I woke early today, around 5:30, and reached for my watch to verify the time. The watch wasn’t there. I immediately recalled leaving it on the sink counter at Northern Outdoors after we showered there last night during dinner. I packed quickly, let the sleeping Tandem know that I was leaving, and went up to US 201 to hitch two miles west. The weather was low clouds and wetness from the foliage leaves.
I got lucky, and a truck stopped for me and took me there. I went straight to the men’s room and found my watch sitting right where I’d left it. After that, I filled up my water from a spigot and emptied my trash in their trash can. I used their wifi to send a couple of blog updates then headed back to US 201 to hitch the two miles east back to the trailhead.
I tried hitching while I walked but never got picked up, so I hiked back with my pack. It was now 7:30. I saw Mombo heading across the road to the AT NOBO, and when I went got to the campsite, Tandem and Mio were just leaving. We hiked up to “downtown” Caratunk to use the public phone since we had no cell coverage. We had to wait until 9:00 for Merrill and the outfitters in Greenville to open, so Mio headed down to the trailhead while Tandem and I sat on the porch of the post office and watched the town activities.
At 9:00, I called Merrill and they gave me the answer that I didn’t want to hear — it would take nine days to get new Moabs to me, and they had to be sent to a post office. In nine days I would be summiting Mount Katahdin, and the last post office I pass will be mid-week in Monson, so that plan certainly would not work for me. I’ll still reply to the Merrill email, however, so that a replacement pair of Moabs go to Atlanta.
Both outfitters had the same area code but the numbers weren’t local, so I couldn’t call either one. We needed to get to The Sterling Inn to use their phone and computer. We got lucky, and the Northern Outdoors van came by and offered us a ride there. The only outfitter with size 13 shoes was Indian Hill Trading Post. I told them I would be by for new hiking shoes mid-week.
It was 10:30 by the time we left The Sterling Inn and started a six mile, slow hike up Pleasant Pond Mountain. There was a steep rocky climb at the end. The top of the mountain was bald where we stopped and enjoyed the great There were section hikers also enjoying the summit and view. One of the hikers there, Philip Koch, was very friendly and from the coast of Maine where Lobsta is from. Tandem got his email address. A pair of women that included a NOBO through hiker offered us trail magic beverages that were waiting at the gravel road at the bottom of the mountain.
The descent off Pleasant Pond Mountain was a series of ups and downs over rocky hills. We passed a small trio of Scouts and an adult leader who asked how far it was to the next lean-to. The youngest Scout was very dejected to hear that it was four more miles.
We reached the road at the bottom and found the cooler. I skipped the beer and had Minutemaid Lemonade and mini Mountain Dews. Who invented such ridiculous sized sodas?
When I went to check out the ability to ford the south end of Moxie Pond River, I was just in time to watch Coach come south across the river during his section hike, so I knew the route on the rocks. I put a couple of mini Mountain Dews in my pack, and the trail angels came down the road from the trail. We all thanked them and talked and joked about hiking.
Tandem and I loaded up at 18:30 and headed over to ford the river. We both made it across the rocks without changing our shoes. By now, our original target of Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to was out of reach at seven miles over Moxie Bald Mountain, so we opted for the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to at three miles.
Along the way, Tandem pulled Chanterelle mushrooms for dinner. We arrived at the shelter by 20:00 and picked a tent site. While Tandem set up her hammock, I filtered four liters of water for us then set up my tent. We each had pasta for dinner, and I cooked the mushrooms over a combination of the rest of our oils. They were great! We were going to get up early, so we went to bed by 21:30.
Today was a 14 mile day, and we have 137 miles remaining to Mount Katahdin!