start time: 4:20am
end time: 9:10pm
From Brew—Another great day on the trail. Jen got to fulfill a dream of hers this morning: fording the Kennebec River. The Kennebec is the most legendary “ford” on the AT. Since 1985, outfitters in Caratunk have provided a canoe ferry twice a day so that hikers can avoid it, but Jen had her heart set on walking across. The water level was too high when we arrived at 6am (they raise and lower it at different times for the rafters upstream) so we went to an outfitter/lodge to soak in the hot tub, shower, and eat a big breakfast before heading back out at 7:45. The water level had gone down a foot or two to the point where Warren- who’s forded the river two or three dozen times- felt comfortable about the two of them crossing it. So Warren led her across, dropped her off at the trail, and then forded back again. “Hard core” is the best term I can think of to describe what they did. When Warren came back across, he howled then bellowed “I may have the face of a 61 year old and the belly of a coach potato, but I’ve still got the legs of a WILD RIVER MAN!!!” Then he struck the Atlas pose and flexed his calves. It was awesome.
Jen’s adrenaline was pumping after the river ford. She hiked strong in the late morning and early afternoon before reaching the Bigalow Mountains. Melissa hiked with her a few miles from there and then hiked in to her again as she came down the mountain last night. She had Chili Beef and Mac with cheddar cheese and Fritos for dinner (thanks to Diamond Brand Outfitters in Asheville for the Mountain House!) and she did finally eat the Whoopie Pie so no Whoopie pie for me yet. Overall, it was another great day for the little hiker princess.
Animal sightings: I saw a red fox this morning while driving to the Kennebec, and the girls had two separate encounters with protective mommas. A momma deer stood her ground and snorted at Melissa in the early morning, and a momma grouse charged Jen on foot then dive bombed her a few times in the late afternoon.