8-20-09 day 79
start: Pierce Pond Lean-To, ME
end: Pleasant Pond Lean-To, ME
daily mileage: 9.7
total mileage: 1011.2
We woke up nice and early to get to Tim's famous pancake breakfast just a few miles from the shelter. Sea Monster lead the "tasty train" of 5 or so people to Tim's lodge, where he served us a huge stack of 12 pancakes or $8. Sea Monster anted up a few extra bucks for bacon and eggs, too! We hung out for about 2 hours, as we were in no big hurry- we had to be at the Kennebec river between 9 and 11 (don't worry, I'll explain this later).
In the mean time though, our host Tim hung out with us and chatted it up. He seemed normal at first, but we soon realized that he was anything but. He started with a tale of woe at how he'd recently been found (for the first time in his adult life) by the US Census bureau. It's important to avoid them, he stated, as those pesky census guys like to plant subcutaneous GPS locator chips in ya (he evidently resisted, and so managed to avoid this treatment). He then started explaining to us about how Obama was part of a global conspiracy (with several other liberal world leaders and the secretary general of the UN) to combine the avian flu, the swine flu, and some other flu into a superflu. This will eliminate most of the world's population, which these world leaders apparently want. Oh, and if the flu doesn't kill you, the mandatory flu vaccine will! This will somehow ensure a new global socialist government over the few survivors, and will all happen this fall. So when your neighbors start dropping off like flies, folks, remember- you heard it here first!
We left and walked down to the Kennebec, the largest unbridged river across the AT. The AT in Maine has lots of unbridged river crossings (you just do a knee-deep ford), but this one was too deep and swift for the AT to consider safe. Their solution was to hire a ferry (a dude in a canoe) for a few hours a day to ferry you across. The guy was hilarious (think hillbilly extraordinaire). Once on the other side, we hitched 16 miles into Bingham for a minor resupply before we got to Monson.
Bingham was a sad little town, reflecting Maine's shattered economy. Everything was boarded up but a few little storefronts. The grocery store was decent, though. When we hitched out again, it was in the flat bed of this guy's truck. We got a bit worried when he stopped halfway through our hitch to pee on the side of the road (he'd been drinking earlier with his buddies, he told us) but we made it back to the trailhead safe and sound. It was an easy few miles to the shelter, where we found a nice beach (more swimming!). For a change, we got in nice and early- it was great lazing about and reading all evening. Dinner was exciting: we're now adding stuffing to our hot meals, which adds loads of flavor! Delicious!