We got to visit with Patti, the innkeeper, even more, and she offered to take us back to the trail, which was especially generous of her, since it was not as close as it usually is when we go in to a town.
We walked a few doors down and bought groceries, and came back and repackaged everything before putting it and the clean laundry back into our backpacks. If you are curious about what my food looks like for five days of hiking, this is it:
From left to right is bags of Chex packaged with powdered milk, corn tortillas and Jif, tuna packets packaged with Thai Kitchen Rice Noodle Bowls, Glutino Cereal Bars, and peanut M&M's. (My food is a bit different from the guys', because mine is gluten-free).
After we packed, we got a ride back to the trail, and on the way, Patti swung us by a BBQ place to pick up a good lunch. We got to the trail head, and the parking lot was full! I guess this section of the trail is quite popular. Also, today is Saturday. Patti gave us all hugs, and wished us well. She needed to get back to the Inn. If you are ever in Bethel, be sure and look her up - her inn is an awesome place to stay! (By the way, Bethel is also home of the World's Tallest Snowoman!)
We sat and ate our lunch with three other thru-hikers in the parking lot . As we sat there, a lady, who had obviously just dayhiked, came back from her car with a blueberry pie, a case of root beer, and a bag of apples. She said she hikes there often, and always brings trail magic. Her name was Misses Moose, because when she hiked, she always missed seeing moose. Clever name!
After the boys finished eating the pie right out of the pie plate (no one had plates or a big knife to cut it, but they all had sporks), we crossed the highway and found a huge AT symbol right on the side of the road.
After taking the required photos, we immediately headed uphill, and continued climbing Baldplate Mountains, both peaks, for several hours. Although it got quite steep, at least it was walkable trail. There was no climbing at all. As we hiked up, we met a lot of dayhikers, and quite a few had questions for us. We were only hiking five miles today, so out time and enjoyed chatting. We passed another pre-orientation trip with Harvard freshmen. We had no idea this pre-orientation backpacking trip was such a popular thing here. Yesterday, just before we left the trail, we had run into another group from Colby College. Another thru-hiker told us he had met a group from Harvard in the Whites.
We reached the top of Bald Plate, and when we started down the other side, had to go all the way down on that same type of steep rock face that we had to climb up yesterday. We just took it very slowly, and it never for so steep that we couldnt stay on our feet. The next mountain was made of steep rock ledges, but they were also so steep,that you almost could not stand. We finally reached the top of that one, and the view was really beautiful from the top. We could see a large lake in the distance.
We then baby-stepped down another steep rock face, and once down the mountain, finally reached beautiful, soft, dirt trail. My feet really miss dirt after walking on rock for so long. We hiked another mile of fairly level, soft trail, to a shelter, where we found a really large, level campsite on a hill high above the shelter. After we for here, many other hikers arrived and set up camp, so we have plenty of neighbors tonight.