Mosey and Jim’s relatives arrived at the Farmhouse Hostel at 6:30 am, parking right outside the bunkhouse and waking us up. We got up and packed for our final slack pack day. We put our extra stuff in black contractor bags; these will be hidden at East Flagstaff Road, which is gravel and crosses the trail at mile 2,016.
We had breakfast in the kitchen and ate or drank everything extra that we had in the hiker fridge. I enjoyed guzzling the last few cups of milk in our gallon jug. Shane got back at 6:50 from his first slack pack drop off on the logging road and wanted a quick turn around on our shuttle, so we sped up and were ready right at 7:30.
We were the only hikers in the truck headed to ME 27 today. Because we are slack packing 16.7 miles to East Flagstaff Road, we drove there first to stash our black bags of gear and hang our food bags above mouse and chipmunk height. Then we drove over to ME 27 to be dropped for the final time.
We said our goodbyes to Shane, and he wanted a picture of the four of us with our packs on. I went to visit the memorial to Gerry Largay [who was a friend of some of our good friends], where I’d been yesterday morning before our SOBO slackpack, and said another prayer.
We collected ourselves and started hiking out. Today was going to include summiting four mountains. We started with South Horn, which was a 2,600 foot climb from the road. I followed behind the other three, enjoying my Podcacher and Geocaching podcasts. That got me to the top of the mountain. I did catch up with the group at the 200 miles to go marker. There is only one more “century” miles to go marker left!
Then we climbed to the bald on top Bigelow Mountain at 4,145 feet up. As I was climbing the next mountain, I caught up with Tandem, Mio, and Mombo collecting water at a perfect little spring on the trail. Mombo was filling everyone’s water filtering containers, and I filtered 1.5 liters
While we were doing that, the camp master for the Horns Pond Lean-tos came by and congratulated us on summiting our final 4K peak in Maine before Katahdin. We talked about that after he left. There are other mountains ahead of us in the mid-to-high 3,000’s. In fact, the next and last mountain, Little Bigelow, is exactly 3,000 feet tall.
Once we reached Little Bigelow Mountain, it was flat on top and downhill on the other side to East Flagstaff Road. I found myself leading and flew the last three miles to the road. Just before it, I found trail magic in the form of warm generic sodas. I drank a cola and grabbed another for later then made my way then to our hidden gear. I grabbed my bag and started packing my pack. Oh joy!
The other three showed up separately and also started packing their gear. Mio had accidentally packed his half bottle of rum and offered it to any of us that wanted it. I took it, drank some of the generic cola from my second can, and topped it off with rum, which everyone thought was a great idea. I was happy that we were hiking only 1.2 miles further north to a campsite on East Flagstaff Lake.
We loaded up our packs and left the third-full bottle of rum on a log at the trail head for trail magic for someone. We hiked to the campsite while the sun was sinking to our left across the lake. Once there, we got water from a stream, set up camp, and cooked our dinners.
We went out to a big rock beside the lake to watch the waning light and pink sky after the sun set. The mosquitoes were terrible, so we said our goodnights and returned to our screened dwellings to finish our dinners. We stayed like that, chatting across the campsite about the howling coming from across the lake. We first thought that it was the day hikers who’d been howling earlier on the trail, but since it went on late into the night, we decided that it was coyotes.
I am going to miss the light weight of my slackpacking pack tomorrow. It has been a great three days of slackpacking fifty miles! Tomorrow we tackle 18.7 miles to make it to the Kennebec River ferry service before it closes at 16:00.
Today was an 18 mile day, and we have 170 miles remaining to Mount Katahdin!