August 24th 2018
West Carry Pond Lean-to – Pleasant Pond Lean-to (mile 2045.4)
19.7 miles
Total miles: 2071.3


We were going to get an early start. Leave at 6:30am. I decided I would try and leave a bit earlier because I didn’t want to be the last one to get to the ferry. The terrain looked pretty flat but you never know how many obstacles are going to be in the way. 

There was a girl camped with us. A really annoying girl we had run into a couple of times before. She set her alarm for 5:10am and I had set mine for 5:30am. When hers went off I was scrambling for my phone to try and make it stop. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t mine. Of course she didn’t move at all and now I was awake so I started to pack up. Her alarm went off again and she still didn’t move. Snoozing your alarm in a communal setting is such a no-no! 

So I was packed up and ready at 5:50am and the others weren’t yet out of their tents. I had to go to the lake to get water before setting off. I’m not that keen on lake water. It’s better than pond water, but still not great. I was rather surprised to feel how warm the water was. It was like a bath and with the mist over it, it looked so inviting. But I was on a mission and…leaches. 

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I filled up my small bottle knowing that I probably wouldn’t drink much of it. I think my headache had gone from yesterday so that was good. I set off at 6am. I had 13.7 miles to do to get to the Kennebec river before 2pm. 

It started off pretty rooty and rocky with patches of bog and I was worried about my pace but after an hour I could see that I had done 3 miles. 3mph was great and so much faster than I’ve been able to hike recently. It spurred me on and I managed to maintain that pace for the next 2 hours. 

The trail passed lakes which were really pretty and it alternated between being a nice walkable path to being an obstacle course. I feel it was more often an obstacle course than not. The two sections of boardwalk were a nice respite from bog jumping. All of this leaping about and I was still maintaining 3mph. If the trail was smooth I would have been flying along!

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There came a point where the trail had been built up using rocks and logs to form a bit of a dam like structure on the edge of a lake. I negotiated it successfully right until the last moment when I took a tumble, I’ve no idea how it happened, I didn’t hurt my feet or ankles, and I fell onto rocks, which are really unforgiving, and I managed to scrape my leg in 3 places, cut my knee, bash my hip and my arm, and cut my palm and hurt my thumb. Luckily all of these thing were pretty superficial and no really damage was done. 

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I feel like I slowed down a little bit after than and I was being a bit more cautious. Over the last couple of days we had been hearing about the hostel just over the river and we had been told about the pulled pork sandwiches and milkshakes there. Today was no different as about three hikers heading south gave me the heads up. One guy told me there was a queue of about 10 people waiting to cross the river, but they should be gone by the time I got there. 

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By the last mile I was really starting to flag a bit and I was getting hungry. I arrived at the river at 10:40am. I was 5 minutes off an overall 3mph pace, maintained for 4 and a half hours! I was happy with that. I sat and waited for the others. I ate some lunch and had a lie down. They all came down the trail together and I had known that they would have all hiked together that morning. I enjoyed the time by myself though, I think I needed it. I also needed to be the first to arrive somewhere because usually I’m the last and it was getting to me. 

They came down the trail at about 11:30am and we went to the edge of the lake and signalled for the ferry. The ferry is a man in a canoe who is there from 9-2 and it’s his job to paddle hikers across the river. The river is a major crossing and it was nice to not have to ford it! Max capacity for the ferry is 2 people so I went across first with Peaches. I sat in the middle and she took the front seat which meant she had to help paddle us across. It’s not a long crossing and soon enough we were safely on the other side and he went back to get Jukebox and Professor. In the meantime we could play with his 4 month old puppy! Peaches asked me if I was ok and it was the perfect opportunity for me to say something about how I was feeling but I just said “I’m fine” instead. Stupid. 

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Once the others were also safely across we walked the short distance up the road to find the hostel. The street felt a bit like a ghost town with a lot of seemingly abandoned buildings, but we found the hostel and ordered our goodies straight away. As promised the pulled pork burger was really good and our milkshakes were so big that they got delivered in 2 cups. We also had metal straws which was great to see. The second cup was plastic but we learnt they wash them and reuse them. 

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I felt exceptionally full and I was able to have a little lie down. We had to stay until 2pm anyway because Jukebox had a package to pick up from the post office which is open from 2pm-4pm! We hung out for as long as we could. Charged our phones and bought a day and a half resupply to get us to Monson. The hostel is run by thru-hikers so they had a great little resupply store with single serving things and stuff like Gatorade powder split down into individual servings, and nothing was outrageously priced. It was all very reasonable. 

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Pony Boy came in and the others caught up with him as they hadn’t seen him yesterday. There were a bunch of other hikers there we hadn’t seen before. We convinced Pony Boy to hike to the shelter with us which was 5.7 miles away. He wasn’t that keen at first as he had already done 19 miles to get to the hostel, but we broke him down. 

We hiked out and I decided to put myself in the lead. I can hike fast on the flat but I know the others can all keep up with me so I thought if I’m in the front then I won’t get left behind and I can join in the conversation for a change. So that’s what I did. I lead and there were a couple of comments about me going fast and them sweating and struggling to keep up, but there is a certain pressure on you when you’re at the front and you tend to go faster. 

We left about 3:20pm and got to the shelter at 5:30pm so it was a relatively easy hike. There was a gentle climb up to the shelter but overall it was flatish. There were the usual obstacles to jump over and around but there were also some parts where you could just walk and we all relish those moments. 

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We found the shelter and found a place to pitch our tents and then headed down to the lake. It’s a weird place this. There is a road right next to the shelter and there are houses dotted around the lake. Holiday homes or just homes I’m not sure. There was a speed boat on the lake pulling doughnuts behind it. Jukebox and peaches got in the lake and I sat on the pontoon and dangled my feet off the edge. They tried to hitch a ride with the speedboat but with no success. I washed the mud off my legs and made my cuts and grazes sting. It’s unlikely we will have a chance to shower between now and the end. 

Pony Boy arrived a bit later and told us how he had taken a fall off one of the boards and had fallen into a dry creek bed. He hurt his hip and had a big gash on his elbow. He was lucky he didn’t do any more damage, it’s my biggest fear so close to the end. 

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We had some news today that we aren’t supposed to be summiting Katahdin over labour day weekend, so the 1st-3rd September. This was new news for us and not something we had ever heard of before and we thought it was a bit odd that they were announcing it a week before. Apparently it’s something to do with members of the Penobscot Nation participating in a yearly spiritual pilgrimage. If it was a yearly thing that Katahdin gets closed down for 3 days, you’d think this would have cropped up somewhere before now? Jukebox refers to them as the P people. As she is hiking with Puff, Peaches, Professor and Pony Boy, can’t we be part of the P people too??

So we were aiming to summit on the 1st September, now it looks like we have to try for August 31st which means we are going to be pushing it a bit. We are just going to have to see how it goes. I really don’t want to have to wait until the 4th to summit. 

It’s pretty noisy here. It’s nearly 9pm and the speedboat is still going up and down the lake even though it’s pitch dark outside. It gets dark at 7:30pm nowadays. I hope it stops soon. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 108

 

 


 

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