August 12th, 2019: Logan Brook Road to Antlers Camp site, 19.6 miles
Our last day of slack packing got underway slowly. AJ, our driver, needed to help with breakfast and couldn’t leave on time. Lazarus and I rode back to Logan Brook Road where we slacked south yesterday. Today, starting at 9:30 am, we headed north and downhill for two miles to the Cloud Branch Lean-to. In a quarter mile, we rock-hopped the East Branch of Pleasant River then headed uphill for an easy 800-foot climb to Little Boardman Mountain.
After descending for two miles, something marvelous happened: The trail improved dramatically. Instead of roots and rocks, the tread was smooth and duffy (see photo). I wondered if I had taken another trail, but the white blazes showed I was on the AT. I dined on peanut butter for lunch at Cooped Brook then continued gradually downhill to Cooper Brook Lean-to. After 4 more miles of easy hiking, I reached Jo-Mary Road at 2:15 pm. AJ was supposed to deliver our backpacks to the spot at 3 pm. I found Lazarus visiting with two south-bound section hikers. After spraying my legs with insect repellant, the hikers left and we waited. AJ arrived at 3:05 pm and we switched our backpacks for our loaner day packs. We each also got a cold soda.
With full packs, we walked 4 miles to Antlers camp site on Jo-Mary Pond. After setting up my tent, I rinsed off in the lake and cooked dinner. Happily, the mosquitoes that bothered me today disappeared. This was my longest mileage day of the trip, thanks to the good trail. The two south-bound hikers told us that the tough trail is behind us. We should be able to hike 37 miles to Abol Bridge at the edge of Baxter State Park in two days and summit Katahdin two days later. The unsettled weather seems to have moved on.