Loons on Pleasant Pond serenaded us last night. Lazarus and I were up early- he especially so due to his air mattress having sprung a leak. At 6:15 am, I shoved off and quickly started gaining elevation up Pleasant Pond Mountain. For some reason, the climb seemed less difficult than the guidebook showed. After stopping at the top to enjoy the views, I hiked down a fairly steep descent that moderated after a few miles. The 4.5 miles of descent ended at a gravel road. A few minutes later I rock hopped across languid Baker Stream. Lazarus got water.
The AT gradually gained elevation to the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to. I stopped for lunch at 11 am due to loud stomach growling. After lunch, the trail was uphill toward Moxie Bald Mountain. I belatedly noticed in the guidebook that a side trail allowed hikers to skip the steep ascent to the summit. When I arrived at the trail junction, I gladly took the side trail, which gained modest elevation on level bedrock slabs. I called Betsy to check in and enjoyed picking blueberries. After I rejoined the AT, I descended a mile to the Bald Mountain Lean-to, on the shore of Bald Mountain Pond.
I got a prime camp site about 30 feet from the water. Lazarus arrived, covered with sweat and looking beat. He had taken the extra steep trail to the summit and paid the price. Was I ever glad to have chosen the side trail! I’m also grateful that my left foot still works in spite of the day’s exertions. Tomorrow's 17-mile hike to Monson thankfully lacks long climbs.
Pleasant Pond Lean-to to Moxie Bald Lean-to, 12.6 miles