Home Forums Outside Places 2019-08-01 THU – Not so Barren Mountain

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    Udar Gromov

    It was raining all night, but I am inside Wilson Valley Lean-to.  Sleep was not optimal tonight.  It was too hot in a bug net, and too buggy without it. And the whole situation is unfamiliar to me – it is too warm in a forest at night. Usually it is exceedingly cold at night even in July. Around me camp about 17 young students.  Everyone stayed in a wet tent. No one was tempted to go into dry shelter.

    06:28 – first sleepy picture taken.  Rain is gone, but water still drops from the trees creating a delayed rain.

    07:11 My breakfast is a Grape Nuts with trail mix with cold water.  Very good.

    For hiking I will wear my Keens sandals, but without the socks – it will be wet from all that falling moisture.  Plan for today is 8.3 miles to the next shelter – Cloud Pond Lean-to.

    07:58 – everything is ready for the hike.  Backpack is protected from rain by a $35 cover.  Young pioneers and their leaders already left probably 30 minutes before me.

    Almost immediately there is a trail confusion by the beaver pond.  Animal trails mixed with human trails, and someone thoughtfully marked AT with pink ribbons.

    08:20 forest road crossing the trail.  I do not see anything on the map.

    08:39 – 08:48 I started hearing loud conversation of the young group, I quickly overtaken them, and, in a few minutes, they were far behind me.  I still can’t understand why they move so slow.

    Another news this morning – I slipping a lot.  Is it shoes or is it a wet stones and roots after the rain? In any case – I must hike more carefully.

    Several times I was taking the cowboy hat on and off.  It is good for fast moving situation (like horse or bike) but too heavy and warm in a forest.

    10:11 I am taking a break after second river crossing.  So far shoes are dry, and all river fords were perfectly safe.  I see “Scottish” guys just picking up their bags – it is a late start for them.  They briefly stopped yesterday at my shelter, but continued walking.  Now, at about 09:48 AM I caught up with them.

    Here is a good spot to swim and to dry up the things.  So far, I’ve completed 3.43 with average speed of 1.9 mph.

    By mistake, from 10:29 till approximately 11:46 I was not recording my progress.  That section was very interesting and full of water attractions.  I realize now that I missed Slugundy Falls and the next hut – Long Pond Stream Lean-to.

    10:51 I am crossing another road – most likely Long Pond Tote Rd. – and now I am 14.3 miles from highway.  That is probably very close to a midpoint between route 15 (Monson) and Katahdin Iron Works Rd. (KIWR) where I am going. River crossing here is real, and you have an option to hold on to a rope overhead while doing it.  There are still 3.9 miles till Barren Mountain that I will reach around 2 PM.

    I am going through multiple wet and dry river crossings, confusing trail markers, plenty of tracks along the river and relentless desire to move forward.

    11:50 I made a stop, evaluated the progress on the map, realized what I missed, restarted GPS recording.

    12:36 I am at Barren Slide.   I am now high up above Lake Onawa. And I can see boulders of all shapes and sizes crowding down into the valley.  Pictures taken here will probably be the most impressive pictures today.

    13:57 – 14:46 at the top of Barren Mtn (2,670′).  There is a tower here, that I must climb.  There is a signal here, so I can send my pictures to coworkers.

    15:28 off with Cloud Pond Lean-to.  It is 0.4 miles off the trail.  Instead, I am marching on toward next shelter that is impossible 6.3 miles away. KIWR is 11.3 miles from here.  That bring hiking total to 18.2 from Monson to Barren Mtn. plus 11.3 from Cloud Pond Lean-to to Pleasant river West Branch – minus 0.5 to the KIWR plus about 1 mile from Barren Mtn to Cloud Pond Lean-to.  Total is about 30 miles.

    Later, at KIWR, I found another way to calculate the distance between two roads.  Exact distance will be 18.2 + 11.7 = 29.9 miles.

    16:17- 16:35 I just crossed endangered species bog and sitting on the ground without a shred of worry inside.  My speed is 2 mph.

    17:14 – Forth Mountain conquered – 2,383′.  Nothing of interest here.  Weather is great and I should be thinking about a camp soon.

    17:52 I took off the backpack.  There is puddle of water that starts a brook.  Surprisingly, It is a very good water.  I will camp here.  I found a spot on the mossy ground slightly off the trial.  Intermittent Verizon signal allows to open Weather and forecast shows no rain for tomorrow.

    19:39 Cooking food – vegan Backpacker’s Pantry Three Sisters Stew.  This time I took plenty of denatured alcohol – a fuel for stove. A family with four daughters camped about 150-200 yards away from me. Both them and I, instead of staying at Cloud Pond shelter I continued for another 3 miles.

    20:56 What are the plans for tomorrow? March to next shelter (about 3 miles) and another 4 miles to the road.  From there 6 miles to the bike on private KIW road. And 22 miles on the bile back to the car.  Can all this be done in one day?  We will see.

    21:07 lights out

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