I’m at a cabin in Rangeley, Maine. It is not to be confused with “the” Cabin of Honey and Bear in Andover. Molar Man, Sweet Tooth, Susquehanna Slim, and I will be here only one night. Tomorrow night MM, Slim, and I will be back in the woods. But for tonight we’re living in luxury, at least according to AT standards. A front porch looks out to a scenic lake. A cool, autumn like breeze reminds me to put on long sleeves before walking to the post office. The Blueberry Festival kicked off today. Much is happening in Rangeley, Maine.
Earlier this morning the group made its final appearance at the General Store and Diner in Andover for breakfast. Wanting to get to the trail before 7:00, we arrived at the diner at 5:00. The two cups of coffee, however, didn’t keep me from getting drowsy on the drive up ME 17. That drowsiness wore off quickly as my buddies and I started up the trail at 6:42. With very little elevation change, today’s hike proved to be about as agreeable as any I’ve experienced since Vermont. Mud continued to force various acrobatic maneuvers to prevent submersion, but it did appear a little firmer since there hadn’t been any rain over the past 24 hours.
Ponds definitely highlighted the day. First came Moxie Pond followed by the much larger Long Pond. We almost completely circled Long. At one point a sign indicating “Beach” stood just off the trail adjacent to a sandy spot with two benches. We chose to forgo swimming. We also walked past the trail to the Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to. Then at Little Swift River Pond we broke for lunch. I walked down by the water where two canoes were lying next to the bank. Torch, Sinner, and Pumpkin Head lounged by the pond. Still no moose were in sight.
Before reaching ME 4 to Rangeley we passed two more ponds in the afternoon: Chandler Mill and South Pond. I took pics of each and as always thought about Don and how much he loved to fish. A reader on trail journals recently commented about my opening page always being of my brother and the big bass. That’s no accident. I set it that way. I want all my followers to know what this hike is all about. I want them to see a picture of a man who loved the outdoors all his life. I also want to continuously remind myself of what a fine man he was in all respects. The AT provides the hiker with all that nature has to offer. Most of all it’s about the woods, and Don loved the woods.
After a rather short 13.2 mile day we found ourselves in Rangeley before 2:30. After showering I walked to the post office to pick up my last pair of Brooks Cascadias Trail Runners. This shoe has served me well throughout the hike. I also bought another pair of smart wool socks and treated myself to a large ice cream cone. Later in the afternoon Molar Man, Sweet Tooth, Slim, and I ate at a bar-b-cue place. We also shopped for some groceries in preparation for our night in the woods. Sunshine and a morning in the 40’s awaits us as we continue walking through Maine on the Appalachian Trail.