While we were gathering for breakfast at the White House Landing, Bill told us that he had earlier seen a bull moose down by the water, so I walked over to where he said he had seen it, to determine if it was still there. I have already seen several moose along the trail but none of them had been bulls. It was a gorgeous cool morning at the lake without a cloud in the sky or any wind to disturb the water. The moose had apparently moved on, so I returned to the lodge for breakfast. Bill cooked up a batch of bacon, eggs, and blueberry pancakes which quickly disappeared and since the pancakes were “all you can eat,” I asked Bill for a second stack. During checkout, I also purchased some items from their limited selection to supplement my food supply (mostly Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies).
After breakfast, we all climbed into the boat and Bill drove us back to the dock where we returned to the trail. For several miles, the trail follows the banks of the Nahmakanta Stream and crosses several feeder streams along the way. At my very first stream crossing, I was attempting to cross on a log when I slipped and both feet (along with my finally dry shoes and socks) went into the water up to my shins. When I came to the ford of Tumbledown Dick Stream a few minutes later, since I was already wet, I just walked across without breaking my stride. There was a set of steps on the opposite bank that looked like a ship’s ladder and I couldn’t imagine how they managed to get it into the wilderness.
Following several more stream crossings, I arrived at the shoreline of Nahmakanta Lake. The trail follows the shoreline for at least a half mile and provides multiple opportunities for views and access to the water. Along the way, I passed the Wadleigh Stream Lean-to where I briefly stopped for a break. On the wall of the lean-to, a memorial was posted that served as a stark reminder to live each day to the fullest.
Nesuntabunt Mountain is the last bump in the road that I will encounter before Mount Katahdin. The 700-foot climb to the summit wasn’t too bad and once at the top, I was rewarded with some spectacular views overlooking Nahmakanta Lake. On the mountain’s north peak, I took a short side trail to a rocky outcropping for an awesome view of Mount Katahdin. The summit was still in the clouds, but there was enough of the mountain’s flanks exposed to display Katahdin’s immensity. From this spot, I was only 16-miles away from Katahdin, as the crow flies, but there were still over 36-miles of A.T. to go due to its meandering course around the lakes ahead.
Later in the afternoon, there were a few passing showers that came by to keep things real. There was a steady rain coming down as I passed Crescent Pond and, unfortunately, it was still coming down when I reached the viewpoint of Pollywog Gorge which prevented me from seeing it. By the time I reached the end of the descent from Nesuntabunt Mountain, however, the clouds were starting to break up allowing me to get a nice picture of Pollywog Stream. Shortly after crossing Pollywog Stream, the trail arrives at the Rainbow Stream Cascades and continues to follow the west bank of Rainbow Stream until it reaches the Rainbow Stream Lean-to.
It was late in the day (almost 6:00 pm) when I arrived at the Rainbow Stream Lean-to and the place was packed. Not only was the lean-to full but there appeared to be about thirty people camped behind the lean-to. I quickly secured the best available spot to pitch my tent before heading back down to the lean-to area to get some water from the stream. Most of the folks at the lean-to were finishing up with dinner and everyone seemed to be a jovial mood. All the NOBO thru-hikers (myself included) were congratulating each other on their accomplishment and that is when it first hit me. I am almost finished. In three days I will summit Mount Katahdin and my hike will be over. There were suddenly a lot of conflicting emotions for me to process.
Date: September 8, 2017
Starting Location: White House Landing
Ending Location: Rainbow Stream Lean-to
AT Miles Today: 15.6
AT Miles To Date: 2,159.7