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[at-l] Trip report: Western Maine Part 2 (long)

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Dear friends

This is the second part of my trip report for my recent section hike that m=
y daughter and I did on the Appalachian Trail from Gorham New Hampshire to =
Stratton Maine.  Sorry this has taken longer than had I hoped to get writte=
n down, it's been over a month since I've gotten home.  This part covers th=
e trail from Maine Highway 26 (Grafton Notch) to Maine Highway 4 (Rangeley)=
.  For this part of the trail my daughter and I opted to slackpack.  The re=
port below will mention some pluses and minuses arising from that decision.

We all know everyone hates long emails, and everyone likes to see pictures =
in trip reports.  If you're one of "everyone", go to my home page:  http://=
members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2h6gy/papabear/papabear.html  and click on the=
 link: "AT Section #5: Gorham NH to Stratton ME - 9/7/2002 to 9/202002"  (o=
n the right hand side of the list, towards the bottom), and there you will =
see this same account but complete with a number of pictures.  The web base=
d version also has the first section of our hike in case you missed that wh=
en I sent it out about 2 weeks ago.

For a gallery of all the albums from my AT hikes this year (including the a=
lbum for this hike), check here:  http://gallery.backcountry.net/papabear_2=
002_sections - the pictures for this hike are in the album titled "Album: P=
apa Bear's AT Hike #5: Gorham to Stratton", which you can find in the lower=
 right of the first page of the gallery (the one with the picture of Baldpa=
te Mountain).

The web based account and the email versions are in synch, so read which ev=
er one you prefer.



Day 5: September 11, 2002
Grafton Notch to East B Hill Road (slackpack) - aborted due to storms
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy becoming rain with thunder and high winds.

Today was a moody day, being September 11th.  Nevertheless we started out w=
ith high hopes for a good day of hiking to celebrate life and the wonders o=
f the world.  Paul Ellis produced nothing less that a scrumptious and delic=
ious breakfast.  Although rain was forecast, the day started out looking re=
asonably fair, with moderate temperatures and so far no rain.

We had opted to slackpack for the next several days.  We would use only day=
 packs (borrowed from Pine Ellis) and we would be shuttled to and from the =
trail sections each morning and afternoon.  Think of it as a series of day =
hikes with the Pine Ellis B&B as a base camp.  The advantages are being abl=
e to hike with a much lighter pack (probably around 10 lb. including rain g=
ear, emergence dry clothes, lunch food, emergency items, etc. vs. a full pa=
ck weighing 30 - 35 lb.) and not having to set up camp or cook breakfast an=
d dinner (allowing more time to hike).  Some hikers eschew slackpacking, fe=
eling it's not a proper (or "pure") way to do a long distance hike, but we =
had no such ethical qualms.  However there is a practical down side, in tha=
t you are much more tied to your base camp and the shuttles you have arrang=
ed, which cuts down on your flexibility.  Another way to think of it is tha=
t if you felt like stopping somewhere for the day if you got too tired to g=
o on, or the weather made progress impossible and you were carrying a full =
pack, you could set up camp or stop at the next shelter.  If you were slack=
packing you would have no choice but to go on to your rendezvous point sinc=
e you would not be equipped to camp out for the night.

Paul drove us to Grafton Notch (where his grandson had picked us up the day=
 before) which was actually quite a bit farther by car than along the trail=
.  We got to the trail and got started about 9:15 AM.  It was rather easy g=
oing but unfortunately the rain started after about 30 minutes.  It was lig=
ht at first so I didn't put on my rain gear.  I guess there I was in a cert=
ain amount of denial that this was a "real rain storm".  Putting on rain ge=
ar was like admitting that it really was raining.  Nevertheless the rain wa=
s real and it got heavier.  Around 10:30 we came to the short side trail to=
 Baldpate Lean-to so I decided to go over and take the opportunity to put o=
n my full rain gear.   Payslee was afraid to stop since she felt the action=
 of hiking was keeping her warm, so she kept on going.

