Got a late start out of the lean-to. I decided to sleep in a little after my rough push to there in the rain last night. Also, I'm never excited to put on wet clothes in the morning. Left around 9am and had to take my time going over the wet, rocky slab terrain. The constant slight downward slant made it tough to maintain traction and stay upright. I managed to only lose my footing a few times, but never actually went down. There was once again a lot of running water on the trail, and when I got to the steep downhill section, I had to really slow down and take my time to be careful. At times I was throwing my trekking poles down about 20 feet and using my arms to hold onto trees and sometimes scoot on my butt to keep from falling. It was a slow moving, tough morning. it was once again an eerie looking environment with all the clouds up where I was. Almost a mystical looking place.
When I finally got down to a flatter area, I ran into Houdini who was slack packing South again. He was talking to a lady who was heading southbound, but not doing the whole trail. I hung out down there for a while and chatted before I carried on. I had a climb up to Rt 17, where Houdini had been dropped off. Up there was a great scenic view of a big lake. The newly constructed area had a few cars with people stopping to take in the sights. I walked up to the area to sit and have lunch, and Juggles was there. He mentioned that Danish had gotten sick the night before. Sounded once again like what everyone else was getting. We ate lunch then I made a phone call home and Juggles took off. He's a very awkward and negative guy, so I wasn't disappointed when he took off and I'd be hiking by myself. I got back into the woods and the weather and terrain were good the rest of the day. No rain, and the terrain just did a few slight ups and downs, but could be cruised over a lot easier. I decided I would try and push the 19 miles (15 or so remaining, into Rangeley. The terrain remained good, so I made good time and hit the road before 6pm.
As I got to the road there was a parking lot. I saw a hiker and another man there talking. I asked if this was the road to Rangeley, and the man said yes, and that he'd give me a ride there as he was headed back. So easy! We headed out and on the way into town, we stopped at the campground he lives at. The owner was there and was about ready to fire off his homemade cannon across his pond. He loaded the chamber with black powder, shoved a 2 inch branch from a tree that was about 18 inches long, and lit it. The cannon blew the branch out over the pond with a huge bang! That was awesome! He got one to fit even tighter and it fired louder and harder. He offered for me to stay there and camp, but I needed to get to town, so we made our way in. Upon dropping me off, Gary asked me to do one thing. To do a random act of kindness each day. I thought this was awesome, and will definitely try my best to do so.
I went to the Red Onion restaurant in town to get some pizza. Ordered a large for myself and ate all but 2 pieces. Didn't want to feel miserable. While eating, a lady and daughter came over to ask me about the trail. They were excited to hear about it, which was cool! Then they came back over with another daughter, son, and the husband. They were all interested to hear about it, so I talked to them for a while. They asked where I was staying and I told them I didn't know yet, but I was eyeing the baseball field across the street :). They told me I should come stay with them at their vacation house. They were up from Jersey on vacation and just got into town today. Sounded great! I finished up eating when they went to get ice cream and they came back to get me. I got a shower, did laundry, and did a show and tell about what I carry on the trail. They are a family of athletes (the kids all swimmers), so they were really interested in my journey, being that it is a big physical challenge. I had my own bedroom and nice big comfy bed. Such a nice family!
Most random ending to a day on trail, but I love it! Started off kinda crummy with being wet and dangerous terrain, but someone had bigger, better plans for my day! Everything fell so perfectly into place that it's hard to believe.