Trail Notes – September 9 (Barren-Chairback Range – Fourth Mt., Mt. Three and a Half, Third Mt., Columbus Mt., Chairback Mt.)

The day started early as usual – and with my new hiking ‘pole’, which was not usual. Day 2 with a stick! But, I had a brainstorm while up on one of the mountains where I had cell reception, and contacted Shaw’s, the hostel back in Monson where I stayed. Yes, they had some mismatched poles left in the hiker box, and no, they had no problem dropping them off at Katahdin Ironworks Rd. when they made a scheduled food drop for another hiker at noon. So I picked up an otherwise excellent pair of mismatched trekking poles late in the day, tagged for Ziptie, and right where they were supposed to be! Shaws saved my life!  I still finished out the day with the stick, it was less than a mile to the Pleasant River camping area, and it seemed fitting.

It was a long day – only 9.8 miles, but lots of mountains, as you can tell from the title. I finished the rest of the B-C range; the first mountain, Fourth Mountain, took so long to get down, I began to wonder if it was bottomless!  Mt. Three and a Half, and there really is a mountain named that!, was just a minor bump between Fourth and Third, as you might expect. Third and Columbus Mts. were pretty average, I don’t remember anything much about them, but Chairback Mountain has a mercifully short, but kinda fun, descent down an old rockslide, so some rock scrambling was on tap! Shortly after I finished the rockslide, a lady with a dog came by going south; poor dog! I wonder how it got up some of the huge rock chunks I climbed down.

I camped that night next to a pleasant little stream that fed into the Pleasant River, listening to it was very soothing. I wasn’t the only one – among the other hikers camped were G-man and Baltimore Bob. I would be constantly crossing their paths in days to come.

Oh, yes. On Fourth Mountain, I almost wrecked my knee – slate is very slippery, particularly when wet and my left knee got caught while trying to negotiate a downward climb, while the rest of me slid. Very painful at first, but it wore off quickly. There were three hikers nearby who heard me cry out, one gave me ibuprofen and Aleve, just in case, and another stayed with me until he was sure I was okay. Hikers look out for each other!

I still need to work on bear bag hanging skills, but am getting bettet. I was looking forward to my Shaws Monday food drop, but also enjoying the lessened weight of the pack. It rained last night, but sunny and beautiful today, hope it will continue.

I just noticed my tenses are all messed up, since I am typing this post incorporating notes from days ago. I hope it makes enough sense!

I hike on!

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