After eating the gigantic cinnamon roll that I purchased yesterday for just this occasion, I was raring to go. I said goodbye to the last town I would see for a long time and the 7:00 am shuttle delivered me to the trailhead on ME Route 15, where I entered the 100-Mile Wilderness. For once, my morning didn’t start with a climb, and I didn’t expect any real elevation changes for the day. But the trail elevation profile in the A.T. Guide looked like the blade of a cross-cut saw so I wasn’t expecting level ground either. In any case, the trail did provide plenty of those roots for which Maine is infamous.
Today’s theme is ponds. The trail passes six ponds in six miles and the first pond on the agenda, after crossing an outlet for Spectacle Pond, was Bell Pond. Bell Pond looked very inviting in the morning light and I found myself wishing for a boat and some fishing gear. In Maine, the bodies of water that they call ponds would probably qualify as lakes in other states and Bell Pond was no exception. After passing Lily Pond, I arrived at North Pond where I imagined what it would be like to live on the island in the middle of the lake. A short while later, I arrived at another lovely body of water with the unfortunate (and non-descriptive) name of Mud Pond.
At the end of my pond tour, I was climbing through the forest when suddenly I hit my head on something and I started to black out. With the stars circling my head, I proactively took a seat on the trail before I fell, and I looked up to see a tree that had fallen across the trail. It even had a white blaze on it! I had been watching my feet as I picked my way through the roots and the top of my head hit that tree at full speed and compressed my neck. Luckily, that speed wasn’t very fast. I have suffered from neck problems for years and I was fully aware that this had the potential to be a hike ending injury. I sat on the trail for about fifteen minutes while I did my neck stretches and checked for any numbness or tingling in my extremities. Satisfied that the damage was limited to a sore neck, I stood up and continued hiking while thinking about how fortunate I was. With all the treacherous terrain that I have survived, it would have been devastating (not to mention embarrassing) to have been taken out by a white blaze.
A short time later I arrived at Little Wilson Falls where a couple of hikers were taking a break at the top of the falls. Over the millennia, the water has eroded an impressive canyon through the slate rock resulting in a waterfall that drops over 60-feet. It was, however, very difficult to photograph because of the huge contrast between the shadows and the rocks illuminated by the bright sunlight.
From Little Wilson Falls, the trail crosses Little Wilson Stream and continues along the shoreline of a beaver pond before starting a short climb to Big Wilson Cliffs. While the Big Wilson Cliffs weren’t exactly big, they did provide me with the nicest views of the day. As a bonus, the cliffs were also tree free thus eliminating any hazards on which I might bash my head. Descending from the cliffs, the remaining miles were uneventful as I continued on my way to the Wilson Valley Lean-to.
For months, I have been harboring the fantasy that Boo Boo and I would summit Mount Katahdin together. Since he and I met during our first days on the A.T., I thought it would make for an epic ending to our already epic journey. Boo Boo had been crushing miles without a break for several days and this afternoon I received a text from him stating that he would meet me tonight at the Wilson Valley Lean-to. Except for our brief visit in Gorham, NH, Boo Boo and I hadn’t spent any real time together for two months, and I couldn’t be more excited about seeing him again. With just a handful of days remaining until we reach Katahdin, is it possible that my fantasy might come true?
I was sitting in my tent as sunset was approaching and I was beginning to think that Boo Boo wasn’t going to make it when I heard “Hoo-dee-hoooo” off in the distance. A big smile spread across my face as I climbed out of my tent and responded with a “Hoo-dee-hoooo” of my own. A few minutes later, Boo Boo and another hiker named Quietman walked into camp. I wanted to give him a hug but settled for a fist bump as I joined them at the shelter and we got caught up while they ate dinner. It will be so nice to once again have a trail companion when we take off in the morning!
Date: September 2, 2017
Starting Location: ME 15, Monson, ME
Ending Location: Wilson Valley Lean-to
AT Miles Today: 10.4
AT Miles To Date: 2,085.7