8 , 1983 Thursday (169.6 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
the hike proved very relaxing and pleasant. Only one real mountain,
Roundtop, presented any level of difficulty, and it was right at
the beginning of the day, immediately beyond the shelter. The remainder
of the walk was amongst the Carry Ponds, very picturesque ponds
with rocks and dri-ki (driftwood) along the shore. East Carry Pond
also had a nice sandy beach that looked inviting, but the guide's
description warning to "watch for big mother leeches"
kind of made it less inviting. I did not stop for a swim. The air
was rather cool as the fall season was knocking at the door. I saw
what I thought was a loon on one of the ponds, but turned out to
be a duck of unknown species. The trail passed through a forest
made up of birch trees with an understory of ferns. Much different
than the typical mountain vegetation that we had been receiving.
A low spot in Bates Ridge allowed passage over the ridge without
much change in elevation and soon I found myself at Pierce Pond
Lean-to where I had to make a major decision. I was three and a
half miles from the Kennebec River Crossing, and had to decide if
I would spend the night at the shelter and hike there in the morning,
or continue on and camp at the river for a crossing early in the
morning. Rumor has it that you should cross before 9:00 a.m. since
at that time the flood gates up stream are released for hydroelectric
power, and the river rises quickly downstream. As I contemplated
the decision, Roger Brichner and Mike Patch showed up heading south
after having crossed the Kenebec. Their clothes and packs were totally
soaked, and they said that they had crossed in water over their
wastes at 10 am this morning.
I decided to stay at the shelter since it was such a nice place.
Situated on the shore of Pierce Pond with a commanding view over
the water, this quintessential wilderness retreat was a must stay
kind of place where I hoped to hear loons this evening to top off
the wilderness feel. I browsed through some of the magazines that
were left at the shelter, and then decided to do a little exploring.
I followed the blue-blazed side trail to the Carry Place where hikers
can have a nice pancake breakfast before heading to the river. I
met the owner, who asked if I knew Ron and Cathy. I told him that
they would probably be at Pierce Pond tonight. He asked me to tell
them to come to the Carry Place for a surprise. Someone had paid
for them both to have a free breakfast.
When everyone finally showed up we went about the business of making
supper, and I shared some of the puffballs that I had found while
exploring. Nick made a new trail delight from virtually all the
remaining food that he had and dubbed it "Schmitts' Shit."
Apparently tomorrow was mail drop time in Carratunk, just across
the river, and he expected to be resupplied. Max broke out a portable
fishing pole and proceeded to try to catch some trout, but was unsuccessful.
The day was beautiful, and we all sat on the rocks while gazing
out over the lake for hours. We all decided that we would go
for the pancake breakfast tomorrow morning and then cross the river.
Trouble was that the proprietor did not serve until 7:30 am. That
would not give us much time to reach the river by 9:00 am.
purple and orange glow formed in the sky as we watched the sun set
behind the low-lying hills beyond the pond. The loons and coyotes
serenaded us to sleep as I had hoped.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983