Location: Pierce Pond, ME
The last day of June. I missed the shuttle to the trail head this morning. Northern Outdoors only runs one shuttle a day, so I walked the highway to Longley’s store. It’s specifically stocked for the thru-hiker and is owned and operated by the same man who operates the canoe ferry across the Kennebec River. I resupplied for a few extra days in the woods. I meant to but a camera, but I forgot. I have seen things today that I would’ve loved to show everyone.
Once I crossed the Kennebec, I ate a few pop-tarts for breakfast. The rain was falling hard. A few NOBO’s passed and flagged down the ferryman, Steve. I only hiked three miles today, but the hike was through the prettiest forest I’ve yet seen. Green moss carpeted the forest floor. Pines and hardwoods were widely spaced and I could see the brown trail meandering over small hills through the trees. The scene was chilling. It put a strange feeling in me that I can’t explain exactly. I felt as though I had left this world and stepped into a Robert Frost poem. I thought perhaps I’d round a rock and find his ghost scribbling lines on a pad. The scene overwhelmed me, and I stopped to sit on a rock beside a large waterfall and collected my thoughts.
I’ve seen similar beauty at Pierce Pond. When I woke from my nap this evening, I could tell that the sun was about to set. I built a perfect fire in the stone pit in front of the lean-to and cooked a tasty dinner. The sunset lasted for over an hour. The Maine sun stays in the sky so long that it sets much slower than at home. With purple and white clouds moving left to right across the Bigelow Mountain peaks, I saw every color in the sky tonight, sometimes bright orange and pink, at others silver and gold. Thunderheads moved slowly towards me up the valley across the lake. I could hear the occasional rumblings of thunder as the cool breeze carried them over the glassy water. Two small fishing boats passed and sent a wake across the lake surface. The waves cut through the reflection of the sunset and the mountains, creating quite a dazzling show.
As the sun disappeared behind the mountain tops, the loons began calling to one another. As I stared at the pond and listened to the calls, two loons surfaced. They screamed at one another and wrestled on the calm water. I couldn’t see the black and white colors, but their large silhouettes were clear. They chased each other. Neither ever flew, but they flapped their wings and ran across the surface of the water. One would dive under the water and the other would follow. They’d return to the surface in a knot, bleating louder each time. With lumbering bodies, they played and fought on the pond. They suddenly disappeared under the water. I kept hoping they’d resurface right in front of me, but they never did. They still call to each other in the night.
I wish I could have shared these experiences with the people I love. While many times in our life we must be alone, today I wanted companionship more than anything else. I realized today that I have been out of North Carolina for three weeks, making this trip the longest I’ve ever been out of my home state. There are many things to see and do, and I’ve only just begun. Tomorrow will bring new challenges and unique sites. While I wait in anticipation for the events to come, tonight I am missing home and those I love. I won’t see any friends or family for months, and that thought depresses me.