7/17 Day 122

We woke up early to rain but much cooler temperatures. Kathleen’s back had healed a bit and we fashioned a back brace out of Joe’s sitting pad so her pack wouldn’t rub. We decided to try for Monson, 29 miles away, so we could take a zero the following day. We finished our climb down Pleasant Pond Mountain slowly because of large, slippery rocks. We hiked over Moxie Bald Mountain and made it to our first real river fording on the West Branch of the Piscataquis River. The fording had a rope for when the water rose to high or dangerous levels and with all the rain the area had received in the past few days, the rope was essential for crossing. The water was at our waists and the current was extremely strong in sections but we made it across slowly without falling. After a break at Horseshoe Canyon Shelter we forded the East Branch of the Piscataquis River. This fording was just as high but did not have the need for a rope as the current was slower. A southbounder told us they had been stranded the day before because of high waters up to chest height. It continued to rain the rest of the day but we made it into Monson by 6:30 and secured the last spots at Shaw’s Hostel for the night. We were happy to have a hot shower, a bed and food from Lakeshore Pub. We saw the largest group of hikers in town that we had seen in since Virginia, both NOBO and SOBO. We hiked 29 miles for the day, the longest hike since Shenandoah.

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