Daily Archives: September 5, 2014

Day 143 – East Carry Pond to US 201 (mile 2034.1, Caratunk, ME)

We left the pond and our nice site around 7:30am today and headed towards Caratunk. The sunrise on the pond was cool.


Sun coming up over East Carry Pond

The elevation profile on our guide today looked very flat and tame compared to most other days in Maine. The first 6 miles or so to the Pierce Pond lean-to were quite easy and flat (for Maine). We got there and took a long snack break. We knew we had some time to kill because we had to get a ferry to cross the Kennebec River. It runs between 9-11am and 2-4pm and we knew we wouldn’t make the morning ferry. We hung out a bit at the lean-to and then made our way across the wooden dam there. That was kind of weird, who makes a dam out of wood, other than beavers?


Non-beaver wooden dam on Pierce Pond

The trail after there still looked flat for 4 miles or so, but it went back to standard difficult Maine terrain, with lots of small ups and downs, rocks, and roots to deal with. By that time, it was pretty hot out and it felt like summer again. We got to the river around noon and were first in line for the 2pm ferry. We ate lunch and lounged around by the river waiting. The “ferry” is a guide in a canoe which is the officially sanctioned way to cross the river because it’s too dangerous to ford due to highly variable water depth because of a hydroelectric plant / dam up the river. It certainly looked like it would have been dangerous to ford as the current was clearly powerful.


Looking across the Kennebec to the trail on the other side

We hopped aboard the canoe with the guide and I helped paddle while Trippy took pictures and sat in the middle. The canoe floor actually even has a white blaze on it.


Paddling the canoe

After that, we had a short hike to get to the Sterling Inn in Caratunk. A friendly local gave us a ride there to save a bit of road walk. We resupplied and also got a shuttle up to the Northern Outdoors compound a couple miles up the road for drinks and dinner. The compound includes the Kennebec River Pub, which makes some tasty brew.

Tomorrow we are back on the trail and headed towards Monson. We have some bad weather forecasted here, but we are planning to hike through it at this point.

Vital stats for Friday, September 5th :
Miles hiked today – 10.3
Mood – good
Physical state – normal
Smell – aight
Song stuck in my head – Chocolate by The 1975

Day 142 – Safford Notch Campsite to East Carry Pond (mile 2023.8)

We had a pretty nice campsite last night at Safford Notch, but the chipmunks there were insane little beasts. We hung our food bags, but they climbed down the slick rope and gnawed multiple holes in both our bags and ate a little of our chocolate and some trash. If I can catch any of those cute little rodents, they are going in the cook pot as some delicious and cute extra protein.

Anyway, besides the chipmunks, we had a really nice day. We first hiked up the gradual and somewhat tough climb to Little Bigelow Mountain.


Avery Peak, as seen from Little Bigelow. Flagstaff Lake to right.

Then we descended down to the lean-to (aka shelter) and had a morning snack. The trail got easier as we went down and eventually even resembled an actual recognizable walking path. It’s a strange concept after hiking the Whites and Maine. We crossed East Flagstaff Road and then got flagged down by some older dudes in the parking lot who had a crazy trail magic spread. Score!


The dudes are all thru-hikers, the lady is a thru-hiker named Red Robin who we've been playing leapfrog with since Virginia

They gave us some breakfast sandwiches (it was brunch-ish or so), drinks, snacks, etc. We hung out long enough that they fired up the grill for lunch and we had some delicious cheeseburgers. Some of them are trail maintainers in Maine now, so that was really cool to here their stories and chat with them.

After we took our leave, we hiked on over fairly easy trail for the afternoon. We went by West Carry Pond, which looked dreamy, but it felt too early to stop. There was more trail magic at the lean-to there. Someone made cereal bars, like rice crispy treats, but with various sugary cereals instead of puffed rice…amazingly good. We pushed on for another 4 miles or so and got to East Carry Pond, which is equally as dreamy as the other directional Carry Pond . We found a fantastic site just off the pond. I really don’t know why they are called ponds though, these things are huge and would certainly be called a lake in Pennsylvania. We waded in the clear water near the sandy beach and relaxed. It was very nice to have a relaxing and pretty easy hiking day.


Sandy beach at East Carry Pond

I sat quietly by the pond at sunset writing most of this post waiting for a moose to wade in to the water, but no luck there unfortunately. The colors of the sunset were beautiful though.


Sunset on the pond with the moon

Tomorrow we’ve got about 10 miles or so to hit the tiny town of Caratunk, where we are stopping for a nearo and to resupply for the short push this weekend to Monson, the last town on the trail.

Vital stats for Thursday, September 4th :
Miles hiked today – 16.3
Mood – really good, so nice to have an easier day, get some great trail magic, and find a fantastic camping spot
Physical state – still tired overall, but the easier day helped a lot
Smell – unshowered moose
Song stuck in my head – mash-up of 2 Legit 2 Quit by Hammer (complete with hand motions), The Weight of Living by Bastille, and Burn Pile by Moving Mountains (by far the weirdest mash-up I’ve had on the trail)