No one was eager to get moving this morning because we had to ford the west branch of the Pleasant River first thing and it was sure to be cold. I rocked hopped it half way across and then ran out of rocks and had to step in. It was painful, it was so cold, and I was happy to get out. At least it was shallow, below my knees. I had taken my socks, gaiters, and insoles off before crossing, and I spent several minutes wringing as much water out of my shoes as possible, so I didn’t have to hike with soaking wet feet to start with. This was the only ford of the day so it was worth it to keep slightly drier than the average ford.
Barter forded in his crocs in order to keep his boots dry and was going to just carry them all day until we had the idea to send them back across the river to Whisper and Papa Bear with Riner. Riner will chase anything you throw so Barter clipped his crocs to Riner’s collar, and he and Little Bear threw rocks and sticks farther and farther across the river to get Riner to go back. Then Whisper and Papa Bear started throwing things closer and closer to them until Riner made it to land and they could get the shoes. Just then Hotspot came up to cross and we told him to wear the crocs and we’d do it again. The second time took much longer to get Riner across, he really wanted to play fetch.
A ridgerunner came up as we were doing this and said we were the laziest bunch of thru hikers he’d ever seen and he meant that as a compliment. It’s almost a game to see how lazy you can be while still hiking over two thousand miles. Katahdin closes on the 15th, here it is the 11th, and we should be running. He just happened upon us basking in the sun while trying to get the dog to do things for us. Oops.
We went over four peaks of three mountains today: Gulf Hagas Mountain, Hay Mountain, and White Cap Mountain. We had heard it would be a hard day but it wasn’t bad at all. They were the last big climbs for a while and we will now stay below 2,000′ of elevation until Katahdin. I also caught my first glimpse of Katahdin today, from the north side of White Cap. It was hazy but the biggest thing around.
We did only 14.4 miles to a road to meet the trucks, ate dinner, and went to bed early. The next two days are flat but very long.
4 days and 69.8 miles to go!