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AT 2017: Day 175, Nahmakanta Lake to Rainbow Lake

Come round the bend, you know it's the end

Hike with Gravity

This was a day in which we could put the pedal to the metal and get down the trail as fast as possible. Looking at the trail profile, there was only one small climb to make. Other than that, the trail looked to be mostly flat.

We needed to get extra miles in if we were going to outrun a thunderstorm that was in the forecast for Thursday.

Weather Mostly clear skies with a high temperature in the mid 60s
Trail Conditions One minor climb and descent; the jumble of rocks and roots began to smooth out
Today's Miles 17.7 miles
Trip Miles 2,144.3 miles

Doing this many miles in a day in the 100 Mile Wilderness was not something I had expected in the lead up to entering this section. I had presumed the trail between Monson and Abol Bridge would be extremely difficult, but I discovered that was not entirely the case. The trail got much easier after going over White Cap Mountain.

Where the trail got easier could not have come at a better time. Thankfully as well, I discovered there was still gas in the gas tank when I needed to press down on the pedal.

I may crash and burn later, but for now Stick, Tengo and I are going full speed.

Namakanta Lake was a beautiful spot, and it was a shame we were unable to spend more time here. I walked down to the water to look at it briefly, but then we needed to get going.

Two-tone Albatross made coffee for us, then after packing our gear we thanked him and were off. We left camp at 6:45 a.m.

Namakanta Lake was a long and narrow lake. Leaving the campsite, the trail followed the shoreline for more than 3. 5 miles, mostly on a ridge above the lake.

Along the way, we saw The Honeymooners, who had camped last night not far from us. They said they were trying to stretch out their hike as long as possible because they weren’t ready to go home. A short time later, we met Silk, who was feeling the same way.

Where the trail began to depart from the lake, it went over the top of the only mountain for today, Nasuntabunt Mountain. On the other side, the trail made a turn at a rock outcrop. This opened a gorgeous view of Mt. Katahdin.

The mountain loomed larger and much closer than it had two days ago from White Cap Mountain.

Seeing it this way gave us further motivation to move quickly. And seeing the beautiful, almost clear sky gave us confidence we had favorable conditions to do that.

After descending Nasuntabunt, the trail remained low and flat as it passed a small pond and Pollywog Stream. Fall colors were glowing in the sunlight on the banks of the stream.

There were a few rugged sections of trail this morning, similar to what we walked over yesterday, but the number of rocks and roots on the trail eventually diminished.

We did have to cross a few blowdowns, however.

At 1:30 p.m. the trail passed a natural sluice and some cascades that would have been gushing with water earlier this year. Now in a dry season, there was just more than a trickle.

An hour later, I reached the deadwaters of Rainbow Lake, which is where a couple ponds were formed on the south side of the lake, separated by small streams.

Once the trail reached the full lake, it mostly followed the shoreline for more than five miles. This was a big lake, covering 1,626 acres and was formed by a dam on the west side.

Sporting camps were common on these lakes in the late 1800s and well into the 20th Century. One such camp, Camp Uno, was located on Rainbow Lake. It was advertised as “One of the best all-around Camps in northern Maine” and offered opportunities for trout fishing, as well as hunting moose and deer.

Some of the campsites and shelters we passed yesterday and today were once the sites of sporting camps. Only a few of camps remain in the area today and none are within direct sight of the trail.

We continued on to an unofficial tent site that was located near the east end of the lake. It was nearly dark when we arrived.

The day turned out as we hoped. We walked nearly 18 miles and were able to reach our campsite without needing to use headlamps until after reaching camp.

Until today, it seemed uncertain if we would be able to put in enough extra miles to reach Mt. Katahdin a day earlier than originally planned. To make sure that happens, tomorrow will have to be a bigger mileage day.

Our goal is Katahdin Stream Campground at the base of Mt. Katahdin. To reach it we will have to walk more than 20 miles. This will include leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness and entering Baxter State Park.

The next two days will be the end of the trail for Tengo and Stick, but not for my hike. Nevertheless, I can see the end coming and it’s exciting.

Trouble with you is the trouble with me
Got two good eyes but we still don't see
Come round the bend, you know it's the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine." ref.