We took our time leaving camp. Sunlight hit the wall of our tent and the whole inside heated up immediately. We rushed to get out but sat on the ground to finish packing up. A red squirrel hopped down to where it was just feet away from Milo. They stared at each other before the squirrel hopped up into a tree. When we took a lunch break later in the day, the same thing would happen. Did the squirrels know something? Were they informing each other of Milo? Had it been because he pissed the one squirrel off yesterday before camp? When we hiked away from the road where we took lunch, the whole forest seemed to be a symphony of squirrel chirps and barks. Milo was ecstatic. We couldn’t help but wonder if it was something a bit more than just coincidence.
Much of the day consisted of bog bridges and hopping from rock to rock as to avoid getting our shoes wet. The forest in which we walked let little light through to the forest floor.
Trail had leveled off quite a bit. So we both just zoned out and hiked. Just before we got to West Carry Pond, we came up on a giant moose laying down in trail. He was reluctant to move, and not in a territorial way but more so curious. Milo was making noise and the moose stood there and looked at him. Black flies swarmed on the moose’s back. And his winter fur had fallen off in patches. His tall ears twitched, rotating back and forth on his dark brown head. Much like Milo’s domesticated floppy ears now sitting high on his head, alert to the next sound made by the mysterious new creature standing down trail.
Finally the moose wandered off trail after Garbelly gave him a yip or two. Milo was so good about not even trying to chase the moose. Sure, he made a bunch of noise, talking to him, but he stayed with us while he did it.
As we passed West Carry Pond, we saw a marker noting the Great Carrying Place, a 13 mile portage by the Arnold Expedition of 1775 when Benedict Arnold and crew were heading north to try to seize Quebec.
We wandered down a side trail that lead to a small rocky beach on West Carry Pond. We could have walked out further to what was noted in our maps as Arnold’s Point Beach, but the small entrance into the water was enough. Critter took off her shoes and waxed out into the water. After a couple failed attempts to call Milo out into the water, she walked back to shore and put her shoes back on. The sun was starting to cast a golden light on the surrounding mountains. The air both quiet and still.
We hiked a few more miles to East Carry Pond, where we decided to stop for the day. We found a stealth site and set up camp. We had ten miles in the morning to the Kennebec River. A canoe ferry would be available for our crossing but we had to be there between 9am and 11am. With an early start we planned to get there by 9am.
That night as we sat around eating dinner. Another red squirrel wondered up but disappeared down a den hole in a tree.