When I got to the shelter, two NOBO thru-hikers, Hollywood and So Far, were=
 already there trying to wait out the storm.  As I got inside the front of =
the shelter I heard the ominous sound of thunder and got a little concerned=
 about Payslee going on ahead.   At this point it didn't look like a good d=
ay to go over Baldpate, which rises above treeline.  If the day's hike were=
 relatively well covered under the forest canopy we could have just gone ah=
ead and toughed it out, but going above treeline would be very risky. Paysl=
ee evidently also heard the thunder and showed up a few minutes later at th=
e lean-to.  We both tried to warm up, and although I felt reasonably good, =
 Payslee was shivering and felt somewhat sick.  I think she had made a stra=
tegic error when she got to the shelter and put her spare shirt on over her=
 wet shirt.  She should have taken off the wet one first.  I gave her my ra=
in gear tops and bottoms (which were not wet yet since I had just gotten th=
em out when I got to the shelter).  We both tried to warm up and ate some t=
rail food to give us some energy.  I was able to give some excess Gatorade =
to the 2 thru hikers, which they appreciated (since I realized in my heart =
that we were going to have to abort the trek for the day and I wouldn't nee=
d the Gatorade).  After about an hour in the lean-to, with no end to the ra=
in in sight, we decided the best course was to hike back to Grafton Notch a=
nd hitch hike back to Pine Ellis.  Payslee and I both put on our respective=
 rain gear and got going before we lost our resolve.  It was clear we had t=
o go forward or back and forward would be too risky in this weather.  Since=
 we had only day packs, staying at the shelter was not an option.  The thru=
-hikers were tying to wait out the storm and had still not decided if they =
would go on as we left them.

On the trek back down to the road, which took about an hour, the rain got h=
eavier and heavier with an intensity varying between moderate and a downpou=
r.  It seemed to lessen slightly when we finally made it to the road.  Hiki=
ng along this easy section did serve to warm us up and we actually felt bet=
ter hiking in the rain than shivering in the shelter.  Our plan was to hitc=
h hike back the way we came that morning: north on Route 26 to East B Hill =
Road, then south on East B Hill Road down to Andover.

Standing at the side of Route 26 in Grafton Notch in the rain was not fun. =
 Few cars went by, and the few larger trucks didn't even slow down since th=
ey were nearly at the top of an incline and needed to make it to the top.  =
One of the few passenger cars I saw was a red car going south which actuall=
y went in and parked at the Grafton Notch State Park parking lot across the=
 road.  We stood in the rain there for about 45 minutes and things began to=
 look hopeless.

Suddenly I saw some motion in the parking lot across the way.  The folks in=
 the red car were closing doors and starting to pull out.  Without thinking=
 twice, I ran across the road and stopped them as they were about to pull o=
ut onto Route 26.  I explained our plight and at first they looked rather s=
keptical.  They were evidently tourists and were wary of grisly wet strange=
rs in the middle of nowhere.  Payslee  came over as I was talking with them=
 and I said she was feeling sick and that seemed to soften them up.  We tri=
ed both my cell phone and the driver's but it was a dead area (as I knew al=
ready).  Finally I said just take us to the first restaurant or store in th=
e direction they were heading and we would appreciate that very much.

They let us in and we chatted a bit.  They were a couple from Ohio named Al=
 and Chris who were vacationing in the area.  They had tried to do a little=
 hiking in Grafton Notch State park but it was just too wet so they were go=
ing on to Bethel Maine, about 15 miles away.  We eventually got to Route 2 =
where there seemed to be a store with a pay phone on the corner, but the st=
ore was closed and the pay phone was dead so we kept going, westbound on Ro=
ute 2 (away from Andover).  We eventually got to the outskirts of Bethel an=
d saw a restaurant - The Sunday River Brewing Company - on the right side o=
f the road.  We pulled in and there was a phone and a nice restaurant so th=
is was gold.  I offered to take Al and Chris to lunch but they demurred and=
 we left them with many thanks.  I wonder now when they get back to Ohio if=
 they will ever think about picking up hitch hikers stuck out in the rain?

