We knew that there was a big climb out of the Bull Branch campsite ahead of us, but we were moving slowly this morning after the run through Mahoosac Notch late yesterday. We pulled out of the site right behind Vegemite.
After climbing the Mahoosuc Arm, Tandem had pulled ahead with a plan for us to meet at Grafton Notch. I passed the Speck Pond and paused to take in the beauty of the tranquil water and birds singing. Then it was mostly downhill to Grafton Notch. This is a large parking lot for day and section hikers that has two privies, two picnic tables, and a trash can. We ate lunch there and emptied our pack trash. Tandem took off across the road after enjoying some time on the warm parking lot pavement while I used the privy and grabbed a picture of the impressive wooden AT symbol on the other side of the road where the trail continued.
I ran out of water as I climbed Baldplate Mountain, so I stopped at the next stream and started filtering it with my slow flow Mini Sawyer filter. As I was filling my MSR Dromedary, a couple hiking down the mountain stopped to ask me what I was doing. I explained the water filtering, and that led to many more equipment questions, which delayed me for a while. After I got started again, a Scout Troop stopped me and asked to review my thru hike experiences for the Scouts. Delay number two.
By the time I caught up with Tandem at the trail to the Baldplate Lean-to, she had been waiting 45 minutes and was worried. I told her that there would be no more conversational delays. We finished hiking over the Baldplate east and west peaks, which were impressive balds. At one point I was able to see Tandem out in the distance climbing the next peak.
We met at the Frye Notch Lean-to and set up our tent and hammock. Vegemite was there with another NOBO hiker and two SOBO hikers. We had a good conversation about Maine bogs, mud, 100 mile wilderness, and our NOBO tips. We had a fire by the shelter and warmed ourselves, then turned in at 20:30, and I crashed.