7/13/16 – Bald Mountain Lean-To – 19 Miles
We started out our day powered by “Patriotic Pancakes” thanks to some help from a fellow hiker “After-Burner” and Harrison from Harrison’s Pierce Pond Camps. We had read about this place from the guide and from a map hanging in the shelter. Roub had also listed this place as a MUST so we had no choice but to check it out and what a great place it was! Harrison was a wonderful fellow and a great cook. The camp was and is everything Darwin and I want to do. There is a magic there that was very hard to leave; hopefully we find it for ourselves one day. (I failed at eating all of my thirteen pancakes leaving maybe three behind.)
We took the ferry across the Kennebec River a few miles after our pancakes. I can easily understand why so many have tried to walk across; the river is very deceiving. The ferry operator was extremely nice as well as his two young sons who assisted with all the vital paperwork before crossing.
We saw a few old trail markers today which was super cool. They were so old and rusted over you could no longer read them. The tree which one was attached to had even started growing over the marker. Only a keen eye could spot these guys. What a piece of history!
The heat hit by mid afternoon when we came across a few open ridges. The heat from the sun from above and the heat radiating back off the rocks was intense. I had to back track .4 to grab some water for Darwin who got over heated. We passed up our last water source before the shelter (thanks to AWOL fucking us over) and could not see pushing it two more miles to the lean-to with nothing. Darwin’s brain had melted, so he sat in the shade with our packs while I hiked back. Water is such a precious thing, we take it so for granted as a society.
We finally arrived at the lean-to and sat and talked with a Southie named “Dar” and his dog “Ridge” who seemed less than excited to see us. Seeing a dog sent instant pangs of longing for Bowie. Man I miss her!
We set up camp and were eating dinner when more Southies emerged from the darkening trail. We listened to them talk about their day and Darwin shared notes on trail terrain heading South. One girl reminded us of Supermoon even making us do a double take when she had arrived. Another was hiking in sandals made from old tires; we listened to his woes as he inspected his wounded toes and narley blisters. I am so glad we are almost done. The Southies are all so happy and unscathed from the trail; I find myself feeling sorry for them.