Saturday, August 12, 2017
Start: ME 15/Monson
End: Cloud Pond Lean-to
Miles: 19.1 (+0.4 trail to shelter/water source)
Elevation gained/lost: 4787’/3576′
Listening to: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight Archive #2)
I stayed the night at Shaw’s hostel in Monson. I was up around 6:15am, and waiting in the kitchen for breakfast by 6:40am. Breakfast was at 7am sharp. I was done by 7:20am and ready to go. Since Shaw’s hostel doesn’t offer morning shuttles back to the trail until 8:15am, I hitched to the trail. I was on trail hiking by 7:45am and then did not arrive at the shelter until 6pm.
Today I went past Leeman Brook Lean-to, Wilson Valley Lean-to, and Long Pond Lean-to. I saw 7 different ponds and 10 different streams. I rock hopped across Little Wilson Stream (success), Big Wilson Stream (tried to rock hop and ended up slipping off a rock and soaking my shoes), and Long Pond Stream (success). I climbed over the Barren Ledges (2017′) and Barren Mountain (2660′), and had a fair amount of unnamed ups and downs.
As I was putting on my backpack after a water stop early in the day, my iPod and headphones flew out of my side pocket and into the water. While it was fully immersed, I did grab it out of the water very quickly. I dried it thoroughly with my hand towel. Despite my heart nearly stopping, thus far, it has not suffered any ill effects from its bath.
Today was absolutely exhausting. It started out foggy and humid and eventually became cloudy and humid, so I was drenched and dripping my own sweat all day, though I finally started drying out a little at higher elevations towards the end of the day.
It was decently hard to keep up with my water intake today, especially as I started feeling more rushed due to taking longer than I’d anticipated. One of my rock hopping adventures ended with wet shoes, while the other two worked out well. The intense elevation gain slayed me. I dragged so hard for the last climb but I made it!
Thankfully, the shelter is beautifully located and pretty empty. I’m sharing space with only two other hikers, one sobo and one nobo, with three people quietly tenting by the lake.