Payslee had started shivering again in the car and it was great to get to t=
his warm place - we were cold and wet and by now rather hungry.  It was clo=
se to 2:00 in the afternoon.  I especially liked that it was called the Sun=
day River BREWING Company.  That seemed like a very nice name for a restaur=
ant.  Well, in fact it was a micro-brewery and they had a selection of loca=
l beers which we of course had to sample.  The cell phone was also able to =
get a signal and I called Pine Ellis and explained to Paul Ellis what had h=
appened and told him we would eat lunch and he said he knew just where we w=
ere and would come by in an hour to get us.  We had a yummy lunch and Paul =
showed up just as we finished.  Life suddenly was good again!

When we got back to Andover the rain had abated and I did a few errands.  W=
e sent some extra food they we realized we wouldn't use home as well as the=
 tent we were carrying, since we would be hitting shelters (or slackpacking=
) the rest of the way.  Payslee was going to take a zero the next day, hopi=
ng to regain her strength and I would hike over Baldpate solo.  We would sk=
ip one of the sections to make up our lost schedule time (which was to make=
 it to Caratunk by Sunday the 22nd).  I knew I could always come back next =
year, the trail would still be there.

As for the day's mileage, since we ended up where we began I figured that w=
as 0.0 trail miles but still we had walked 2.3 miles up and 2.3 miles back =
so let's just call them "extra miles".

Day 5 Trail Miles: 0.0, Extra miles: 4.6, Total: 12.0
Aggregate Trail Miles: 31.1, Aggregate Total 37.3
Day 6: September 12, 2002
Grafton Notch to East B Hill Road, take 2 (slackpack)
Weather: Sun and clouds, temperatures in the low 50s

Today was to be my second attempt to go over Baldpate.  The weather was muc=
h more conducive.  The weather front had evidently passed over and today we=
 had beautiful early autumn weather.  Sunny, cool and breezy.  After anothe=
r nice breakfast at Pine Ellis, I got shuttled back to Grafton Notch (I was=
 getting tired of that place!) and got going around 8:45 AM.  The temperatu=
re at the trailhead was actually just 45 degrees, colder than in Andover.

I got to the lean-to at 9:55 and put on my Froff Toggs (rain gear).  This w=
as for chill winds, not rain, since none was expected today.  By 10:15 I wa=
s back on the trail breaking new ground, since yesterday we had turned back=
 at this point.  By 10:55 I reached the West Peak of Baldpate.  This was wo=
oded on the back side (the side I had hiked up) but the alpine zone opened =
up across the col to the East Peak, which was now visible.  By 11:25 I was =
across the col and onto the East Peak.  As I neared the dome shaped top, th=
e winds increased significantly to what I would estimate to be over 40 MPH.=
  (My notes say 40 - 50 MPH but I think the wild experience of actually bei=
ng there may have led to some exageration).  The temperature had fallen to =
40 and the summit was truly awesoome and beautiful.  Sun, and blue sky with=
 clouds rapidily moving across the peak.

I kept moving over and down the ridge line, over Litte Baldpate and on to F=
rye Notch lean-to.  On the way down I passed a SOBO flip-flopper named Rye =
Dog, going up and over the other way.  He was dressed in shorts and short s=
leeves but he seemed very invigotated so I guess he didn't feel the cold an=
d the wind.  Ah youth!  He mentioned that some of the shelters on the mount=
ain tops further on were dry (Bemis, Bigelow) so I made a note of that. I m=
ade it to the shelter about 12:35 and changed out of my Frogg Toggs and had=
 lunch and a rest.  I was now back down below treeline and the day was now =
sunny and pleasant.

