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[at-l] Hundred Mile Wilderness, Day 3



8/4/99   
    11:53  Summit of Barren Mt.      break
This was an interest morning.  Heeding Johnís advice, I looked for a patch of 
bare earth to dig a cathole.  Well I spotted a great location not too far 
into the woods from the old road were a large piece of slate had moved 
exposing some yellow earth.  I begant to dig the hole when I noticed there 
was a large ground wasp nest in the earth.  I quickly backed away from that 
spot and almost stepped in some bear scat.  Id was then obvious to me that a 
black bear had moved the slate to get at the nest.  Well,  I found a spot 
with leafmold and lost of roots and just struggled with the trowel to do my 
thing using LNT techniques.  
    Our crossing of the Long Pond Stream was too easy.  The guide book 
described a sometimes difficult ford.  But this season has been very dry in 
New England.  No wet feet.
    We left camp at 7:00 AM and reached Long Pond StreamLean-to at 8:00 AM.  
That means we were more like one and one half miles away when we camped last 
night.  There was a big gang of Outward Bound Hikers - both boys and girls 
filling their water bottles for their hike.  They were planning on stopping 
at Cloud Pond Lean-to tonight.  We planned on having lunch at Clound Pond but 
continuing on to Chairback Gap Lean-to.  It would be a 14 mile day for us.
    The hike up Barren Mountain was strenuous.  But the trail has many 
sections od slate steps carefully intalled by the volunteers from MATC.   We 
took a break on barren Ridge to talk with a southbound thru hiker - E-MONK.  
He is probably 20 years old and started hiking from Abol bridge 6 days ago.  
The first day he got drenched in some heavy rain and managed to hitch a ride 
into town to dry out.  He hope to finish the hike in December or early 
January.   We talked with him for almost 1 hour.
    Now at the summit of Barren Mountain 4 adult women have hiked up for a 
few days together in the woods.  One lady was suffering some chaffing from 
the shoulder straps of her backpack, so she removed her bra and placed it 
strategically so that each cup was tucked neatly under a strap.  She had a 
big smile as she trudged up to the summit.  They planned to spend two days 
camping at Cloud Pond Lean-To.  We spent another hour talking with the ladies.

1:30 PM  Cloud Pond Lean-To    Lunch Break

The trip from the summit was either down hill,or flat.  We stopped at this 
beautiful pond for a quick lunch but it turned out to be 3/10 of a mile from 
the trail.  Ramen Noodles tasted great.  The lean-to will hold eight hikers 
but there are numerous excellent tentsites closer to the pond.  Signs of 
moose are everywhere.  We canít stay long because we still have 7 miles to 
hike plus the 3/10 mile for the access trail.  We met the four ladies as we 
hiked out.  One was very upset because a man and his son had started a 
campfire on the trail to cook some food.  There is a fire band in the 
Wilderness because of the shortage of rain this summer.  She made them put 
the fire out.  If they had hiked into the pond area they could have used the 
fire rings very safely.  

5:00 PM  Starting ďThird MountainĒ

Coming down from Cloud Pond was a breeze.  There were rock steps on the steep 
parts and beautiful evergreen groves with a pine needle trail to soften each 
footfall.  We walked on bog bridges to cross an amazing bog filled with 
pitcher plants and Sunshine Plants - both of which eat insects.  The flower 
of the Pitcher Plants were shaped like vases.  The insects go into the flower 
and drowned in the water that accumulates in the bottom.  Eventually the 
plant breaks down the insect and digests the nutrients.  The Sunshine Plant 
has a tiny flower about 1/16 th of an inch in diameter.  It looks like a 
miniature red daisy.  The flower is sticky so that unsuspecting insects get 
stuck to the plant and eventually are digested by the plant.  We learned all 
of this by having the good fortune of meeting a 10th grade biology teacher 
from northern Maine in the middle of the bog.  She talked with us for 20 
minutes.
    We were energized for climbing 4th mountain.  It was steep but with good 
footing.  We figured the rest of the hike today would be cake.  Then we 
started down 4th Mountain.  No steps, no pine needles, plenty of loose slate 
and shale, lots of roots and lots of very large step downs.  My knees are 
killing me.  Looks as if we may have to camp before we reach Chairback Gap 
Lean-To tonight.

    8:00 PM  West Chairback Pond

We stopped here at 7:00 PM because we were too tired to continue, it was 
raining, and it was starting to get dark.  There are wonderful campsites at 
this pond and two canoes.  Signs of moose are on the access trail.  The pond 
is very clean so I took a quick swim to rinse of the sweat and trail dirt.   
There are no bugs and have been non so far on this trip.  We are about to eat 
Liptonís Oriental Rice Dinner - Yum.  
    There are great views to be seen from the Barren Chairback Range, but you 
have to work for them.  The ups and downs are not long but require careful 
negotiation.  We have had the misfortune to be in the clouds all day today.

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