I slept last night from 8-1, read for a little bit, then slept again from 3-7. I then dozed off and on for another 90 minutes, and laid around a couple more hours reading. I finally feel caught up on rest.
I ate a late breakfast while finishing my book, spent some time planning other hikes and writing, then grabbed some snacks and headed out for a hike. Driving just a little way back down Roaring Brook Road brought me to Avalanche Field and the Katahdin Lake Trailhead. I signed into the register and got moving.
The Katahdin Lake Trail is a very easy one, mostly a double track and with plenty of puncheon and bridges along the way. There were also several spots that had surveyor’s tape marked with “5 stepping stones needed here” or “45′ of bog bridges needed there” so it appears that they will be improving the trail even more soon. It was mostly dry at this time of year though and only had one or two patches of mud.
It took me just over an hour to go the 3.2 miles to the lake and its day use and canoe rental areas. The day use area was just a picnic table under a pavilion roof, with not much open shoreline to speak of, so I kept going to check out the canoe rentals and look for a better swimming spot. Baxter State Park has canoes left out at various lakes and ponds for people to rent at the amazing rate of $1/hour or $8/day. Some of them are left unlocked, but some are locked and you need to get the key from a ranger. I had tried to check in with the ranger about it before heading out but he wasn’t in so I figured I’d see if there were any unlocked.
When I arrived at the day use canoe area, there were actually people bringing them back in, so I wouldn’t have been able to get the key anyway since they had it. The canoes were huge in any case, not my favorite thing to haul around solo.
There are also a couple of shelters on the lake with their own unlocked canoes, but people reserve the shelters and presumably the canoes along with them. I didn’t want to intrude to investigate.
The day use canoe area did have a shallow pebble beach so I walked along it until I found a spot with no weeds growing in the water, changed into my bathing suit, and went in for a quick rinse. The water was shallow as well so I had to crouch down to dunk myself in all the way.
After, I sat on the beach for a little while, drying and snacking, then I put my sweaty clothes back on over my bathing suit to hike back to the car. The cooling effect of the wet bathing suit didn’t last for more than half a mile into the still, hot woods, and I was soon just as sweaty as before I’d gone swimming.
I made good time back to the car, drove back to the campsite, and decided to go downstream to the swimming hole mentioned on the sign there to rinse off again. However, I couldn’t find a spot more than a foot deep, not to mention I got annoyed after I caught some guy peeing in the water and some woman cheerfully putting soap in it (LNT no-nos), so I decided to just do a wet wipe bath at my campsite instead.
I laid out all my clothes to dry while I cooked dinner, but soon found myself gathering them all up again as it started to sprinkle. Rain always makes me grateful for a shelter. I easily got all my things under cover and had a dry spot to sit and watch my campsite turn into one giant puddle while I ate dinner. Then it was easy enough to retire into my tent in the shelter (I put it up again in case of bugs) to do some reading and writing.