I noticed for the first time that there was extensive leaf litter on the gr=
ound in the hardwood uplands below these peaks.  It would seem that the hea=
vy rains and winds of yesterday and today had caused a lot of foliage to fa=
ll.  But the leaves were mostly green on the ground.  The were undoubtedly =
weakened by the summer's drought and didn't have the strength top stay on t=
ill the first frost changed them into the beautiful fall colors we love to =
see.  I also noted that there were a few blowdowns across the trail in this=
 area, something I hadn't seen for more than 100 miles of trail.  Say what =
you will about the AMC, but they do a great job a keeping their trails well=

Going up the other side of Frye Notch got me rather breathless.  Not quite =
the "Walk in the Woods" that was described for this section.  But it was a =
beautiful hardwod forest.  Finally I got to Dunn Notch which was where the =
Ellis River goes over an incredibly steep ledge.  I wish I had time to take=
 the side trail and explore this little gem of an area.  (Incidently, Dunn =
Notch is the cover photo of the September/October 2002 ATN magazine that I =
just received in the mail).  I got down to the road and met my shuttle at 3=
:00 PM.  It had been a beautiful day and a beautiful hike.  I am so glad we=
 put this off yesterday and waited one day!  One day made all the differenc=

That evening at Addies we met Duck Tape (who had hiked the same section as =
I did today after taking a day off in Bethel yesterday) and Holywood and So=
 Far who had taken today off. They told us we had done the right thing by t=
urning back and not hiking over Baldpate in that storm the day before. They=
 said it was cold, wet and very windy and they could hardly stand up going =
over the top.  I mentioned our hitch hiking bad luck.  There were no winner=
s that day but thankfully we all got through it safe and sound!

Day 6 Trail Miles: 10.3, Extra miles: 0.0, Total: 10.3
Aggregate Trail Miles: 41.4, Aggregate Total 48.0
Peaks: Baldpate West Peak (3662'), Baldpate East Peak (3812'), Little Baldp=
ate, Surplus Mountain
Day 7: September 13, 2002
East B Hill Road to South Arm Road (slackpack)
Weather: Clear, 47 degrees.

We had to decide which section of trail to skip to make up for the loss of =
a day on the 11th.  We decided to do the next section in sequence (East B H=
ill Road to South Arm Road) today, then skip the section over Old Blue and =
the Bemis Range and  do the section from Route 17 to Rangeley tomorrow.  Th=
is would get us to Rangeley so we could tackle the Saddlebacks and then on =
to Sugarloaf and the Crockers starting the next day.

We had breakfast at Addies and saw a number of Thru-hikers: Tiptoe, Bubbles=
, Streak, Duck Tape, Hollywood and So Far.  Ductape was undertaking the "pa=
ncake Challenge"  They serve you 3 enormous pancakes (about an inch thick a=
nd a foot wide weighing at least a 2 pounds each) and if you can eat them a=
ll you don't have to pay.  Sine the whole shebang cost only something like =
$3.50, it's mostly for fun, not to save money.  Turns out he didn't make it=

The conversation turned to an article in the local paper about a hiker who =
had died on Mount Madison on the 11th.  His name was Peter Busher and was r=
eported to be in his 70s.  Conditions on the mountain at the time were desc=
ribed as "winter conditions".  Everyone familiar with the White Mountains k=
nows that could be deadly.  The Thru Hikers were trying to figure out if th=
ey had met him and what his trail name was.  Later we learned that his trai=
lname was "Harley" and he was from Virginia.  He was moving south, about a =
month out of Katahdin, doing a flip flop.  He had taken a nasty fall the da=
y before, but was reportedly in good spirits the morning of the 11th.  It w=
as sad to think of a hiker's death, especially since we had had our own min=
iature disaster that same day when we aborted our attempt to go over Baldpa=
te.  If Baldpate was bad, I hate to think what the Presidentials, more than=
 1500 feet higher, were like. I looked up the archive of weather reports fr=
om the Mount Washington observatory for that day: the low temperature was 2=
5 degrees and the wind speed averaged 44 MPH, peaking at 90 MPH, precipitat=
ion was 3.5" snow and ice pellets!  Shudder!

