Maine – Part II

On July 2nd, Hopper checked the condition of a stream at the Grafton Notch AT trailhead, and found that due to the recent rains, the stream was unfordable. This stream is normally rock-hopped and is where I would have started the day’s hiking. So despite today’s forecast being beautiful, it was best for me to take a zero and wait for the waters to calm. After breakfast, Hopper and I went to Mass in Rumford which was nice and ended with the singing of “America The Beautiful.” I felt as if I’ve been living some of the verses in that song.

Many hikers have a “hikers wallet,” which consists of a sturdy plastic ziplock sandwich bag. It usually contains cash, driver’s license, credit and debit cards. I didn’t realize that my bag wasn’t zipped the previous day, when I was hiking in the pouring rain. Consequently all the paper currency was totally soaked and stuck together. I separated the bills and spread them out on my bunk so they could dry.

I also air-dried a lot of my gear, since it was in the 80s and didn’t rain. The forecast for the rest of the week was very good, and the “r” word wasn’t mentioned.

Monday, July 3rd, was a great day on the Trail! The weather was beautiful and dried things up a bit. I climbed Bald Pate, and when I got up to the summit I was awestruck with the beauty of the views.

This is Bald Pate. The granite ridge in the center was my descent on the Trail. 

Again, I was treated to 360-degree, 100-mile views of mountain ranges. Locals told me I was looking into Canada to the north. Days like this haven’t happened very often, so I took my time and enjoyed the moment.

Upon returning, I enjoyed another nice meal and conversation in the Great Room at The Cabin.

Tuesday the 4th, I hiked from East B Road to South Arm Road in Andover, Maine, but forgot to bring my cell phone. Two kind hikers let me use their phones to check in with Diane and call Hopper for a ride. Much of my time was in the woods under a canopy with few views. Hikers on the Trail were wishing each other a Happy 4th.

On Wednesday, I hiked up Old Blue and Bemis Mountains. This was a fairly rigorous hike which also provided some pretty nice views.

I also forded 3 rivers, which is getting to be more common in Maine.

The 5th was my last night at The Cabin. I was fortunate to have met Honey and Bear; they are very special people. They believe they have a ministry, which is simply to do whatever they are able to do for the support of hikers. I will miss them.

Thursday’s hike was 13 miles from Oquossoc to Rangeley. Elevation wise, it was not a difficult hike. However, Maine has a reputation for being “rooty,” and the Trail lived up that reputation. Use of the Trail in conjunction with erosion has created the following situation.

Terrain like this makes hiking extremely difficult, especially on ascents and descents. It is very easy to trip or get your foot trapped in the roots. When roots are wet, they are very slippery and even more problematic.

I also came across several ponds, including this one:

I have complained a bit about the weather during my hike, so in fairness, I have to say the weather that week was beautiful and great for hiking.

The day ended with Diane meeting me at the trailhead. I had been looking forward to seeing her for several days. We are staying at the Farmhouse in Rangeley, another well-known, hiker-friendly hostel.

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