3 July 2014 (Day 121) – The Appalachian Trail in Maine has many, many river crossings. Most hikers ford them by simply walking through the water in their hiking shoes. The shoes are probably already wet, so they cannot get any wetter. If the shoes are dry, I might switch to my camp shoes (Crocs) and ford in those to keep my hiking shoes dry.
The Kennebec River is a different animal. It’s wider than most and the river’s flow is controlled by upriver dams with unscheduled water releases. In the past, hikers have been caught fording midstream when the dam releases and the water rises 4 feet. Not preferred. Also, the dams are bottom release so the water is cold enough to cause cramps. We’ve lost a few hikers that way. Therefore, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club (MATC) hires “Hillbilly Dave” to ferry hikers across the river in his canoe. He’s a quintessential Mainer and yet another character on the Trail.