Day 166 – August 20 – 10.7 miles – Rangeley to Poplar Ridge
Elevation Change: 6630 feet
In the morning, Zeus and Flashfire headed out first. We didn’t take it personally. They were up earlier, and hitch hiking worked out better for all of us when we split up anyway.
So, that’s how Stoat and I found ourselves walking down the main drag of Rangeley early in the morning.
As we were walking down the street, it began to rain. As we passed a breakfast place Stoat said,”I’m hungry.” That surprised me because it was usually me that was the hungry one. Not one to argue about food, I quickly agreed that it was a good idea to stop in for a bite to eat.
When we went inside, the rain began to pour down. Perfect timing!
By the time we left, the rain had almost completely stopped. Even better!
We walked down the road with our thumbs out, and quickly scored a ride out of town.
Joe, the driver, was from Portland, Maine. He was out here to spend a few days out on his kayak. He was waiting for the rain to stop when he saw us. He figured giving us a ride would kill some time. It was a win-win.
When we got back to the trail, we began the 2500 foot climb up to the top of Saddleback Mountain.
Along the way, we passed the Piazza Rock Lean-to. We decided to stop in and use the privy.
The privy was a little different from the ones we were used to.
We did not use the privy at the same time…
As we continued our climb, the sky began to clear up.
By the time we got to the top, the sky cleared up significantly.
What a view!
From the top of Saddleback Mt., we would traverse over to The Horn, over 2 miles away. All the while, we would be above treeline, and the weather couldn’t be better. What luck!
Not long after we started to make our way over to The Horn, we met a family out hiking for the day. They asked us where we were from, and we said NJ. They asked us where in NJ, and we said Linden. “You’ve got to be kidding”, said the wife, “My dad owned a store on Wood Avenue for years and years!” Here we were, in the-middle-of-nowhere Maine, and we meet someone who grew up in our hometown. What a small world!
The 360 degree views from The Horn were just as beautiful as the views from Saddleback.
Stoat and I hung out on the top of the Horn for a while. With less than four miles to go, we figured we had time to relax and enjoy the view.
After leaving The Horn, we descended about 1000 feet and then climbed up Saddleback Jr. The views were similar to The Horn.
When we got to the other side of the summit of Saddleback Jr, we had a mildly unpleasant surprise.
You may notice that, in the picture below, there is a rocky path that seems to end at the edge of a cliff. Well, that’s the AT, and it does lead to a cliff…and then it goes down it.
It was a very steep, technical, down climb from the summit of Saddleback Jr. Normally we would have enjoyed that kind of stuff, but it was at the end of the day and we wanted to get to camp.
We were only 1.5 miles from camp, which, under normal circumstances, meant we were about a half hour away. Because the trail was so technical, it took 1 to 1.5 hours to get there.
Once we got to camp, met up with Zeus and Flashfire, and ate, we had time to reflect on the day. It was another spectacular day in the woods. None of us want it to end.
209.7 miles to go.