Tenting to Pierce Pond Lean-to – 37.8 miles
Today’s the day: Post Office or bust. I have to make it to Pierce Pond Lean-to to get the ferry at 9 AM tomorrow. The rain continues and temperatures are in the low 50s again.
In the morning, I cover the last few miles of highlands until Katahdin. After noon, I enter the boggy, lowlands of Maine. I stop at a shelter about 3:30 PM to take a break from the rain, eat, look at my guide book, and game plan (mostly mentally prepare) for the next 17+ miles to the shelter. The rain is really coming down when I leave 30 minutes later at 4 PM.
At 7:45 PM, I reach the next shelter and stop briefly to throw on my fleece layer for what I anticipate to be a slower, colder night hike. The shelter is full of SoBo thru-hikers. They start to make room for me, before I tell them I’m heading on. They are surprised I’m NoBo and have only been on the trail for 2.5 months. It feels good to be so near the end when they are so close to the beginning.
I head back into the rain. Thankfully the terrain is fairly flat this latter part of the day when I have so much ground to cover. There are many flooded stream fords and the trail is muddy and flooded. The late afternoon and evening is so strangely peaceful: pitch black forest, pouring rain, a headlamp beam, and my footsteps. I am completely in the zone, like a machine. I finally roll into the shelter at 11:50 PM.
There is one other hiker here and I try to be as quiet as possible. He wakes anyway. He asks if I always night hike in rain storms. That gives me a little laugh as I respond. Robo, is one of the last NoBos in front of me and apparently there is just one more that he knows of. I strip and hang all my wet stuff. I’m in my bag about 1 AM.
No-bake cookies are on my mind. I feel good. I made it (just where I need to be for the PO in the morning).