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[at-l] Hundred Mile Wilderness, Day 1

Summer Hike 1999 -  Aug 2 - Aug 13.  Hundred Mile Wilderness

    John and I woke early this morning to start our trip north to Monson Me.  
I went for a swim in the lake while John took a shower.  The sun was just 
beginning to shine on the western side of Crystal Lake making a beautiful 
start  to our 11 day hike.  We ate a hearty breakfast, packed John’s new 
Subaru, and left Gilmanton Iron Works, NH  before 7:30 AM.
    We stopped once in Newport, Me for fuel and food then headed north on 
Route 7 & 11.  The trip was shorter than the 6 hours I had expected as we 
arrived in Monson at 12:15 PM.  There were two hikers sitting outside Shaw’s 
Inn that showed us to the door and Mrs. Shaw.  Keith Shaw was transporting 
hikers to Abol Bridge and his son was also busy shuttleing hikers.  So, we 
made arrangements with Mrs. Shaw to pick us up on the 13th at Daicey Pond 
campsite.  Then “Hooper” shuttled us to the trailhead on Route 15 to begin 
our much anticipated backpack of the Hundred Mile Wilderness.  
    Hooper started a southbound hike in September of 98.  Being from 
Seatttle, he si an experienced Winter hiker.  But when he reached Mt Maddison 
and the terrible weather conditions of the Presidentials he flip-flopped to 
Georgia to start hiking north from Springer Mountain.  He decided to continue 
his hike north and climbed Mt Katahdin for the second time on July 31st.  
Hooper has arranged to purchase an old car from Keith Shaw for his return 
trip to Seattle.  He plans to trace the trail down to Pa or Va or maybe even 
to Springer on a casual return trip.
    We are taking a break next to Bell’s Pond.  It dawned on us that in the 
excitement of arriving at Shaw’s early we forgot to eat lunch.  John just 
spotted a beaver in the pond.  We are marvelling at our good luck - the last 
weather report was for cool dry sunny weather for the next week or more.  But 
I never trust long range weather forcasts.
    The trail up to Bell’s Pond was clear and bordered by evergreens.  After 
our snack we continued along the trail past Lilly Pond.  In this area Maple 
tree sapplings were intruding to the point that you could not walk without 
touching vegetation on both sides of the trail.  I noticed an unusual 
evergreen with flat needles and smooth bark.  I suspected it was a cedar but 
John claims it is an Arborvite.  He says his mother (an imigrant from 
Lithuania) makes tea from the needles and uses the tea as a medication for 
congestion and cold relief.
    After Lilly Pond the trail is covered with roots.  Careful footing is 
required but the hike is not treacherous.  After our second break we walked 
down into a ravine.  Thick with vegetation the ravine harbored at least one 
family of pheasants which we managed to disturb.  Then we did a little 
scramble up the other side to discover we we at Leeman Brook Lean-to , our 
destination for the first night.  I know, I know, three miles is a short day. 
 And it took less than two hours with two breaks but I wanted to keep close 
to the schedule so we could be found in an emergency.  There were two 
southbound section hikers taking a snackbreak.  We talked with them as we 
set-up camp.  We cooked and ate our first of many Lipton Dinners with soup 
and some juice before 5 PM.  Guess we will be sleeping early tonight.

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