Days 132-133: Queen Karen

Day 132, 9/7/23

ME Rt 27 to Long Falls Dam Rd

19.5 miles, mile 2,029.5

The Bigelow Range is beautiful. We had the summits to ourselves and only saw some southbounders up until the very end of the day. About three miles from where we were getting picked up there was some trail magic from a man who has been doing it for 22 years! He was nice to talk to and I drank a soda and also talked with some other northbound hikers.

After we continued hiking on, we were down at Flagstaff Lake and we went for a quick swim. The water was pretty warm and the view across the lake was pretty. Once we had our shoes back on and got to the trail a black lab came running around the corner. Turns out his name is Kevin! We laughed and were like, “His name is Kevin too!” Kevin gave Kevin some pets and we talked with the owners for a bit.

When we got down to the road, Dad and Karen were sitting in lawn chairs with a little table and Karen was drinking some wine. It was a funny sight to see on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere Maine. Karen went all out on some amazing chicken parm, and she has a daughter with celiac disease and understands how to cook gluten free food safely. It is a relief that she knows about celiac instead of having to explain it’s not just an intolerance but an autoimmune disease. I ate 1/2 pound of pasta, chicken and meatballs. I can’t believe I ate the whole plate, but I was insanely hungry.

Day 133, 9/8/23

US Rt 201 to Long Falls Dam Rd

17.5 miles, mile 2,047

Today was our first time slackpacking southbound on trail. It wasn’t our choice to, but we needed to due to the Kennebec River. There is no footbridge over the river, and the AT (for some unknown reason) doesn’t go over a road bridge. It is not possible to wade through the 400-foot-wide river, especially this year with all the rain. To remedy this, there is a “ferry” which is a canoe rowed by volunteers. It only runs from 9am-2pm for free, or you can schedule a crossing (which they can decline) for $50. Since the river is right at the end of the northbound route, I did not want to try to hike 17.5 miles by 2pm and risk missing it with none of our gear. So southbound was the best option for today, although there was more elevation going south than north unfortunately. It still wasn’t bad at around 2,500 feet.

We got to the ferry right at 8:45am and the volunteer came right over and started talking to us. We explained we were northbound but slacking south because of the crossing. Kevin helped him carry the canoe down and paddle across. It was quick to get across and we started hiking right away!

The hiking was uneventful yet again. The best part of the day was going by two ponds that provided sparkly water and a nice break. There were a lot of northbound hikers on trail that we passed going the other way.

Now we are back at the cabin, drinks in hand, ready to enjoy two zeros!

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