We were up before daylight and on the trail at dawn...another perfect day! We planned 18.6 miles to Caratunk but had to catch the ferry across the Kennebec River before 4. We had two short, gradual climbs in the morning and then it was mostly flat and gentle downhill for the rest of the day. My knee was a bit painful but it was nothing I couldn't handle.
After just a few miles we came to a road crossing and there was a note there that said "You're not gonna make it unless you road walk!" and it gave directions for a road walk to avoid a 7-mile section of trail that was full of bogs and fords. Did it make me nervous? Very. But I'm not going to road walk and miss the trail unless it's absolutely necessary! So, we continued along and passed a southbounder not long after who told us we had beautiful trail ahead...and we did! If there's one thing I've learned out here it's not to believe what people tell you about the trail!
The trail was smooth in parts and rough in others, but we moved quickly. We walked beside East Carry Pond (I think) for a while and it was gorgeous and full of waves in the breeze. We had to cross a flooded section on planks but it wasn't a big deal. At another point we walked along a wooden dam on twisty planks with water spilling beneath us and down a waterfall.
When we got down to the Kennebec River and I saw its power I was so thankful for the ferry! There is a dam upstream and the depth and current can change rapidly, so hikers are warned not to ford it. Instead, there is a guy who comes across in a canoe and takes you to the other side. This is actually the trail; there is even a blaze on the bottom of the boat! Hillbilly Dave saw us waiting on the bank and paddled across to pick us up. Bear Bag sat in front and paddled and I got to sit in the middle and enjoy the ride (although I took a couple strokes just to say I did!) The ferryman told us the river was running unusually fast, and it was about 8 feet deep in the center. They were paddling as hard as they could and we were barely moving! We had to go a ways upstream and then drift back to the landing on the other side. It was the wildest and roughest canoe ride I've ever taken; there were even little white caps on the water! We made it safely to the other side and followed the trail to a road crossing. Caratunk was nearby and we needed food; after a long wait we finally got a hitch to Berry's general store...a poor selection but it'll do for a few days. Then we got a hitch to Northern Outdoors, a lodge (cheap hiker rates!) with a pub on site. We got a room, showered, and enjoyed real food in the restaurant. I feel good.
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