Day 2: AT section hike Caratunk to Monson.
Start: camping “au sauvage” at stream before Moxie Pond) to campsite (Guthoook Guides @ mile 2065.5)
I awoke with the dawn when the Dark Sky App reported the temp at 75 with humidity at 85%. I was pleasantly surprised to be free of condensation inside my new Tarptent Double Rainbow (Lithium). Most of the time, camping right next to a water source tends to bring copious condensation on single-walled tents. Perhaps 1100 feet of elevation at the campsite sent the wetter air down the slope for once.
I ate my usual breakfast right out of a baggie: homemade granola and Nido brand dehydrated whole milk powder. I filled my 32 oz used Gatorade bottle, whose wide mouth accommodates my trusty Steripen, with 4 packets of Starbucks Instant coffee, drank half, and started hiking around 6:30 am- shirtless. The day was already humid and hot enough that I was sweating in 15 minutes.
I hadn’t realized just how close I had camped to the Moxie Pond Road. Where I exited the forest I saw evidence of the old high cable winter cables over Baker Stream. There used to be two cables stretched out over the end of Joe’s Hole. The hiker stood on the lower cable and held themself upright by holding on to the upper cable. I remember using a big carabiner to clip my pack to the upper cable and pushed it ahead of me. I am afraid of heights and it was terrifying. I am relieved its gone, and replaced by the reroute further downstream.
Unfortunately, the same sort of disturbing dead animal weirdness was back again with a rotting carcass of a fox sitting at the AT signpost just before the stream crossing. I was angry and moved past the sorry mess quickly.
Another long, hot humid day of hiking unfolded. I was hoping for a swim in Bald Mountain Pond at mile 7 but that didn’t happen. The side trail to get to the Pond led to a tiny strip of sandy beach with were several beached powerboats clustered together and a furious wind coming onto the shore so I moved on in the hope of a better choice to get in the water.
The day featured above treelike views along the ridges on Moxie Bald. Later, I was able to rinse off at Bald Mountain Pond, but had to be careful due to walking over slippery rocks to reach even knee-high depths. The muck was deep enough to discourage deep water swimming.
I know that there are hikers who report experiencing lasting insights while hiking. I’m mostly preoccupied with looking ahead, considering foot placement, and guessing how long it will take to finish certain segments of the footpath. That being said, it continues to astound me when I experience a childhood memory that appears novel and obscure. Today, I remembered standing next to a group of fourth-grade boys watching Mikey Mitchell chin a lug a whole icy cold bottle of Coca Cola on the playground of the Cathedral School in Fall River, MA. I remembered all the names of the starting football players on the 1967 team at Monsignor Coyle High School in Taunton, MA. Heavy meanings? I don’t think so! I believe it is brain synapses burping up adjacent connective fibers.
I appreciated my iPhone’s Atlas Guide in steering me to my tent site tonight and so did the two other hikers who came in after me today. Once I identified the potential campsite on the app’s map, I drew a couple quarts of water from a stream identified with an icon a couple of tenths of a mile before the campsite itself. We were able to spread out a good distance from each other at the grassy site, with one of the hikers hammocking up in the woods adjacent and the other a good thirty feet away.
I enjoyed chatting with the guys. We were all in our shelters before the dark even settled in. I fell asleep on top of my sleeping bag and slept better than I had the night before.