I woke up with much anticipation for today’s hike. The morning was clear, which was a total plus for me. I have exited various tents enough rainy mornings to deeply appreciate today’s dry conditions. Little things can matter in a big way, if you let them.
Our routine out on the Trail each morning is much the same as it is at home, namely me up at the crack of dawn and Auntie Mame approaching her own awakening process in a much more leisurely manner.
Before things got too busy, i decided to I walk down to Horns Pond to try and see a moose. No luck this morning.
Back at the site, I fired up the stove, boiled a quart of water, made drip grind coffee, mixed up a couple of packs of oatmeal, then just sat on the big rock and allowed the coffee and food to settle in and eventually get me rolling. I was pretty much was satisfied staring off into space for a while.
Mame was soon up, and we slowly collected our respective gear and did what we love to do: walk.
There was no need to push today. We planned to walk out of the tent site, head toward the ancient lean-to just above the pond, hang a left on the AT and head down back to the car and drive home.
Looking at our map, I thought we’d head down the whole way, but we quickly found ourselves headed up hill yet again, where we quickly took a short blue-blazed side trail to an overlook taking in one last grand view of Horn’s Pond and a northern glance at the Bigelow range we had already traversed.
The deal was up, then some level walking , followed by a big mess of downhills.
This section of the AT, from Horns Pond to the Bigelow access road is especially beautiful. In addition to the usual rocks, roots, and ruts, we even encountered a bench sited tastefully beside a bend in a stream framing a massive fern-covered boulder.
I also registered a decent campsite not far from the end of our hike.
Once we hit the access road, we had about 1.5 miles of walking to reach the car. I suggested Mame consider walking the last AT mile out to Route 27, while I retrieved the car, but we both ended up heading to the car. We ditched our packs on the side of the road, and I hadn’t walked more than 100 feet or so when I remembered that my car keys were in my pack. I doubled back, but no amount of my fast walking allowed me to catch Mame’s rabbit pace.
We were easily done with the 5 miles before noon, and decided to stop in Kingfield for a real sit down lunch. I favor a turkey club sandwich with fries and a cup of soup when I can get it.
We didn’t want this trip to end, and we quickly patched together a plan to head over to our camp on Hobbs Pond in Hope, rather than return home this afternoon. It is a quiet spot just 10 minutes’ drive from our home, with a real bed, and although it has no real shower, a quick dip in the pond is enough for me to wash away the layer of grit and sweat. On the way over, we picked up a half dozen ears of corn and some fresh tomatoes from a farm stand. To round out the meal, we fired up the grill and broiled up a couple of burgers. The tiny camp is surrounded by huge oak trees, and the cool evening breeze off the pond blew through the open windows to guarantee us a comfortable night in the forest that we’d savor until next time.