Day 149: East Branch Lean-To to Potaywadjo Spring Lean-To

August 10, 2013

Today’s mileage: 19.5
Total mileage: 2137.6

I’m really going to miss mornings on the trail like we had his morning. The mornings after a rainy day when the sky is clear, the sun’s light glows on the horizon, and a breeze passes through the trees above. I laid in my warm sleeping bag taking in the scene, knowing that there weren’t many of these mornings left. I didn’t even realize how much I loved them until today, when I knew that my days of sleeping outside were numbered.

We started off the day with a ford over the East Branch of Pleasant River. Because of all of the rain over the past two days, the small river was raging. The water went up to our knees and sometimes above. The fast-moving current wasn’t very wide, but it wasn’t a current that you would want to lose your footing in. After Miles crossed safely, he helped me across as I used him as my stability rather than my poles. I managed to stay on a few higher rocks to stay out of the rushing current. I wasn’t scared like I was during the Cascade Brook crossing in New Hampshire, but it did bring back flashbacks to that day. Once we were across and dried off, we cruised down the trail for almost the entire day. The terrain was smooth for some of the way, but also full of the rocks, roots, and mud that we are so used to.

We took a quick break at Cooper Brook Falls Lean-To, a beautiful spot, before moving on to Jo-Mary Road where we met up with my dad. We had planned for him to bring us a resupply here, but what we weren’t expecting was the awesome trail magic he had brought with him as well. It was a welcome sight to see his red truck, Grateful Dead playing on the speakers, chairs and a table set up, and two coolers sitting on top of the truck bed. I grabbed an orange soda and a water, Miles took a Rolling Rock and we began to chow down on my mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese with sausage. I wasn’t expecting any of this, so it was perfect to just sit and relax in the sun and eat some damn good food. There was so much food, that we couldn’t possibly eat it all. Grapes, watermelon, cheese, salami, brownies, and Hershey bars. We were perfectly stuffed when we left Jo-Mary Road a couple of hours later. Unfortunately, we are stuck between two hiker bubbles right now, so there was only one other hiker that passed through to partake in the trail magic. We packed out some mac and cheese, soda, and beer for dinner however.

My dad left the cooler out on the truck for any hikers that passed through while he hiked a couple of miles north with us. The hiking was more of the same, flat with a few muddy areas. We said goodbye to my dad on the trail as he went back south and we continued on north. Our previous goodbyes were always hard, but this time we knew that we would see each other again in just a few short days at the base of Katahdin! We were all excited and looking forward to that day where the three of us will hike the last 5.1 miles together. I can’t believe that our summit day is so close. I think once we get our first view of Katahdin tomorrow morning, it will all start to become more real. Have I mentioned how awesome my parents are? Really, my dad didn’t have to take an entire Saturday to drive up here to drop off food and do trail magic, but he did. And my mom didn’t have to cook pounds of mac and cheese for us. But she did. And Miles’ mom didn’t have to buy food for us and other hikers today. But she also did. Our halfway point resupply in the Wilderness couldn’t have gone any better. It was our last, but our best resupply yet.

We hiked near a few ponds this evening before arriving at the lean-to. There is a group of girls and a father and son section-hiking here. We’re tenting near the lean-to as usual. We enjoyed not having to cook tonight as we ate our macaroni and cheese and drank our soda and beer. There’s nothing like my mom’s home-cooked food. That’s one thing that I’ve really missed out here.

Today was our last 19+ mile day and tomorrow will be our last day over 15 miles. It’s strange to see only a few days left as I look through the guidebook. It’s exhilarating, but at the same time I almost feel lost at the prospect of not having to plan our next days of hiking. I’m so used to it by now. Hiking has become our new reality.

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9 thoughts on “Day 149: East Branch Lean-To to Potaywadjo Spring Lean-To

  1. Aunt Kathy says:

    Good job brother Jack!! Good luck to all of you on your 5 mile hike up Katahdin. Love Aunt Kathy

  2. Emily Reed says:

    I have to say I was late to the party in terms of reading your blog, Linds, but I am so glad that I made it 🙂 I’m truly enjoying reading about your adventures. For some reason I’ve cried a few times (obvi. when I read about the proposal 🙂 so I can only imagine what an emotional journey this has been for you and Miles! Best of luck on you last few days – can’t wait to hopefully see you guys soon!! xoxo

  3. Denise Gordon says:

    I am happy you enjoyed my mac and cheese with sausage!!!! I knew you would, but I didn’t know how much to cook for other hikers. I also enjoyed eating it as I don’t eat that type of food any longer, it was a treat. You do have a great dad who would do anything for his girls, including me. xoxoxo

  4. you guys have the BEST parents!!!

    can you tell they are proud?

  5. Mac and cheese with sausage sounds amazing! As much as you’re going to miss the trail-I’m going to miss your blogposts in my mailbox-honestly, your hike has expanded my understanding of the geography of the eastern states and the dedication and endurance hiking the AT entails. Glad your folks could do some trail magic! Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts-enjoy every step!

  6. Kristin says:

    I agree with Jeanmarie, I will miss your blog posts. Thank you for taking the time to write about every single day on the trail. 😀

  7. YOLO says:

    Final countdown … enjoy it!

  8. Sit a Bit says:

    Well, I figure you are hiking into the Birches today, or you are climbing the summit of Katahdin today. Good luck, a quick end to an overwhelming adventure.

  9. The other Mom + future Mom-in-law says:

    Oh, How I wish I could be at the base of Katahdin to welcome you down after completing this fabulous journey. The nostalgia seeps into each blog now and takes more of a center stage. While we will be very glad to have you home, this will be a huge transition for you; from trail life to the mundane life of the hometown. And yes, Flash, your blogs have allowed all of its followers to experience and savor some of you most accomplished moments. . . . and some of the more humorous and humbling ones as well. Thank you for taking us all along! Prill/Mom
    PS: Congrats to any of the few Thru-Hikers we met at Pinkham/Gorham who have completed or are about to complete their treks.

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