I had set up my tent in front of the Wadleigh Stream lean-to, so when the loud section hiking couple woke up at 6:30, so did I. I retrieved my food bag from the lean-to, said good morning, and took the food back to my tent where I was going to eat breakfast since the lean-to was full of the couple’s stuff drying out.
The tent was wet from overnight sprinkles. I sensed that it was about to rain again, so I packed and took down the tent quickly as it started again. I went to a front corner of the lean-to under cover and opposite the couple. He continued to ask me through hike questions as I ate until Tandem showed up to save me.
We chatted about the hiking plans for the day. Mio came up and we finished eating and loaded up to leave, with me leading the group as we spread out. We climbed soon after leaving and summited Nesuntabunt Mountain, where we took a snack break and hiked on.
We dropped to the Wadleigh Pond Rd and were surprised to find a pickup truck parked there with the driver offering trail magic. I was there first and accepted. He had an Army Ranger hat on and a cooler full of cold sodas and Gatorades as well as full size candy bars and mini bites of candy. He made fresh coffee for Tandem.
His trail name is Walking Man. He was there waiting for his section hiking wife, Grace and Glory, who thru hiked with him in 2011. This week she is hiking with a friend to train her on the trail and to possibly thru hike with her next year.
We thanked Walking Man and he congratulated us on finishing our thru hikes. As we hiked on toward the Rainbow Stream lean-to, we passed Grace and Glory and her friend and let them know that Walking Man was waiting at the road ahead of them.
We had hiked eight miles when we arrived at the Rainbow Stream lean-to for lunch, and we rejoiced when the sun started to break out of the clouds. Walking Man had said that the weather would be improving for Tuesday and Wednesday — perfect timing for our approach and summit of Mount Katahdin!
Due to the earlier trail magic, we all ate a light lunch. There was a totem pole in progress beside the lean-to, which Tandem posed next to, then I filled up water and we were on our way. There was a tough two-log elevated creek crossing from the lean-to.
The terrain for the next eight miles along the Rainbow Lake was tough, full of rocks, roots, and mud. It really slowed us down, though the guidebook said it was flat. We stopped for a break at the end of the lake and before a small climb, snacking and laying back on our packs. Tandem got up first and headed toward the top of Rainbow Mountain. When I got up to leave, I saw that Mio was sound asleep. I left him sleeping but leaning, so I knew the imbalance would wake him soon.
Mio hiked up shortly after that. We joked and he hiked on until we all met at the plentiful blueberry bushes on top of Rainbow Mountain. I ate about thirty, which was a treat. We summited the mountain in the sunshine and turned west to view Mount Katahdin. It was topped with cloud cover but looked majestic! We were 21 miles from the summit and reveled in our accomplishments getting there.
Tandem talked to her grandparents, who were flying up to meet us on Wednesday, which is summit day and hump daaay! They will be meeting us at 7:00 at the Katahdin Stream Campground near the Birches lean-tos and campsite with breakfast sandwiches and beverages to get us fueled up for our 5.2 mile hike to the top of Mount Katahdin.
We finished the afternoon with a 2.5 mile hike down to the Hurd lean-to. Much to our surprise, we were greeted by Ginger and Gilligan! Gilligan gave me a hug when I arrived. We hadn’t seen them for sixty days, since back on Day 97. They had skipped part of the 100 Mile Wilderness due to the high water and Gilligan’s recent illness.
We all cooked and ate together and talked about hostels and experiences since we had seen them last. Mio really wasn’t familiar with them but fit in and related quickly.
Today was a 19.6 mile day to mile 2,166.6. Tomorrow will be a 13.5 mile day to The Birches lean-tos and campsite. We will stop in the morning at the Abol Bridge Campground & Store for treats three and half miles in.