July 6, 2018
Destination: Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to Today's Miles: 18.70
Start Location: Pierce Pond Lean-to Trip Miles: 2054.40
Yesterday Homebound had told me that it was supposed to rain around 5am and taper off around 11am. Sure enough, at a few minutes past 5, the rain came.
By the time I got hiking it had lightened up. My first destination was the Kennebec ferry. The AT crosses the Kennebec River at a dangerous, wide spot in the river. Therefore, several groups sponsor a ferry service here to keep hikers from trying to ford the river and to ensure safe passage. The ferry is a canoe that can fit two hikers at a time. As I hiked down to the ferry stop and arrived at about 8:30am, it started to pour. The first ferry was at 9am, so I basically stood there in the rain until then. A section hiker from Kentucky showed up, and then Homebound arrived. We were all a big wet mess! Fortunately, the rain let up a bit once the ferry arrived and we had no issues getting across the river. Homebound was in the canoe with me and noticed a deer, upstream, fording the river in the opposite direction. I could almost hear the deer muttering “wussies!”
On the north side of the Kennebec River is the sleepy little town of Caratunk. There are really only two places in Caratunk of interest to most hikers - the Caratunk House hostel/B&B, and the post office. I wanted to go to the Caratunk House to eat! They are known for their pulled pork sandwiches and their milkshakes. I needed to go to the Caratunk House to resupply and pick up my shoes that I had mailed there. After I bounced the pair from Hanover to Caratunk, I ordered a half size smaller just to make sure I had the right size. Therefore, I would also need To go to the post office to send back the pair that wasn’t the best fit. The post office didn’t open until 2, so I had a lot of time to kill....
It turns out it was not hard to kill that time! I ate.... The food was amazing, and over the course of the morning and afternoon I ate 3 pulled pork sandwiches and 2 milkshakes. Paul, the owner, was really great too. One of my pairs of shoes was a day or two late. I decided just to go with the size I had bounced from Hanover, and so he is helping me by getting my package tomorrow or next week and forwarding it to my home in Atlanta. He was just really cool about that and everything really. I can’t say enough good things about Paul and the Caratunk House. He gave me a lift home from the post office and we went for a little side trip to get the postal lady’s dog. It had gotten loose and was running around the local outfitter. It was a funny little side expedition.
It was about 3:30 before I could leave Caratunk. I had to book it up Pond Mountain to make it to the lean-to. I got in kind of late and tented by the Brook there. I met a northbounder on the way in named Frank from the Netherlands. He was completing his triple crown with this hike. For those who don’t know, that means he has already thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. As I set up camp, a strong, cool wind was blowing. This was not a stormy wind; this was a high pressure system wind. It was getting cooler!! Tonight I would sleep well. Tomorrow I would hike to Monson, my last resupply stop to get me through the Hundred Mile Wilderness.
I was grateful today that the rain did stop, that the weather improved, and for all of Paul’s help and refuge at the Caratunk House. It was a great day! I wish I had another one of those milkshakes right now!