We got back to Pine Ellis from Addies and got shuttled to the trailhead on =
East B Hill Road.  We were hiking by 8:55.

In about an hour we got to Surplus Pond and noticed a few private camps on =
the shoreline.  We crossed what appeared to be an active gravel road on the=
 east side of the pond and then started the climb of Wyman Mountain, which =
did not have much of a view.  As we were working our way up Wyman, we were =
overtaken by our old friends Duck Tape, Hollywood and So Far who were doing=
 the same section as we were today.  Continuing on, we arrived at the Hall =
Mountain Lean-to just before noon and we stopped for lunch and a rest.  The=
 3 guys there just finishing their lunch.  The temperature was now up to ab=
out 60 and the day was cloudy, breezy and we had a few sprinkles, but no "r=
eal" rain.

We got moving again at 12:20 and found the downside of Hall Mountain to be =
rather steep.  We met a SOBO named Sidewinder near the top and then near th=
e bottom his companion Scout.  They were not flip-flopping but were actuall=
y very late-starting SOBOs.  Hopefully they would be out of new England bef=
ore winter hit them full force.  We hit the bottom of Sawyer Notch (7.4 mil=
es) at around 1:15 so today's progress was quite good.  An old dirt road he=
aded off south through the forest here and according to the guidebook led t=
o Andover in about 8 miles.  I wonder if this used to be the thoroughfare t=
hrough this valley in times past.

Our next and final climb of the day was up and over Moody Mountain. This pr=
oved to be a very steep but very well built trail up through a series of ro=
cky ledges.  I learned later that this section of trail had been rebuilt re=
cently by a group of college kids.  It was a very well done job, reminiscen=
t of trail work in the Whites.  There were rock steps, wooden ladders, and =
metal rungs strategically placed.  We reached the top at around 2:25 PM and=
 were treated to splendid views both north and south.  The day had become s=
unny with temperatures in the 70s.

After a rest, we hiked along  the easy ridge, around behind Sawyer Mountain=
 and then made the long gentle descent to South Arm Road.  We had some grea=
t views of Old Blue, Elephant and Bemis Mountain to the northeast.  Alas, w=
e wouldn't be hiking that section (at least not untill next year) since w h=
ad to skip ahead to hold our schedule. Just before the road, we crossed Bla=
ck Brook and there was a lovely campground right near the edge of the brook=
.  The water crossing kept the site a little bit protected from people wand=
ering in since it was virtually yards from the road.  A simple rock-hop got=
 us across the brook.

At the road we met none other than Duck Tape, Hollywood and So Far again.  =
They were talking a day hiker who had parked her car there into giving them=
 (H & S) a ride into town so they could pick up some pizza and beer and the=
n return here.  D was staying behind to watch the 3 packs.  The packs were =
left there purposefully to insure that H and S would not "forget" to return=
 here after getting into town.

Our ride was about 30 minutes late (unusual for Paul Ellis).  It seems he w=
as at the other end of the section (East B Hill Road) and had picked up Sid=
ewinder but had to wait a good while for Scout, who was a bit tired.  On th=
e ride back he told a funny tale about the Moody Mountain trail work.  It s=
eems one of the crew, a college guy, was very proud of the work he had done=
 and took his girl friend on a day hike to show off the work to her.  On re=
turning to South Arm Road, Black Brook was so swollen from a rain storm tha=
t they couldn't get back across it to their car.  So they were "rescued" by=
 Paul who pushed a canoe across tied to a rope and then pulled them back to=
 safety.  Cool story!

