us only needed a couple of snack bars and we were back on trail.
A couple of nice climbs bought us to the top of Pleasant Pond Mountain. My GPS showed that Mt Katahdin, the end of the trail, was around 110km/70m away as the crow flies. Thumper and I tried to pick out the peak from the endless peaks to choose from. We had no idea which one it was, even though I had the correct bearing and distance. Maybe it was too far away to see.
The rest of the afternoon bought easy hiking, or it should have been easy hiking had we not made an error in judgement that left us hiking for two hours in the afternoon heat with no water. We were more than a little parched when we found the almost dry stream. The tea coloured water tasted like liquid pleasure. I drank a litre instantly and could feel myself getting better by the second. I topped up with my daily allotment of M&Ms. To stop myself from gorging the large packet in one day then running out the next I devised a system of only eating one colour per day. Today was blue M&M day, tomorrow I will finish with the orange. A couple of days ago I felt ripped off due to the distinct lack of brown M&Ms. I know, I’ve spent too much time on the trail.
The weather was predicted to bring thunderstorms and rain at 2pm. We set up camp and ate dinner around 6.30pm only to be chased into our tents by rain around 7pm. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction that comes from being dry in a tent as it rains outside that only a hiker can really appreciate.