July 24th
Beamis Mtn Lean-to(1947.2)-Piazza Rock Lean-to(1966.7) Maine

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook’s AT Hiker app. He has apps for many trails including the PCT and CDT.

We awoke to a nice cool foggy morning. Neither one of us was looking forward to putting cold wet clothes back on, so we did all we could to pack up in our warm dry pajamas. Once everything was packed up, we quickly changed out in the open hoping no one would walk by and started hiking to warm up. It was much cooler, so I was able to wear my long sleeve until lunch instead of my wet short sleeve. It wasn’t as bad as we anticipated and we warmed up quickly with a bit of uphill. We hiked up to the second peak of Bemis Mtn and got to see the view that we missed in the rain yesterday. It was a perfect way to start off the morning hiking on smooth rock and taking in the view as the misty fog lifted to reveal a lake and rolling mountains in the distance.

Soon after that, we dropped down to our first of many fords in Maine. The hike down was very slow going on steep slick rock and roots and we were quite happy when we got through that. The ford wasn’t major and we didn’t mind it since our shoes and socks were still wet from the rain yesterday.

The big event of the day was that some blog followers from Maine were going to be nearby and offered to provide some trail magic at the end of the day today. This is the middle of a six day leg for us, so the opportunity to get some real food and add a bonus to our food bags was really motivating! We talked about it yesterday and all day today as we inched toward some real food! We want to average 20mi/day this leg, so when we looked ahead and saw a lean-to(shelter) and campsite at 19.5mi with a nice side trip to explore rock boulders, we set our sights to end there. We know we could do a bit more, but we are enjoying this so much together that we are happy to stretch it out and do shorter days to relax more and take it in. We came to a road crossing with a bench at a viewpoint overlooking Mooselookmeguntic Lake. We sat and took it in. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was a memorable view for us and we thought the name was great, so I’ve thrown it in.

Speaking of taking it in, we had lunch at Sabbath Day Pond and took a long relaxed lunch to dry out the wet tents from last night. We met a caretaker hiking southbound for the day and she said she had see nine northbounders, so we are actually near some thrus. We’ve hardly see any thrus since entering the Whites. The caretaker kindly gave us some dark chocolate and took our photo at the pond.

The rest of the day, we were on a mission to hit the road for trail magic by my guesstimated time of 4pm. There was some rooty and muddy trail, but then the last four miles or so opened up for some great cruising! There were even stretches without roots and rocks!

I finally convinced Jett Cat to try listening to some music while she hiked and she used my extra MP3 player I had in my bounce box last town. I absolutely love having music and audiobooks to hike along to and I’m really amazed that Jett Cat has hiked this far on the AT, much of it solo, without listening to anything. As soon as she listened, she really enjoyed it and it even brought tears to her eyes. I know many judge it, but I have to say that the right music can really enhance the hiking experience from time to time. She said it helped her today because she was having knee pain and it took her mind off of it so she could enjoy the hiking more. It also brings an element of emotion to your thoughts rather than cycling through many of the same thoughts or focusing on discomfort. I know many don’t understand listening to music and it is a personal preference, but for long hikes out many months, I find it to be very inspiring and motivating at times.

We were motivated to get to our trail magic and somehow arrived just one minute before 4pm when I guesstimated that time this morning 17mi away. The planner side of me was very proud of that. When we hit the parking lot, we met Cheryl aka Out. Her husband Kirk aka Down, was off getting us burgers and fries, but Out already had chairs setup for us with huge cups of chocolate milkshakes, Subway sandwiches, and cookies. It was great! There was even some resupply foods we were short on and raspberry lemonade in which the cap read, “Consuming this product may cause joy.” While we were there, two section hikers arrived leaving a car for a shuttle. They were 78yr old twins section hiking the AT and they only have about 300mi left. They said they’re known as the Trekking Twins and I just had to get a photo with them. Love it! Then Down arrived with burgers and fries. Jett Cat and I ate one of them and hiked in with the rest. We had two miles to get to camp and were well fueled. We will hopefully see Down and Out again in a couple days when we go into Stratton as they may be able to shuttle us to town. THANK YOU Down and Out!!!

We got to camp around 6pm and it was one of the most popular shelters in Maine, the Piazza Rock Lean-to and campsite. It was pretty full, but we fortunately found a campsite removed from all the noise and action that we could squeeze our tents into.

This shelter is popular because it has a side trail to climb around boulders and explore…it reminded us of Mahoosuc Notch a bit and we got a couple photos. It was just fun to hike up a trail without our packs! I swear we really feel like we are on a weekend trip and that we aren’t thru hiking with how relaxed we are.

The shelter is also popular because there is a unique privy for two with a cribbage board in the middle. Of course we had to photograph the privy! Notice the sign that says, “Your Move” on the outside.

We got back to camp and ate our remaining burger and fries before doing chores and retreating to bed. We each still have half a Subway sandwich for lunch tomorrow. Again, I’m getting to sleep before 10pm, so I’m really excited about that! Another great day and a nice cool night for a perfect night of sleep. Doesn’t get much better than this!

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