We only had 10 miles to hike today to get to the base of Katahdin so we had a lazy morning at the campground. The restaurant there was opening at 11:00 so we waited for that and then had a long lunch. While we were there, trucks kept showing up in the parking lot with moose in them. Apparently it was opening day of moose hunting season and they can weigh the moose and check in with the game wardens there. So I got to see a bunch of moose today, but they were all dead.
We finally got hiking at 1:30, entered Baxter State Park right away, and the first several miles were easy, clear, level trail, literally a walk in the park. Then we got to the Nesowadnehunk Stream, of which my guide told me both forks might require fording. Since the majority of the other streams and rivers it listed as definite fords were rock hoppable, we were all sure that these would be too. Instead, the first one was the hardest ford I’ve done.
We went upstream a ways looking for a place to rock hop but all the rocks were super slick and every path had at least one part where they were too far apart. So we forded. It was up to mid thigh in the rushing part of the water and it took me a few minutes to find good enough footing to not slip back with the current. Mailman and I had both brought our crocs so we threw them back across the stream for Stretch and Little Bear once we made it across. LostNFound tried to go over a less deep path with more rocks and she slipped and hit her knees pretty hard. Smiley went back across and they took the high water bypass trail instead.
The next fork looked like it might be rock hoppable but most people going that route got their feet wet any way. I really do not like slick rocks so I’d rather just get in the water to begin with than risk slipping in and hurting myself. I went downstream a bit and was able to ford at knee depth.
Smiley and LostNFound caught up from the bypass at the other side of that ford. She was moving okay but painfully. I only had my slackpack so I took her large pack, and gave her my headlamp since she’d forgotten hers and wouldn’t make it back before dark at her pace. It was getting late but I could make it if I booked it. Plus, I figured I could always stop and wait for someone else in the group to show up with their headlamp if it got dark before I made it to the campground.
The trail got pretty rocky and rooty from there but I still made good time and hit the Katahdin Stream Campground before dark. It had started getting pretty dark in the woods since they were dense but as long as I slowed down, I was fine. Smiley and LostNFound had actually managed to hitch a ride from an earlier parking lot the trail crossed so he started walking back out with my headlamp to meet me and got to me right before I hit the road.
Stretch’s mom met us at the campground too and had soda and hoagies for us for dinner, and Papa Bear had started a nice campfire. We hung around that until the wood ran out and then headed for bed. It had been sprinkling and misting off and on all day but it finally tapered off late.
1 day and 5.1 miles to go!