We were up and at ’em sometime around 6 AM when Team Canada lit up the place and downed huge bowls of Captain Crunch before they headed up to try and reach Baxter Peak, traverse the Knife Edge, and then hobble back here to Katahdin Stream campground. Wish I knew how it all played out for them.
What an enjoyable and easy seven mile hike we had today! We had light rain just at the start, for about two miles, but the rain worked with the colorful leaves to draw our attention to the mottled landscapes that surrounded us. The ground was coated with reddish maple and yellowed birch leaves. There were many streams to cross, and greasy puncheons to test our Slip and Slide skills.
We stopped for lunch, where I fired up my stove.
I was very pleased at the taste and quality of my newly found Campbell’s soup packet, plus there is no can to pack out. Pat and Marcia are great hiking partners. Pat has a keen eye for wildlife. He spotted this spotted salamander partially hidden by the fallen leaves.
Even Martha didn’t complain much when she slipped, fell, and drenched her butt in a cold puddle.
When we reached Whitten Pond, there was nothing but fog in front of us.
No moose sightings here.
We passed three massive boulders left behind by the retreating glaciers some 12,000 years ago.
The biggest one was “house-sized”, for sure.
Two stream crossings of the Wassatiquoik were deep enough that we switched out hiking boots for Tevas and Crocs, and just plough through the rushing waters.
The cold freshness felt good on my feet and lasted a surprisingly long time.
Marcia was impressive on point in moving us along at a steady 2.4 mph clip, despite the rain-lubrication layer covering the ever present bare root and lichen-encrusted granite pathway below.
We reached the Russell Pond Campground by 1:20 PM; a superb start to day 1 of our Columbus Day Weekend. It was no longer raining, and we threw our packs down at the weighing station.
Both Pat’s and my pack tipped the scales at 42 pounds. How the heck did that happen?
At Russell, we were checked in by Brendan, the ranger, who lives near us and has been working here for 21 years. He let us borrow a bow saw and led us to a recently fallen dry maple that provided us with firewood for the bunkhouse. He came over later and visited with us after it started raining again. It was tough to hear that there was a cache of dry split firewood locked up is a big plywood box on the bunkhouse porch that was being saved for upcoming winter season. If I had known that there was no firewood for sale here I would have packed in my axe that is sitting in my car back in the Roaring Brook lot.
Marcia cooked our supper of steak, fresh zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes on top of the wood stove here. I made up a aluminum pie tin filled with no-bake Cherry Cheesecake for dessert.
The other party of four renting out the second 4 bunk sleeping room never showed up so we had the whole bunkhouse to our selves for the rest of the weekend.