I woke up tired hips and legs hurting at about 7:30. I had not slept so close to strangers in a shelter before last night. It was a bit uncomfortable. There were 6 of us crammed in there. I did my usual morning chores and was ready to go at about 8:30. Em had left just before I got up and Jerod left at sunrise I was told. The group of guys were talking about Jerod and how they were a little worried about him. I was too. As far as we could observe he wasn’t completely prepared. I told them I would keep an eye on him.
The first climb of the day was to the Barren Ledges, 1000 feet up from the shelter. A rocky trail took me up through groves of Fir and Birch trees with roots exposed. After about 3 miles I caught up with Jerod on Barren Mountain. He was sitting at the foot of an old fire tower with a paper map. I stopped to talk to him about his hiking plan and what resources he had to locate himself on the trail. I gently encouraged him to download the app I used on my phone to navigate the trail. Jerod was aware that he may have missed some key details about prepping for this trip. We exchanged phone numbers in case he needed help with anything. He was planning on staying at the Chair Back Lean To for the night as was I. I told him I’d see him there.
It was a beautiful day. Not too hot and not too cold. Just right. Early September It was prime time to be in Maine. Just on the cusp of Fall. I was thankful for the sun and dry weather. Warren advised me not to do the Chair Back Mountains in the raid. It can be very dangerous and slippery. The 100 mile wilderness in the rain is miserable I am also told.
I enjoyed a gradual down hill walk on soft pine needles and into Fourth Mountain Bog. Bogs seem to always catch me off guard because of how different the vegetation and landscape feels after walking on solid rock for miles. Now the only thing separating you from feet of murky water with mystery creatures beneath was an old saggy log or 2×4. Not to mention the days long discomfort of wear clothes and gear. It’s like a different planet.
I continued up and down rocky trail to Mount Three and a Half and then Third Mountain for another view of Maine wilderness. I reached the final mountain of the day, Columbus Mountain and walked .4 miles down to the Chair Back Lean To. It was 4:30 and I could have kept going but I was meeting Poet at the next road crossing in the morning at 10 which was less than 4 miles away. I had time to waste. The shelter was just inches from the trail. I was the first one there but felt comfort knowing Jerod would show up at some point. I knew Blue Jay and Ember were camping at the road crossing 4 miles north. I hadn’t passed Em all day so I she must be ahead of me. To my surprise, Em walked up around 5 and decided to stay for the night. She had spent some time at a shelter off the trail for a bit which was how I passed her.
Em started a fire and bragged about how she was dubbed fire queen at the camp she worked at since she could start a fire with anything even in the rain with wet wood. She didn’t bring a stove so her only way of cooking food was over an open fire. I was impressed. About an hour later another hiker showed up. Carson and his dog Tuukka named after the goalie from the Boston Bruins. Carson was a flight test engineer. He was an interesting guy with good vibes. He was section hiking before he made a big move to DC. I could tell Tuukka was a good dog and I didn’t mind him sleeping in the shelter. As night began to fall I started to get worried about Jerod. I asked Em or Carson if they had seen him on their way. They hadn’t. I had no cell service to check in on him so I went to sleep and hopped for the best.
Miles: 2092.6 – 2103.5 (10.9)