We woke up early, close to 5:30am. Our sleeping bags, our packs, everything, was covered in a thick dew. We packed quickly – I ran across the AT to find a suitable privy before packing up. Pad thai.
Today’s elevation profile looked nice and flat – we were ready to move. We hiked strong in the clear, crisp weather. The trail was wonderful – full of green moss and ferns. We kept our heads down and hustled – we saw an opportunity to make up lost time.
We crossed ME 4, the road crossing for Rangeley, just before 11:30am and stopped to have a snack – we had already hiked almost ten miles on the day. We left quickly and started the difficult ascent of Saddleback Mountain. It took us nearly four hours, but we summited just before 4:00pm and were awarded with some great views of what lay ahead.
We hiked down into a small sway and then straight back up to The Horn, summiting at 5:00pm. We decided to take another long break. We sat and watched as a thunderstorm in the distance moved in and pummel Rangeley with showers. We stayed dry by at least ten miles. It was pretty cool.
We decided to press on and find a campsite near Poplar Ridge. We ascended Saddleback Junior, gathered water from a stream, and found a suitable spot on a ledge near the peak. We were both initially concerned about rain, but decided to risk it. The sunset brought clearer skies and, as we cooked dinner, we talked about getting another early start.