It was another warm night and I was awoken in the middle of it by Chuckles whisper-yelling at an animal. Apparently, a skunk was walking around and had walked right over Kyle in his bivy sack.
I woke again later in the morning and we all had a leisurely breakfast before going back to the road. Jon and Kyle decided to walk again while Chuckles and Spoon and I opted to hitch. Unfortunately, all the trucks that had been driving by disappeared and the sporadic cars that did go by did not stop. We decided to start walking but still hitch, which we did for about a quarter mile before admitting defeat. Getting picked up after that point would just be embarrassing since we’d have only a little more than a half mile to go. We walked back down to meet the others at the Old Corner Store and they refrained from mocking us, which would have been very appropriate.
We walked down Route 2 a little bit more, then a few residential roads, arriving at the Starr King Trailhead shortly after. It was a couple of miles up the Starr King Trail to the summit of Mount Starr King at 3907′ and it felt like actual, established hiking trail again. It was steep and took longer than I expected, but at least I knew where I was going and wasn’t in the weeds.
We hung out on the open summit for a snack while waiting to regroup and then continued over the ridge on the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to Mount Waumbek at 4006′. There was a small clearing just after its summit where we took lunch.
The Kilkenny Ridge Trail then took us over South Weeks at 3885′, Middle Weeks at 3684′, and Mount Weeks at 3901′. The trail after Waumbek was very overgrown and clearly not used much. My feet were definitely getting tired and I slowed way down on the descent to Willard Notch.
The databook was unclear about the intersections in the notch but I figured out from the signs and the map how to get up to Terrace Mountain. I caught up to Spoon and we both very slowly slogged up the trail, which was steep and rough and barely had a comfortable spot to stop and stand for a minute. When we got to the top, we had to take the supposedly .1 mile (felt much longer) spur trail to the summit at 3655′. Then it was more slow-going ridge trail over two more summits of Terrace Mountain to Bunnell Notch.
We turned onto the Bunnell Notch Trail for a bit and then turned again to head up Mount Cabot. We planned to stay at Cabot Cabin just before the summit and knew that the water there was very hard to find. I had heard water rushing in the woods to the south while on the Bunnell Notch Trail but decided not to bushwhack down to it. Heading up the mountain, there was a seep going across the trail that I decided to stop and grab an extra liter of water at, even if it took me ten minutes to collect it from the slow flow. Better ten minutes sitting than ten minutes or more bushwhacking 400′ steeply downhill (and then back up!), which is where the water at the cabin supposedly was.
The rest of the hike up Cabot felt way longer than the mileage indicated in the databook. I stopped only briefly to see the view on Bunnell Rock before continuing up the trail. I could see the sun setting as I gained elevation and made it to Cabot Cabin just at dusk after 15.8 miles for the day.
The cabin was enclosed, musty-smelling, and had foam sleeping pads stapled to the bunks, which really grossed me out. Most of us had planned on sleeping inside, but in the end, no one wanted to. We even sat outside to cook dinner and eat in the dark. We did hang some gear inside, including sweat-soaked clothes we were hoping might dry overnight while not taking on too much of the cabin’s smell.
Jon and Kyle set up in the couple of flattish spots in the woods nearby and Chuckles and Spoon and I set up on the porch. My feet were killing me and all I wanted to do was lay down. But we stayed awake for a bit talking about how cute Brendan Fraser was in The Mummy, which is very timely and relevant.