Margarita Killed a Frog
We awoke to slightly wet tents. I slept through most of the rain, so stepping out confirmed the moderate precipitation over night. We packed up quickly, used the very nice privy at this shelter, and moved to tackle the final range until the 100 mile wilderness—the Bigelows! Margaritaville, who always walked in front of me, killed a frog with her trekking poles. I’d regard this as pretty traumatic, as I watched her pole tip stab an innocent frog who’s body naturally started undulating. This trail can be dangerous—for the frogs at least.
Aside from Margarita murdering an innocent frog, the climb up the Horn was fairly easy. The ground was a tad wet from the rain last night, but going uphill isn’t too much of an issue with wet trail. Downhill was a different story though. I found myself slipping from slick tree roots and rocks. Margarita did not experience this though. We scaled the final Bigelow peaks at a decently fast pace. We got to Avery Peak and took a second to look off to what we thought was Katahdin. We were told that Katahdin was sometimes visible from here. We descended from Avery Peak which signaled the end of the really hard stuff. From here on, we were told, things would start to get easier.
But on the AT nothing is easy. I fell four times descending Avery Peak slipping on rocks and roots. Flashbacks to a friend back in DC who said “I think you’ll make it to Southern Maine and get hurt and quit.” Luckily, I wasn’t that hurt, and we pressed on. We stopped for water and lunch at a brook at the base of Avery Peak. Here we met a SOBO couple who asked us the hilarious question of “when does the trail get harder?” Margarita and I laughingly said “Now.” This gave us hope to what was in store next.
After a bit we started down the trail again and were pleased to see that the trail did in fact get easier. Miles of flat, smooth trail ensued which was great news to our tired legs and feet. We zoomed down the trail and were making great time for the day. The goal was to get to Pierce Pond Lean-to at a reasonable time. At this Lean-to, a sporting camp is nearby and the owner of this camp cooks breakfast for hikers who pass through for $12. This was our incentive to hurry. The trail did get flatter, but this didn’t mean the roots or rocks disappeared. These guys persisted and the trail near the beaches actually had more roots I felt.
By 6:00 we got to the Lean-To. We took a blue blaze trail to the sporting camp and knocked on the door looking for a man named Tim Harrison. We eventually found him and introduced ourselves as hikers who’d like to reserve a seat at the breakfast table. He kindly gave us the run down of the breakfast deal and also gave us some free ramens for tonights dinner. I didn’t get much time to explore the lodge at the camp, but I was blown away by the room I entered in. It definitely had the New England, rustic feel about it. A pool table, an old time piano, taxidermy animals (I think that’s what I saw), and a wood fire place. All the ingredients for a New England home.
We walked back to the Lean-to and found a boys summer camp inhabiting the shelter. We met the group leaders and even exchanged stories with the boys who piled in the shelter with us while we ate our dinners. They were very much like the girls group we had seen a few days ago. They asked us questions about our trip, and we asked them questions about theirs as the sun started to set across the pond. It was a peaceful way to end a very long day.
We knew our journey was coming to an end.
Pierce Pond Lean-to
In Honor of the frog that died:
Hardest nature edit you’ll ever see pic.twitter.com/pvrOV89o71
— @Frog (@FrogOnIG) May 20, 2022
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