Wednesday, September 9th: East Flagstaff Lake to Caratunk-19.1 miles
Canoe across the Kennebec
From a tougher than expected day to an easier one, things do sometimes balance out. I had a fitful night though, not sleeping well at all. At first I awoke to a few light raindrops and so hastened to put up my tarp only for it to never actually rain. I proceeded to wake up multiple times, anticipating the alarm I had set for the first time on trail. I had to make 19 miles before 4pm and so wanted to get an early start.
That I did in fact do. I left camp before 6:30 and marched my way straight down those miles. I made the miles with only brief stops and was surprised to find that I had reached the shores of the Kennebec River and it was only 2:30. The Kennebec is a wide river, about waist deep when I crossed it, but it is dammed further up, so it can swell rapidly when the dam is released. For this reason the ATC advises hikers not to ford the river but instead get ferried across by canoe.When I got there David waved to me from across the river and then paddled across to pick me up. He has quite and efficient system set up and I hopped in and paddled across with him.
Just a tenth of a mile further than the river is Caratunk, Maine, a town as small as it sounds. I got a hitch two miles up the road to Northern Outdoors, and outdoor center with all sorts of activities. I got one of their cabin tents for the night, basically a wooden platform and frame with canvas stretched over it and a bed inside.
After checking in I had almost the whole afternoon to relax, so I did my laundry, showered, and then relaxed in their lounge. I had an early dinner at their brewpub and splurged on dessert, 3 mini-cheesecakes with blueberries. Now I’m turning in early, glad to have a chance for more rest.
Thursday, September 10th: Caratunk to Moxie Bald-18.8 miles
Pictures: Moxie Bald view
I slept well last night but still woke up early. I packed up before going and getting some breakfast at the lodge. I had intended to be good and eat my own breakfast from my food bag, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. I got a surprisingly quick hitch back to the trail and was moving again by 8:15. The days are becoming more of just obstacles to get through. With the end so close I’m pushing hard and just want to get these miles done. My feet are feeling repercussions of that resolution as they’re the sorest they’ve been for some time.
Still the trail provides moments that jar me out of my goal oriented mentality and make me grateful for the journey. Yesterday and unexpected waterfall, today a startlingly gorgeous view from a low mountain top. Even when I’m not looking the trail is still providing splendor and wonder.