Sterling Inn, Caratunk, ME, AT NOBO mile 2013.1, Friday July 25, 2014 — The sun-splashed Kennebec River sparkled as its icy water spilled along an ancient path to the sea. On the far bank ferryman “Hillbilly Dave” Corrigan’s paddle thrust a fire engine red canoe forward as he charted its path to where I stood.
What appears to be a lazy river belies the danger within. The icy water can cramp a swimmer in seconds. A dam upstream releases water that rises up to two feet in no time. The river also is wide. Wide enough to be called a real river anywhere.
After a hiker drowned several years ago, the Appalachian Trail Conference established a free canoe ferry service in the interest of safety. It’s a welcome ride, not to mention that the white blaze painted on the canoe’s deck marks it as part of the official pathway.
The 3.4 mile jaunt from Harrison’s camp passed in a blink. My package was at the friendly post office here in Caratunk. I forwarded most of the food ahead to Monson where I’ll be by Monday; from there to plan my march through the hundred-mile wilderness.