Nasty and I got up early to get a head start on our day. I love that he likes to be up with the sunrise with me and get going early. We had a 21 mile hike to get to Stratton and wanted to get up and over the several 4,000 foot climbs that we had and get into town pretty early. The hike went perfectly. We swept my over the peaks in great weather and caught some amazing views of the Carrabassett Valley.
We are in a very remote part of Maine and it is wonderful to look out for hundreds of miles and see just endless trees and bright blue sky. We stopped for lunch along a deep river that we expected to have to ford. Just as we were finishing our lunch, two Trail maintainers arrived with a long plank that they install every year as a makeshift bridge. Man, does the Trail provide or what? They were great guys and had hiked this bridge in every year around the same time. They were excited to see us and we exchanged some hiking stories before heading up for our last big climb of the day.
On the way up, I reached out to Pancho to see if he was in the area to give us a ride into town and he was indeed. He met us right as we arrived at the parking lot and he whisked us into town for a resupply trip. When we got out of the grocery store he discovered that he had a flat tire. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a spare and there are no auto shops in town that could help. There was one next door but they were closed indefinitely.
It took me a minute to think of this but I remembered that I had AAA and reached out to them for help. They were great but it was going to be several hours before they could arrive and the closest tire shop was an hour away in Farmington. Pancho asked me to cancel the service call and he was going to buy some fix a flat and see if a local could give him some air. That worked and he said he was going to head to the tire shop in Farmington. Instead, he headed back to the trailhead parking lot hoping the tire would hold. You guessed it – it didn’t.
Nasty and I got another ride to the inn where we are spending the night and left poor Pancho in the parking lot to trouble shoot. A few hours later, he reached back out and I got up early this morning and back on the phone with AAA. They were so helpful and I got a tow truck on the way to help him out. It took a some serious sweet talking but they made an exception to the rule that I had to be present as the policy holder to render assistance. The phrase “I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail” is like a magic incantation sometimes. Try it – it works.
The inn where we are staying is beautiful and the beds were so comfortable. Because of concerns about the virus, they were not offering laundry service but they did set up some wash buckets and a hose that got the job done alright. We walked down to the BBQ place and had a wonderful dinner with unlimited fountain soda! The mark of true fine dining for thru hikers. We are headed out shortly to tackle the Bigelow Mountain range and we are just four days from Monson, Maine and that is our last resupply before the 100 mile wilderness. We are only 180 or so miles from the finish. I am going to miss all this craziness and problem solving. But I won’t miss the wash buckets.😬