For having slept for 13 hours, I was exhausted. I woke up a dozen times due to snoring from beside me (not Tandem), bathroom needs, and heavy rain on the tin roof. I learned later that the rain had been really heavy across Maine overnight.
Due to the rain, we weren’t motivated to pack and leave. We ate first on our sleeping bags while chatting about the weather. The southbound section hiker had left already, and the three of us ignored the father and son northbound section hikers. We eventually packed and threw on our rain gear tops. Tandem had a big, cheap poncho that was too long for her liking, but she didn’t cut it.
We started out from the shelter at 7:30, saying hello to One A Day on the way by his tent. The hiking order this morning was Mio, me, and then Tandem, though we were hundreds of feet apart at times. We climbed for a while before dropping to our first creek to ford of the morning, though it wasn’t marked in the AT Guide as a ford. That was concerning. We were surprised at how high and swift the water level was, and we monitored each other during the crossing.
We hiked on to the next stream and were shocked at the volume of water there. This was also not listed as a stream that needs to be forded. We wandered upstream and found a log laying two-thirds of the way across the creek, which we used to keep us from washing downstream. At times, the water was above my knees. Once the log ended, we were able to slowly rock-walk the creek over to the shore.
It had been three hours, and we had hiked only four miles. We hiked one more mile to the gravel Bodfish Farm Tote Road, after which was the Long Pond Stream. It was also not listed as one that needs to be forded, but the stream was a raging class three rapid at the AT crossing point.
Halfway across the river was a blue rope for holding on and steadying your rock walk. We struggled against the strong current to cross the first half of the river. Once to the rope, Mio tested going through the raging water without his pack, and the water was up to his chest!
We decided to not go that way and struggled back to the east side of the river. Mio checked his Guthook app and found that Bodfish Farm Tote Road heads north along the stream and gets within a quarter of a mile of the Long Pond Stream Lean-to. To get there, however, would require bushwhacking and still crossing the swollen stream. After hiking the gravel road for a mile, the bushwhacking to the lean-to didn’t look feasible.
We decided that we would have to be driven to the other side and needed to research our options back at the Lake Shore Hostel in a Monson. Mio had also injured his problem knee against a rock during the last stream crossing attempt.
Mio had some cell coverage, so he called the hostel; they said that they would pick us up for $35 but that we needed to be a mile south of the AT on the gravel road. We were a mile north. We started hoofing it in a rainy drizzle back down the road to the AT. We did a quick look for any hikers stuck at the stream crossing but saw none. We hiked the last mike through puddles, larger puddles, and overflowing creeks onto the road.
We were soaking wet when we reached the pickup spot. Tim was there five minutes later and we loaded up while joking about how short a time it had been since we had last seen each other. We drove many miles back to the hostel in Monson.
We researched our options against the local flooding, future rainfall, and waterways remaining to ford. We looked at blogs, checked weather apps, and watched the local news. They said that our area received three inches of rain and Portland had six, which flooded roads and tied up traffic.
Tandem preferred to skip the future fords and jump ahead 20 miles. I wanted to wait for the record rainfall to flush out on the creeks and go back to the other side of the Long Pond Stream. Mio needed to nurse and rest his knee, but agreed with returning to the other side of Long Pond Stream in the morning. We told the hostel that we’d like to leave at 7:00 in the morning for the return to trail.
The hostel manager offered us a $15 lodging deal on mattresses on the floor of the finished attic where Tim has his living space. We showered out the chill and dried our wet clothes then discussed our options thoroughly. The weather looked like the rain was ending overnight with 30% chances of rain through Saturday.
We opted to take advantage of the lodging deal and grabbed a bite to eat and restocked from the convenience store. I found my first Maine Geocache in town and took a picture of the lake after the sun had set. We watched typical television and went to bed at 22:00.
Today was a 5 mile day, and we have 99 miles remaining to Mount Katahdin! We have updated our Katahdin summit date to 8/21.