Darn-it! Why do I continue to kid myself…if I pull out my sleeping bag, my “nap” is sure to be an extended one.
At least I could get an early start. By 5:21 am I had hit the trail.
I caught the sunrise from the summit of Old Blue.
Then, as I was making my decent down the mountain, I heard something move through the trees. I stopped and waited and watched.
I smiled. What a coincidence. I thought of the gifted picture of moose in my pocket and the power of thought and suggestion. Here they were, two large powerful creatures. A fantastic sighting just after daybreak. How delightful!
I carried on.
The trail climbed over many exposed slabs of stone. The day was hot. There was not much water.
When I finally came to the crossing of a brook at Bemis Stream, I was all at once thirsty and dirty and sweaty. The days had been so bright and warm that I felt it was a good opportunity to bathe. Wearing my sandals and fully clothed, I moved downstream and stepped in to the cold running water. I had a spare set of clothing. I thought I may as well wash the ones I was wearing. I brought my nalgene with me. I sat in the brook, gathering and pouring water over my head, rinsing the sweat and dirt and exhaustion from my body. It felt divine. I then lifted myself from the water, dripping and refreshed.
I stripped my body of my wet clothes and donned my clean ones. I wrang out my clothes of excess moisture and draped them on the limbs of a tree. I then sat on the earth and combed and braided my hair.
What a wonderful idea, I thought. I certainly felt rejuvenated.
I then gathered water for drinking, and continued along the trail.
I crossed ME Route 17. I stopped to take in the beautiful view of the Bemis Mountain Range and Mooselookmeguntic Lake.
I continued passed Moxie Pond and a small running stream. I did not collect from the stream, hoping to collect from a water source another mile north, after a short climb.
To my great dismay, the next water source was nothing but a shallow stagnant puddle. There would not be another flowing source of water for the next 5 miles. There was a pond up ahead. Considering my lack of filter, however, pond water was less than desirable.
I journeyed on. I watched the sun set over Long Pond.
I passed hikers camped near the trail by the Sabbath-day Lean-to.
“Hey. Late arrival!”
“Actually, I’m continuing on. There is supposed to be a spring in just over 4 miles.”
The hiker was surprised. They suggested that someone may have a filter I could use. I thanked them anyway, and continued on.
The 4 miles to the Little Swift River Pond Campsite and spring seemed to drag on forever.
I crossed the Houghton Fire Road, and climbed to pass beneath a high tension power line. There, I glimpsed the stars above, bright and sparkling.
Then, down I went. My feet ached, my gait was slow. I must be getting close, I thought. It just has to be close.
Then, I spotted a privy, a sure sign the campsite was near. I came to Little Swift River Pond and a pair of canoes beached at its shore. I had read the spring was near the lake, but I could not spot it with my headlamp. I stopped and listened. The slight trickle of the spring in to the pond led me in the right direction.
Pleased, I collected water and settled in for bed near the pond, beneath the stars.