We woke up in the attic of the Lake Shore Hostel and really wanted to be hiking. We had packed and eaten by 6:45, and Tim appeared at 6:55 asking when we wanted to leave. I told him 7:00, so he went to warm up the hiker shuttle while we paid for the shuttles and room.
Tim drove us out to a gravel road deep in the Maine backwoods. We unloaded at 7:30 near the Otter Pond parking area, and Tim wanted to hike up to the AT with us to verify that he was dropping us at the correct spot. He left the vehicle running and we hiked about half a mile toward the AT. Mio showed Tim that we were headed to the AT on his Guthook app, so Tim was satisfied and returned to his car.
We reached the AT north of the Long Pond Stream Lean-to and turned north to climb Barren Mountain, which was 600 feet and rocky up to the top. There was an old fire tower on top that Mio bravely climbed and took pictures from using my phone.
We also went over Fourth and Third Mountains. After 12 miles, we stopped at the Chairback Gap Lean-to at 13:30 for lunch, where we met Nemo. He is a NOBO thru hiker from Chattanooga who left on March 21 but whom we had never met.
We signed the lean-to logbook and were on our way. I led all day, and we made good time. At West Branch Pleasant River, which was a wide slippery ford, I headed out first and stumbled halfway into the water, getting my phone wet for the second time on this hike. The audio failed again, but I’m sure it will be back.
We cooked dinner at 16:30 on the other side of the river, leaving 5.6 miles to go to the Carl A Newhall Lean-to. While we were eating, a Trail Runner, the first we’d seen since NJ, came south on the AT with a bag of trash from the same lean-to. She asked us about our hiking histories, and we had a good chat.
She and her companion crossed the river while we cleaned up from dinner. I was done first and started hiking. We reached the lean-to by 19:45 and water before heading up to the shelter. Because the light was waning quickly, the three of us set up our camp dwellings quickly and were in them and quite by 20:30.
I wrote this blog and reveled in what we had accomplished today. We hiked 21.6 miles over most of the mountains, leaving only White Cap and Boardman to summit before the really flat part of the 100 Mile Wilderness starts. We passed mile 2,100 today, and have 79 miles to go to Mount Katahdin. Our new estimated summit day is August 20!