9/14, Day 138, Rainbow Springs Campground to Katahdin Stream Campsite, 21.1 miles
Our hiking goal today was the General Store by lunch so we could have a Coke and continue on .7 mi to register or a campsite for tonight. The Birches has 12 spots for NoBo thru hikers and was filled by the time we got there. We got spillover camping on the trail by the Ranger Station where we have to register in the morning to hike Katahdin. But when we got to the campsites everything changed because the Birches is being stained and 18 thru hikers, the largest AT crowd of the summer, has to be accommodated somehow. The ranger assigned us to 4 shelters and a large tentsite. Everyone seems happy with the arrangements. Maybe we are just happy to be this close to the finish.
Wow, this is a beautiful hiking day. The weather feels like summer with sun and blue sky. Then a breeze blows leaves down, covering the trail and fall seems to be in the air. We are seeing more red and gold in the forest as we pass ponds, streams and falls.
We had a great wildlife sighting of two small, rich brown weasel-like animals called tree martens. They zipped quickly across the trail and up trees near us. As I snapped pictures one ferociously hissed and growled at us, an we could see sharp teeth in his small triangular face.