August 10th, 2019: Otter Pond Trail to Katahdin Ironworks Road, 15.5 miles
Today I got up at 6 am for coffee, and then ate breakfast at 6:45 am. Gary dropped Lazarus, me, and the three Alaskans at the Otter Pond Trail parking lot. We all headed uphill. At the AT, the Alaskans turned south, while Lazarus and I turned north. The overcast sky looked ominous. The trail climbed 1,100 feet, leveled off, then climbed another 600 feet to Barn Mountain. Onward we hiked to the turnoff towards Cloud Pond Cloud Lean-to, before dropping to the Fourth Mountain Bog where I found carnivorous pitcher plants (see photo).
On the climb to Fourth Mountain, light rain fell- making the rocks and roots slippery. The AT gained and lost elevation five times over the day, with lots of opportunities for slipping and falling, not to mention the physical exertion the trail demanded. After the rain stopped, I ate my lunch of leftover pizza while sitting on a wet rock by the trail. At about 1 pm, the rain resumed but stopped an hour later. The sun peeked through the clouds, and I hoped the rain would hold off- at least until I got up and partway down Chairback Mountain.
Happily, that’s what happened. On top of the mountain at 2:45 pm, I texted Shaw’s to say that I’d arrive at the road at 4:45 pm. After negotiating a nasty boulder field down the mountain, I continued very carefully and reached the road at 4:35. Lazarus had already arrived. We waited an hour until AJ picked us up and drove us back to Shaw’s. We were both grateful that we decided to slack pack this section. There is another challenging section to slack tomorrow.