When we got back to Pine Ellis we found that Sidewinder and Scout were sett=
ling in, and would be our fellow guests that night.  Just then a very nice =
thing happened.  A truck showed up and a bunch of thru-hikers jumped out (i=
ncluding Rye Dog whom I had met on Baldpate the day before).  It seems a hi=
ker named Yatse had picked up my lost fleece shirt at Full Goose Shelter th=
e day after I had left it.  It was a cold day and he needed it.  He then sa=
w my note in the register at Speck Pond (or maybe at the trailhead at Graft=
on Notch) and brought it over to Pine Ellis (where I had said I was staying=
 for a few days in my note ).  Great news,  Thanks Yatse!   I gave him a be=
er I had in the fridge for a reward.

We had a very nice meal at Addies - we were joined by Sidewinder.  Scout st=
ayed behind at Pine Ellis cooking an enormous dinner for himself in the Pin=
e Ellis kitchen.  A very eventful and successful day.

Day 7 Trail Miles: 10.1, Extra miles: 0.0, Total: 10.1
Aggregate Trail Miles: 51.5, Aggregate Total 58.1
Peaks: Wyman Mountain (2945'), Moody Mountain
Day 8: September 14, 2002
Maine Highway 17 to Maine Highway 4 (slackpack)
Weather: Partly cloudy, 40 degrees.

This was to be the last slackpacking day and the last day that we would use=
 Pine Ellis in Andover as our base camp.  To tell the truth, even though th=
is arrangement made our hiking "easier" and I enjoyed Addies restaurant and=
 Pine Ellis, I felt a need to get back to backpacking and cooking.  So star=
ting tomorrow we would be back on the trail full time.  As for Payslee, she=
 said you couldn't slackpack on the PCT even if you wanted to, so she was e=
qually anxious to get back to "pure" backpacking.

We wanted an early start so we got to Addies at 6:15 AM for breakfast and P=
aul took off to shuttle us up to Route 17 shortly after 7:00.  Our full pac=
ks were thrown in the back of the car so he could deliver them to Gull Pond=
 Lodge in Rangeley after dropping us off, so we had one more light day.  Th=
e section was a 13 mile section that was relatively flat but speckled with =
beautiful ponds.  I vowed to get a picture of every pond we passed and I th=
ink I managed to do this.

When we got there (quite a long drive) Paul insisted on driving just a litt=
le bit further around the bend in the road and there we saw an incredible v=
iew of the valley to the north west and Lake Mooselookmeguntic.  (I swear t=
hese names that are supposed to be Native American are made up by these tac=
iturn Mainers to pull our legs.)  The entire valley was filled with a cloud=
 and it looked like we were on the shore of an ocean looking out over the r=
olling main.  Paul took the obligatory picture of us in front of this wondr=
ous scene and we were ready to get going.  It was clear that this was must =
have been a fairly regular site, since Paul knew in advance what we were ab=
out to see.  But it was no less wondrous.

By the time we got going the temperature had risen considerably to around 6=
0 and we started on an easy trail with just a few ups and downs.  First we =
passed the lovely Moxie Pond and then descended steeply down the Bates Ledg=
es over well built rock steps.  We then got a glimpse of Long Pond which, t=
rue to it's name, lay along the right hand side of the trail for a consider=
able distance - nearly a mile.  The trail circled to the right to the shore=
 of Long Pond (where we passed a nice beech) and around to Sabbath Day Pond=
 where we stopped at the Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to  We got to the lean-to ar=
ound 10:00 and took a rest and snack break.  There were a couple of weekend=
ers (Java and Jeffrey) and their dog (Foster) packing up at the lean-to and=
 they soon took off in the direction we had come from.

