I woke up to find that fog had settled into the Speck Pond Campsite permeating even the smallest cracks with moisture. After crawling into my wet clothes and putting on my wet boots, I packed up my wet gear and walked down to the shelter. If anyone stayed last night at the shelter, they were long gone by now so I took the opportunity to take some pictures of this work of art.
After leaving the misty shores of Speck Pond, the trail begins a short climb to the top of Old Speck. The trail was a rocky and muddy mess and I had to proceed carefully to avoid busting my assets. The clouds started breaking up as the morning progressed and there was a nice view from the rocky ledges nearing the mountaintop. From the summit, there was a great view of Grafton Notch which caused an idea to start hatching in my head.
My next resupply box had been mailed to the Pine Ellis Hostel in Andover, ME. I checked the A.T. Guide which showed that the Pine Ellis folks have shuttles that provide service to and from Grafton Notch. I was tired of being wet so I decided that when I got close to Grafton Notch, I would call the hostel to see if they had any room available and if they could pick me up, even though it would be yet another short day for me.
Grafton Notch is also a waypoint of sorts. I use a navigation program on my cell phone that is commonly called Guthook, after the trail name of the guy who developed the program. In the app, the A.T. is divided into nine map sections and the final section is Grafton Notch to Katahdin. It will feel like a major milestone to me when I get to load that final section.
Electing not to take the side trail to the observation tower on the summit of Old Speck, I headed down the steep trail, picking my way carefully down the wet rocks, to reach Grafton Notch three and a half miles away. A couple of miles down the trail, I arrived at a gorgeous waterfall and thought that being about a half hour from the notch, I would call the hostel. No service! You’ve got to be kidding me! I continued hiking down the trail checking my phone for service every few steps until I reached the trailhead parking lot at Grafton Notch.
You cannot imagine the psychological pain that was inflicted on me because of this lack of cell phone service. I had already visualized taking a hot shower, getting into clean clothes, and having a hot meal, so to have it suddenly snatched away was very difficult to process. My denial was so great that I continued checking for service every five minutes as I began climbing out of Grafton Notch. I guess that the need to realize my visualization was enough that, should I get a phone call to go through, I would be willing to walk in the opposite direction and repeat a couple of miles tomorrow.
In the end, I naturally accepted the reality of my situation and made the best of it. After a couple of miles, I arrived at the Baldpate Lean-to where I decided to call it quits for the day. It was early enough it the day that I had my pick of campsites and I chose the one that had the most sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees. After setting up my tent, I changed into dry clothes and spread my wet clothes, boots, and socks around the camp in each spot of sunlight I could find. By the time I was finished, my campsite looked like a hobo camp but I don’t care. I am sick and tired of wearing wet clothes!
Date: August 16, 2017
Starting Location Speck Pond Shelter & Campsite
Ending Location: Baldpate Lean-to
AT Miles Today: 6.9
AT Miles To Date: 1,924.9