A wet day in the Wilderness but some unexpected trail magic.
The shuttle dropped me off at 7:30am and I hiked back to the AT by 7:45am. It had drizzled overnight and was doing the same on and off now. I crossed my fingers that it had had all those hours to work with but hadn’t managed to produce real rain so it might clear up as the morning wore on. But no such luck.
It started to thunder around 9am and medium rain followed immediately. For the next 4 hours the thunder would continue to thunder and the rain would continue to rain. As today involved lots of climbing and descending granite and rooty terrain this slowed my pace and made me take extra care going down.
Just after 1pm the thick cloud started to break up, encouraged by the strong gusty wind. By 2pm there was some sunlight though it remained cool all day. I removed my rain gear when I reached Chairback Gap Lean-To (mile 2100.6) and had a late lunch. Also at the shelter was a South African called Juergen (real name).
At the end of a 1000′ descent, at 4:30pm, I reached Katahdin Ironworks Road which is where Charlie from Lakeshore House was due at 5pm to drop my food and the rest of my gear. Here already though was Sam I Am, a thru hiker from last year who had brought a barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, soda and beer and had camped last night (Saturday night) so he could do trail magic all weekend. As he pointed out, it’s 28 rough miles to the nearest paved road and it takes 80 minutes to drive back to Monson, so it definitely ranks as the most unexpected trail magic of the trip.
As soon as I had a Dr Pepper in my hand and an order for a burger on the grill Charlie from the hostel arrived and I packed up my pack. I then chatted with Sam I Am while he made me, as he had indeed promised, the best burger I have had on trail. He’s a very convivial, warm and giving person and it was a great pick-me-up to spend a short time with him at the end of a tough day. I told him a South African was behind me as I figured he would want a piece of the red meat action before Sam I Am packed up and left. This proved to be the case and in fact Juergen put away a double cheeseburger to keep up the SA reputation. While chatting Juergen offered to split his reserved campsite at the base of Katahdin – a rare commodity – but it was for the night before I was planning on getting there. I thanked him but said it might be too soon for me.
There is a pair of protected National Landmark Monuments coming up so camping is prohibited after the Pleasant River which is half.a mile past the road. I found a stealth spot as near to the river as I could, hung my socks up to dry on a tree, and tended to my feet. Share that experience with me…