Off again at 10:15, we worked our way along a rather easy trail with very f=
ew of the now familiar rock ledges an eventually got to Little Swift River =
Pond Campsite.  I don't know where the river was, but the pond was lovely a=
nd there was a canoe at the shore right by the campsite which seemed to say=
 "paddle me".  We didn't take up the suggestion although we were tempted.  =
There was also a boxed spring here (not to sleep on, to draw water from) bu=
t as in many places we had been, it was dry.  But there was a great big wet=
 lake there so there would be no trouble for those camping here.  We soon p=
assed a couple (Clydesdale and Gray Jay)  with a dog moving south.  they we=
re flip-floppers aiming to finish at the Hudson River.  I said I lived near=
 there in New York City and we chatted a bit about their hike, where they s=
tayed in Fort Montgomery, etc.

It was a longer than usual day, but generally easy going.  There were a few=
 "step-overs" and a few "duck-unders" on the trail.  We made another pond s=
pot (and of course photo) at South Pond and then descended easily to Route =
4.  On our descent we got glimpses of the Saddlebacks which we would tackle=
 tomorrow and they looked impressive.

We got to the road at 3:15,  pretty early for a 13 mile day and we were pic=
ked up almost instantly when we stuck out our thumbs.  It was a guy in a pi=
ckup pulling a trailer with 2 little kids in the cab and 2 big dogs in the =
back.  Naturally we joined the dogs in the back and they of course wanted t=
o smell us, licks and otherwise love us until the driver yelled at them to =
behave.  He said he had to make a stop at his house but would be glad to dr=
op us off in Rangeley since he needed to do some errands in town.  He zoome=
d up Route 4, onto a side road and then onto a long dirt driveway.  Natural=
ly I had inner fears that he was an axe murderer, but since he had 2 nice k=
ids and 2 nice big dogs (and no axe in view) I felt reassured (sort of).  H=
e pulled up to his house, then backed around to park the trailer and landed=
 it right next to his SUV in one fast accurate swing.  backing around a cor=
ner with a trailer was not a problem for this guy.  He quickly unhitched th=
e rig,  grabbed up the kids and dogs who had scattered in all directions on=
ce we had stopped, and started up again heading to Rangeley.  He made a qui=
ck stop on a turnout across the road, hoping to show us some Moose, but I g=
uess they were off duty, so he rapidly took off again and dropped us in tow=
n right at the Alpine Somethingorother store which supposedly had camping s=

The store was mostly selling expensive clothes to tourists, but there was o=
ne little corner near the back that had some camping stuff.  We were instan=
tly recognized by the hiker sales guy (how did he spot us among all the tou=
rists?) and he came over to help us. We asked if they had replacement filte=
rs for my PUR Hiker water filter.  The guy said everyone was asking for the=
m and they were back ordered from PUR but wouldn't arrive for another 2 wee=
ks.  I guess by this point on the trail everyone's filter was clogging.  So=
 we went out and picked up some supplies at the IGA, and headed across the =
street to the Red Onion for an early dinner (it was only around 4:00 PM).  =
We called Bob O'Brien, owner of Gull Pond Lodge (which was a mile or two ou=
t of town) and after our dinner he came by to pick us up.  The packs had be=
en delivered by Paul Ellis.  Another parcel was also there, a fleece shirt =
that I had asked my wife to send here after I lost my other one.  So now in=
stead of having no fleece shirts, I had two!.  It's a feast or a famine!.

Bob had two old dogs (much slower moving than the pick-up-truck-guy had, th=
ank goodness) and Thru-hikers Church Lady, Elvis and Dropout (a SOBO) were =
also staying there for the night.  We asked Dropout why he got that name an=
d he said it was his good luck to protect him from dropping out!  Hey, what=
ever works, go for it!  Church Lady got her name since every Sunday on the =
trail she tried to get to church where ever she happened to be.  So far all=
 the way from Georgia to Rangeley Maine she was batting 1000%. Good for her=
!  Elvis was just Elvis.

The sunset over the lake was pretty, but the forecast for the next day was =
for rain. Cross your fingers ....

Day 8 Trail Miles: 13.1, Extra miles: 0.0, Total: 13.1
Aggregate Trail Miles: 64.9, Aggregate Total 71.2

(To be continued ...)