100 Mile Wilderness, Day 3 (Long Pond Stream Lean-To to West Chairback Pond)

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(Note: this is part three of a multi-part series on the summer 2017 attempt at the 100 Mile Wilderness by dad, 40, and daughter, 11)
Our third day, July 2, 2017, we got an early start, even though all our clothes and socks were wet, and the area around the tent was a mud pit.  The morning light revealed tents around us, almost on top of each other, as people had crowded in the Long Pond Lean-To site to escape the strong thunderstorms overnight.  We enjoyed wonderful views on the way up Barren Mountain, as well as birdsongs we had been hearing throughout from a warbler, whose music we would hear throughout the hike whenever we got to higher elevations.  We also saw small finch-like birds with dark heads near the summits, but could not figure out if they were the singers.
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The light was particularly beautiful in the morning, and dad captured a good shot of daughter walking through the rays of sun during the ascent of Barren.  The temperature rose quickly.  We broke into our dark chocolate trail mix for the first time at the Barren Mountain Ledges, and found that this was one of the few food items of which we did not get tired.
We had a tough time with some of the map landmarks, and were briefly discouraged until we were suddenly on the peak of Barren Mountain, next to an abandoned fire tower.  We met another hiker there with his elderly father, who had hurt his ankle, and they were debating their options.  It was a very wet hike, and every hiker coming southbound seemed to make a comment about the wet, boggy conditions.
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Fourth Mountain had a bog with insectivorous pitcher plants, something we had not seen, so we took photos of those.  Third Mountain had great views, but, seemingly, many consecutive summits, and we were ecstatic when we reached the side trail to West Chairback Pond.  We had done 9.2 miles over the Barren-Chairback Range, and another .2 to the beautiful campsite overlooking the pond, which we discovered was, unfortunately, teeming with aggressive leeches.
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The shore contained several boats and canoes, and we wondered how (other than via the Appalachian Trail) people got in to use these.
We made a small campfire to boost morale, dry some of our equipment, and keep away the worst of the mosquitoes.  Despite (or maybe because of) the large number of fallen trees around, dad had a rough time finding a suitable spot to hang the bear bag.  With no other campers around and the strong smell of food, this was a priority.  Dad had Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki for dinner, and daughter had Pepper Steak.
Because the tent was still damp from the thunderstorms the night before, we left the rain fly off the tent, and were able to see the stars all night through the mesh above.

100 Mile Wilderness, Day 2 (Big Wilson Stream to Long Pond Stream Lean-To)

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(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.