July 9, 2018
Destination: Carl A. Newhall Shelter Today's Miles: 20.80
Start Location: Long Pond Stream Lean-to Trip Miles: 2112.30
I woke up early, like most mornings. It is getting light at 4am because I am so far east, so I’ve been waking up around 4:30 when the birds are singing and the red squirrels begin to chirp angrily around me.
This morning was no different - I got up early, ate my pop tart and honeybun breakfast, and hiked north.
Today I climbed a few small mountains. Barren Mountain was the tallest at 2660 feet. I usually don’t start thinking about hills as mountains unless they are 3k feet at this point, but I got great views from the ledges at Barren. I went over a few other smaller mountains and then Chairback mountain, which had a little bit more technical hiking to it, but nothing too crazy. I took a side trail east to check out West Chairback Pond. It was a classic, beautiful Maine Pond, so I took a picture of it.
After filtering water from a pretty little stream that crossed the trail, I hiked downhill across a gravel road to the West Branch of the Pleasant River. The river was somewhat wide and shallow; I would have to ford this one. A big group of girls was coming through the river southbound, and they stopped to talk with a ridge runner named Gin Gin who was standing there. A few flip floppers hiking south were there too, and then a couple with their two young children showed up - they had walked from a nearby parking lot to do s day hike to this area called Gulf Hagas. Hundred Mile Wilderness???? I had expected it to be wild, remote, rugged, and sparsely populated, mostly with thru hikers. Instead, it was more like the Hundred Miles of Summer Camp! I suppose the point is that there aren’t great road crossings to hitch into town to resupply, but I did cross so many roads and see so many people that it didn’t feel like I was that far away from civilization.
I talked with Gin Gin briefly and then forded the stream in my $2 flip flops. I hiked on up the AT until I got to the Gulf Hagas trail and then walked a short distance on that trail to check out Screw Auger Falls. It was a gorgeous waterfall with a swimming hole below it. I thought about swimming, namely because I wanted to clean the salt out of my clothes, but there were some day hiker families already swimming there and I didn’t feel like making a crowd, so I turned back and headed north again following the white blazes.
I was the first to arrive at the lean-to even though it was about 5pm. I picked a tent spot, signed the log book, and cooked my dinner. As I was finishing eating, a female hiker came in. She was hiking southbound, a flip flopper who had hiked north to Marion, VA and was now headed south. Her trail name was Danish because she was from Denmark. She asked me about the Whites and mileage, the huts, etc. I retired to my tent to try and journal a little before falling asleep. I haven’t had a signal in a long time, and unsure of the weather, I put up my rain fly. I prefer to sleep without it, but it’s also not fun having to get up in a storm to try and throw it on! I was grateful for the views and hiking today, and for the continued kindness of the weather. I hope that holds!