Days 129-131: Mile 2,000

Day 129, 9/4/23

ME Rt 17 to ME Rt 4

13.1 miles, mile 1,977.8

I slept in until around 8am today knowing we were only slackpacking a short distance and that it would be about 5 hours of hiking. I made coffee and Kevin made scrambled eggs for both of us while Dad did up some bacon and sausage. It feels so good to start the day with real food instead of dry cereal and a granola bar.

We were back to the trail around 10:45am and finished hiking right at 3:45pm. It helped that the elevation was under 3,000 feet for once! We walked by three beautiful ponds and at the first one 3 miles into the day I couldn’t resist and needed to go for a quick swim. It was hot today so it felt great to jump in the cold water. The second pond was nearby and we stopped to look and I noticed three loons out straight ahead of us. I love seeing loons and get equally as excited every time. I also look for moose at every pond but have yet to see one.

Dad is turning into quite the trail angel and gave some hikers rides back from the grocery store on his way to the trailhead to pick us up. We ran into one of them, who was going southbound and he said “are you guys Oil Change and Loaf?” which initially took me by surprise and then I realized that he probably talked to my Dad.

We got back to the cabin and Dad grilled up some salmon and zucchini, and I made risotto. It was so delicious! After dinner I got all my gear and food together because there is a 32 mile stretch between road crossings and I didn’t really feel like trying to do that in one day. We go over the Saddlebacks tomorrow and Sugarloaf the day after. Then it’s the Bigelow range, which everyone has told us that it gets “easy” after that. We will have to see because I certainly don’t believe them.


Day 130, 9/5/23

ME Rt 4 to Barnjum Logging Rd campsite

15.4 miles, mile 1,993.2

It was a hot one today! Both Kevin and I were profusely sweating climbing up to Saddleback Mountain. I needed to sit down in the first 4 miles for a break which we usually try to go 5 before sitting down. I was too wiped to keep going and needed a couple minutes for a snack and some water. On the way up before our break we came to a pond and stopped to look for a bit and a loon popped up right out in front of us! That’s two days in a row we have got to see them. The summit of Saddleback was pretty, it was wicked hazy today so the views were a bit muted, but still impressive. Sugarloaf was visible in the distance, it looks so far away! After Saddleback we summited The Horn, and then Saddleback Jr. It was neat being in the alpine zone for a couple miles again.

On the descent from Saddleback Jr, we came to an alpine bog and I saw some brush move quickly and I looked over and there was a MOOSE!!! I was so excited but it ran off instantly before I could get a photo. It wasn’t a big moose, but it was still a moose! And I’m so happy it ran away from us instead of towards us. After we got off the (very crappy) boards, I saw the moose tracks in the mud. So it was right in the trail not long before we walked through.

Then we went down into a ravine and the rocks were so slippery. The rocks in NH were so grippy, but the rocks in Maine are so slippy (yes I know slippy isn’t a word but it sounds more fun). I took a couple more falls today even going slow. Once again I am thankfully okay! At the bottom of the ravine there was a big stream that was rock hoppable. I did almost fall in but miraculously caught myself on the rock in front of me. I am somehow both so athletic and so clumsy at the same time. There was a tin boat that had clearly been washed away when all the rain came through here. It was crazy to see how powerful that water was because the boat was a bit mangled. The crossing would have been impassable based on how high up the boat was situated. After the stream it was a steep scramble up to a logging road, and then a gradual 2 mile climb up to this logging road we are camped at.

Day 131, 9/6/23

Barnjum Logging Rd campsite to ME Rt 27

16.8 miles, mile 2,010

Today was an uneventful and very humid day of hiking. We didn’t see any wildlife, with the exception of a couple squirrels. There were only 3 other people that we saw all day, and all of them were section hikers heading southbound. Since we didn’t take the 1/2 mile side trail up to the actual summit of Sugarloaf, the views were limited to the descent. They were very pretty though, and a couple trees are starting to change color! To counter the pretty views, the descent from Sugarloaf was extremely steep and rocky. It reminded me a lot of the whites. Also on the descent, we passed the 2,000 mile marker! That was a great feeling to see the stones on the ground. Less than 200 miles to go!

Dad picked us up and when we got back to the cabin I went for a swim in the river before taking a shower. We got laundry in and tacos cooked for dinner. Tomorrow is a big day over the Bigelow range! We will be slackpacking though so hopefully the 19.5 miles won’t feel as rough.

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