Good morning neighbors. Today’s word is “wet.” Can you say “wet?” I knew that you could. The bad news is that the unsettled weather caused by what is left of Hurricane Harvey continues to make the sky leak. I’m starting to think that Boo Boo totally made the right call by getting off the trail to let this weather system pass. The good news is that, except for one 400-foot bump, the trail today is completely flat. With that piece of good news on my mind, I packed up my gear and traded the dry interior of the lean-to for the mud of the trail.
Shortly after leaving the East Branch Lean-to, I arrived at the East Branch of the Pleasant River. The A.T. Guide listed this crossing as a ford, but I managed to carefully rock hop across on some wet and slippery rocks. This turned out to be good practice and a warm-up for the rocky outlet of Mountain View Pond which I encountered about 30-minutes later. Next, the short but steep climb up and over Little Boardman Mountain was easily conquered leaving nothing but flat trail ahead. There was supposed to be a nice view from the top of the mountain, but everything was obscured by the clouds.
At the base of Little Boardman Mountain, the trail crosses the Kokadjo-B Pond Road, the third road I’ve crossed since entering the 100-Mile Wilderness. Just like the others, though, it was completely deserted. Continuing down the trail, I passed the lovely Crawford Pond and a couple of picturesque streams as I made my way through the wet but wonderful forest.
Just prior to reaching Jo-Mary Road, I came across the most unusual thing that I ever expected to see in the 100-Mile Wilderness. Sitting in the middle of the trail were three cans of cold Mountain Dew! I was so surprised that I decided to leave them be so that it would be equally surprising to the next person behind me to come across this display. When I reached Jo-Mary Road, there was a small parking area beside the trail with a pickup truck parked there. I could see a man sitting inside the truck and as I approached he got out of the truck and asked me if I was hungry. I was thinking, “Does a bear shit in the woods?” but, instead of saying that, I mumbled something about hikers always being hungry.
The man with the truck introduced himself and during our subsequent conversation, I learned that he had staged the cans of Mountain Dew and his daughter, who I didn’t know, was thru-hiking with a couple of friends and should arrive in about 30-minutes to pick up a food resupply. I also learned that Mary-Jo Road is a private road but that you can use it for a fee of $14 per day. After offering me a seat under the tarp that was protecting the opening of the cap on his pick-up truck from the rain, he offered me a big bowl of Chef Boyardee ravioli from a pot that was simmering on a stove sitting on his tailgate. I’m not usually a fan of Chef Boyardee but for some reason, this was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. When I finished my warm ravioli, I thanked the man profusely for his trail magic and continued down the trail thinking, “Did that really just happen out here in the wilderness?”
With my tummy full of canned Italian goodness, I didn’t mind so much that the trail was a sloppy wet mess. After passing the shore of Copper Pond, I hiked along the serene Cooper Brook for a while before crossing yet another deserted logging road. For a brief moment near the road, I thought I could detect the faint smell of cooking ravioli, but it turned out to be an olfactory hallucination brought on by wishful thinking.
After hiking for 16-miles, I arrived at the Antlers Campsite on the edge of Jo-Mary Lake where I decided to stop for the night. While this campsite was pretty in the rain, I’m sure the setting would be spectacular in good weather. I dug into my food bag hoping to replicate the culinary joy that I experienced earlier in the day, but I could only come up with a sorry substitute. At this point, my food bag is looking alarmingly empty, so I need to spend some time this evening examining my food inventory to figure out why.
Date: September 6, 2017
Starting Location: East Branch Lean-to
Ending Location: Antlers Campsite
AT Miles Today: 16.0
AT Miles To Date: 2,138.0