(Note: this is part two of a multi-part series on the summer 2017 attempt at the 100 Mile Wilderness by dad, 40, and daughter, 11)
At 5.9 miles on July 1, 2017, this was our lowest mileage day, due to the many river fords, challenging terrain, and the wet conditions. We left our campsite and hiked to the river ford at Big Wilson Stream (we would also ford Wilber Brook and Vaughn Stream). We heard a train behind us, well after we had crossed the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railroad right-of-way.
Long Pond Stream was a harrowing crossing, as the rain had swollen the stream into a river, and the trail crossing site consisted of a threadbare rope across rapids. Dad crossed there, and lost a flip-flop almost immediately. Daughter crossed upstream, and we were putting our shoes back on when she couldn’t find one of her socks. We looked back across the torrent, and saw a lone wool sock sitting there on a rock. Dad waited while daughter crossed and brought it back, the same way she had come before.
(Here is a great post from the Hiking Life on how to ford a river.)
The hike uphill to Long Pond Stream Lean-To was strenuous, and we were both impressed by the river gorge below us on the way up. We had agreed to alternate planning our route/stopping point each day, so we got into our first real trail argument over where we would try to make it. Daughter was tough, and enthusiastic about trying to make it to Cloud Pond Lean-To (4 miles up Barren Mountain past Long Pond Stream Lean-To). Due to the darkening clouds and the lateness in the day, dad proposed Long Pond Stream.
A helpful Appalachian Trail volunteer ambassador unwittingly resolved our dispute when we met her headed down the trail in the opposite direction. She told us that there was not much good water available on the mountain peaks, and that the weather made Long Pond a better destination tonight. We pulled into the Long Pond Stream Lean-To area shortly thereafter, greeted the people in the lean-to, and looked for a level campsite. We found one uphill, and set up our tent just in time, as the rain began coming down hard, and many other people arrived, looking for places to pitch tents. Dad had Chili Mac for dinner, and daughter had Chicken Teriyaki. Thunderstorms and hard rain all night. When daughter saw dad’s pruny, swollen feet at the end of the day, she said they looked like “a princess’s worst nightmare.”
In the same vein, the hike today was a wet slog, and the only pictures we took were of some interesting mushrooms on the side of a tree, which were surrounded by slugs.
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