(Daily Mi: 19.1) Hard, hot mosquito bitten hike to an awesome, awesome place! We took off by 5:30 am to beat the heat and get clear of the strange vibe at the retreat center.
We saw a bear cub a few yards off the Trail at the top of the first ridge, and I have a minor panic attack. Woodman has a good laugh and chastises me for being so visibly unnerved. He is right that I cannot freak out when encountering bears, particularly 3' high cubs. Still ...
A couple of hours on, we meet a thru-hiker named Jiffy just breaking camp and getting under way. We set off together, but Jiffy is about 6'4 with very long legs, and although he seems to lope along, he quickly leaves us in his dust.
The heat gets to the Woodman today and topping out on the last major ridge of the day I see him falter for the first time.
Upper Goose Pond is well worth the hike. It's an old style wilderness camp (probably about 80-90 years old) owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club and sited on mountain pond. The second floor of the main cabin has been converted to a bunkhouse which is made available to "long distance" hikers during the season. The stay includes a pancake breakfast prepared by AMC volunteer caretakers.
Nice group in for the night. In addition to a couple of section hikers (and Woodman & me) there is Jiffy, Blackhawk, Squaw and a kilt wearing thru-hiker named Viking who has just gotten back on after a week in Boston (where he apparently picked up some kind of nasty bug as he keeps the entire bunkhouse awake hacking through the night)