Day 102: Solstice, SOBOs, and Skin

Friday June 21, 19.5mi/31.4km

Bemis Mountain shelter (1953.9) to Piazza Rock shelter (1973.4)

Happy Solstice day! The SOBO hikers in the shelter got up early, before 6am. They were quiet packing up, but since the sun rises so early, I was awake shortly after 6am. We got slowly packed up, and noticed that the rain had stopped, so we left the shelter at 7am. The first peak was the Lower Bemis Mountain, and it was completely foggy up there.

At the bottom of the descent, we had our first river Ford!

Maine is supposedly known for not having bridges, so I expect this will be the first of many. Then after a short but steep climb, we had our first real view of the day. I think these are the Rangely Lakes.

We had a road crossing, and there were dozens of stickers on the guiderail, this one was my favorite.

Maine was also living up to its reputation as a wet state, we had many sections of the boardwalks today. We also saw two SOBO (southbound) hikers, but since they weren’t wearing clothing, I didn’t take a photo.

And some of the boards weren’t in very good repair.

Today was a shift from summits to flat valleys, and we walked by many ponds and small lakes. A few even had rowboats or canoes left on the shore for anyone to use!

At the end of the day, we got a good view, and a preview into tomorrow’s climb, Saddleback mountain.

We saw 3 more SOBO thru-hikers, and again most of them were hiking in birthday suits, haha! Gotta love Solstice day hiking.

The last couple of miles were easy, and crossed a couple of streams.

Just before I got to the shelter, I passed two more SOBO hikers. So many today, I think eight total! And of course they weren’t wearing anything except backpacks and smiles. I guess SOBO thru-hikers take the Solstice day tradition seriously!

We stopped at Piazza Rock shelter for the night. I went to check out the namesake rock feature. It was huge!

It was fun to walk around inside the jumble of boulders too.

There was also an area nearby called “the caves”, so of course I explored that as well.

The privy at the shelter was ridiculous. The name..

And it was a dual-seater! Do people hold hands? Or play cribbage, using the board installed between the seats?

The caretaker, Sleepy Pete, came over and we chatted for an hour about trail, gear, life, and of course food. Tomorrow, we get to climb some 4000-footers!

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