We woke on the wrong side of Moxie Bald Mountain this morning, but we had a plan to get going early. We ate quickly, packed, and were on the trail by 6:45. We were hiking 22 miles today to Monson. I wished that it were a slackpacking day! The cloud cover was very low again today, but burning off.
We hiked together for the first four miles over Moxie Bald Mountain, where we enjoyed the view and I posed in my Captain Morgan stance for the picture. Since we finally had cell signal, Tandem made a call to the Lakeshore House Lodging and Pub to change our two $30 bunkhouse reservations to a $60 private room.
We hiked down to Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to where we snacked before hiking on. Tandem moved ahead, and I cranked up the tunes. The AWOL A.T. Guide book showed the terrain as flat. What it didn’t show was how rooty, muddy, and rocky the trail was. This terrain was really making the front flap of my left Merrill Moab sole even more loose. I did pass an interesting rock formation with an enormous rock that looked like a Chia Pet perched on a narrow rock supporting it.
I was averaging 25 minute miles and finished the nine miles to the Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to by 12:30. I was surprised by a note waiting for me at the trail to the lean-to with a mini Mountain Dew on it! I grabbed both and headed up to the lean-to for lunch. From there, it was nine miles to ME 15 and Monson. I ate quickly, enjoyed the soda, signed the last page of the very full logbook, and got going north. This afternoon, I really started feeling like the end of this hike is coming, since after Monson is the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness.
There were three river crossings today, which required fording the river with water sometimes up to my knees. After spending fifteen minutes changing shoes on both side of the first river, I just walked across the second and third in my socks and failing Merrill Moabs. It saved time, and they dried fairly quickly.
After six miles, I reached the intersection of the historic AT route and Monson roads, which would have put me in town in two miles. My left shoe said to turn right, but my purist thru hiking mind said go straight for 3.3 more miles, miles that included a couple of steep climbs and descents.
I finally reached ME 15 at 16:30 and started hitching. After twenty or so vehicles and fifteen minutes, a pickup truck stopped for me. The driver was going into Monson to pick up his son from his parent’s house, so he dropped me and my pack at the Lakeshore House Lodging and Pub. I went up the back stairs to the private room that Tandem had reserved, which had a full bed and access to a separate kitchen.
We hung out with Mombo, Mio, Handsome Dan, and a couple of other hikers, watching TV and doing laundry. I showered and decided to go to Greenville to replace my shoes and restock. Mio, Tandem, and I grabbed our empty packs and went out to hitch. We waited fifteen minutes and a dozen cars before giving up.
We went with Mombo to the convenience store and bought some food for restocking and some for dinner. We ate and moved laundry. Mombo and I determined that we had accidentally swapped socks the last time that we did laundry, so we fixed that.
Tandem turned in early, and we plan to try to hitch again to Greenville starting at 7:30 in the morning.
Today was a 22 mile day, and we have 115 miles remaining to Mount Katahdin!