I had just beat the rainfall last night around 20:30 and woke in a well set up and dry. Tandem reported that her tarp had not leaked, probably due to the lack of a hard extended rain. We each ate in our dwellings and started packing. I recently started using a contractor bag to line my backpack to keep water from seeping in, so I had to pack my wet tent fly outside of the bag.
We headed down the remaining .6 miles of Bemis Mountain to Bemis Stream, which was very steep, rocky, and slippery. Once we reached the stream, my feet were so damp that I just rock-hopped to the other side, getting a little wetter. Tandem chose to carry her shoes and ford the stream in bare feet.
We then climbed 700 feet straight up to ME 17 where we caught up with Bacon Do. We took a break and had a great view of a large lake and the mountains. Before moving on, we agreed to meet next at the Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to. There was a beach with a small picnic table — and a creepy Barbie stuck in the sand nearby.
We hiked onward, with nine miles to go to ME 4. At 12:30, we stopped for lunch at the Little Swift River Pond Campsite after hiking ten tough muddy, rooty, rocky, and boggy miles. That actually describes most of the trail in Maine. We watched several French Canadian guys setting up camp there while we ate. There was an excellent spring fed pipe there by the pond.
We had five miles to go to ME 4 from there. They were mostly downhill and some of the fastest hard miles I have hiked in a while, finishing just behind Tandem in two hours. I must be getting used to the ME terrain. We joined a SOBO hiker hitching into downtown Rangeley with a nice couple that who just finished hiking and were headed to the parking lot.
We called around until we determined the hostel that Mio had booked us in was the Farmhouse Hostel, then got ice cream cones and sat by the sluice that connects the pair of large lakes in town. The whole scene reminded me of Wolfeboro, NH.
The three of us then got another hitch to the hostel just as the Farmhouse’s red pickup truck drove by looking for us. We arrived and thanked the driver before meeting the hostel owners. We were placed in the smaller bunkhouse with Mio and Mombo since the four of us will be slackpacking the first section tomorrow. Bacon Dog had booked into the Cabin Hostel and is taking a zero day tomorrow.
The hostel owner had been asked to go out to a Woods Road and bring back a hiker with an ankle injury. He was out on that hunt for five hours until 22:00, and I don’t think the hiker was ever found. We all felt that this task was more for the authorities rather than the owner of the hostel the hiker is staying at.
We got settled, dried out our tarp/fly, and had some beer and snacks while other hikers showed up. Hoss was also staying there with a group of five other hikers slacking together.
Mombo figured out the cost of slack packing over the mountains ahead over both two days and three days and then by the number of hikers in the group. In the end, we had only four. We tried recruiting Go Far and Spruce to participate, but neither wanted to.
Tandem and I had showers, then Tandem headed to the IGA store to get milk, pizza, Coke, and ice cream. We had the frozen pizza for dinner and it was delicious. I ate my half outside at the picnic tables with Hoss and his crew who were having steaks on the grill. Mio and I agreed we’d do that on Friday night to celebrate.
I had ice cream before prepping my pack for the slackpack, which meant removing everything except rain gear, water, lunch and snack food for a day, water filter, and TP. Mio, Mombo, and I tried troubleshooting why my phone won’t leave the “Off Network” connection; it is too early in the data cycle for me to be hitting my limit.
We also unsuccessfully troubleshot the lack of power on the right side wall of our bunkhouse. While doing that, we found the owner’s pair of classic Jeeps in the garage next door.
We enjoyed each other’s company in our bunks and slowly dozed off individually. Our first slack pack tomorrow will be a mountainous 15.2 miles back to ME 4.