sight-seeing: days 115-120

Day 115: Baldpate Lean-to to Hall Mountain Lean-to, 14 miles
Day 116: Hall Mountain Shelter to South Arm Road, 4.1 miles
Day 117: South Arm Road to Sabbaday Pond Lean-to, 17 miles
Day 118: Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to to Route 4, 9.4 miles
Days 119 & 120: Rangeley, 0 miles
Total AT miles hiked: 1969.4
Miles left: 220.4

It sprinkled overnight, and more rain was threatened for later in the day, so we put a hot foot to it leaving the shelter to make it over the Baldpates. I’ve hiked these mountains before, and they are beautiful. The terrain looked like it evened out a bit after the Baldpates, but proved itself to still be challenging despite lacking steep trails. After the exposed granite slabs of the Baldpates we descended into the thick Maine forest, and stayed amongst the quagmire of knotted roots and mud for the remainder of the day. 

By the time we reached Hall Mountain Lean-to a little before 4pm, we were exhausted. With the predicted rain we decided to stop early, a decision our sore legs were very happy about. True to the forecast, it poured overnight and into the morning. There was a break in the rain, and we left the shelter later than usual, but only had 4.1 miles downhill to reach South Arm Road where we planned to hitch 9 miles into the tiny town of Andover to resupply. We picked our way through more thick woods and over slippery roots to the road, where it promptly started raining again. We were getting cold so we started walking into town, hoping that we wouldn’t have to walk too far before getting a ride. South Arm Road is a very quiet road, with a campground and some private camps east of the trailhead. As a result, all the traffic was coming out of town, and not into it. A truck stopped to see if we were okay, but couldn’t give us a ride into town because as he put it, “I’m not going that way.” I told Garrett we should probably offer the next car to stop some money if they would turn around and give us a ride, and we didn’t have to wait that long before another truck was headed out of town. They stopped, and told us they’d bring us into town, no money required. It was generous of them to turn around from where they just come, but as they said it was raining anyway so there wasn’t much to do around camp. Now that we were cold and wet, it was easy to decide to stay in town. We resupplied, lazed about playing board games, and the next morning we were able to get a quick ride back to the trailhead. 

The day started out promising, and we climbed up the steep hill to get back to the ridge. We walked along more granite, shifting to tight forest in the afternoon. I rolled my ankle a couple of times, and the last I couldn’t seem to shake off. By 4pm we were still 5 miles from the shelter we had hoped to make it to, but we ran into some kind folks grilling hot dogs for hikers on a gravel road. We eagerly accepted the trail magic, and sat down for a break. We felt confident we’d make it to the shelter, but it became a soggy hike. We had to ford a river, and I took my shoes off to not get them wet. Twenty minutes later it downpoured, and continued to do so for the next two hours that we hiked the remaining miles to the shelter. So much for dry shoes, or dry anything. The rain made it that we had to keep going to have a dry place to cook, so we pressed on eventually making it there a little before 8pm. There were two more spots left, and we were happy our effort was not for nothing! We changed into dry clothes, ate dinner, and quickly fell asleep. 

The next morning we had a mostly downhill hike to Route 4, where we planned to hitch 9 miles into Rangeley. We hadn’t initially thought we’d go into Rangeley, but my ankle was still bothering me, and our things were still soaking wet, we thought it would be good to go into town to take a proper day off. We got a quick hitch into town, and made it in time for lunch. Afterwards, we did laundry and relaxed for the evening and following day. We’ve wanted to visit Rangeley since we’ve lived in Maine, and this was a good chance to do it! We checked out of the hotel room after our day off, and waited on the side of the road for someone to pick us up. After ten minutes nobody had, and somewhere in that time we decided to take another day off as my ankle wasn’t feeling any better. We walked back to the hotel and asked if we could have our room back, which we could, and we settled back into day off mode again. We bought me a brace for my ankle, and will try to slow it down even more so that we can make it to Katahdin eventually!

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