Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bigelows

The trail out of Monson had a relatively flat profile, and in a few miles it actually turned into a pleasant foot path, relatively devoid of rocks and roots! I made good time, passed over Moxie Bald, and then into Caratunk for a meal, shower and laundry at Northern Outdoors.

The next morning I made it to the northern bank of the Kennebec River just as the ferry was returning from the other shore. The ferry is a canoe  piloted by Hillbilly Dave. The ATC contracts for this service every year because hydro-electric plants upstream release water without notice, causing the river to rise as much as four feet in a matter of minutes.

Two days later I was climbing Little Bigelow Mountain, the first of three peaks in the Bigelow range.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Walks With Deer

Got up before dawn and was on the trail at 4:45.  Summited Barren Mountain and was treated to a view of distant mountains with a layer of clouds below.  The sun peaked out of the clouds and sent a ray of light across the valley.


Thirteen days after I summited Katahdin, I walked out of the wilderness to the road leading to Monson. A guide I had met with a couple on Barren Mountain pulled in to the parking lot and offered me a ride into Monson.

The trail provides!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hundred Mile Wilderness

I stayed an extra day at Baxter State Park to rest my legs after climbing Katahdin. I had been recovering from a tendonitis/bursitis in my knee, and didn't want to push it. This really informed my strategy for the next several days -Take it slow, and follow hard days with easy ones to toughen up my legs. Hopefully without injury.

The next day, I hefted my pack, heavy with food for ten days, and headed south.  Ten miles later, I crossed Abol Bridge, scarfed down a "loaded" burger at the camp store/gas station, and entered the Hundred Mile Wilderness.

This stretch is the most remote section of the AT. Until recently there were no provisions for resupply once one entered. Improved forest roads, enterprising hostel owners, and the occasional cell service on mountain peaks have made it possible to get bailed out. Still, I saw hikers banging up ther knees trying to get through as fast as possible due to poor food or water purification planning.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

It looked like rain when we got to Baxter State Park. The ranger station at Katahdin Springs Campground has a selection of old day packs one can use to climb Katahdin. We registered with the ranger, loaded day packs with rain gear, fleece, lunch, and a couple of liters of water, and headed for the trail head.

Getting to Baxter

In the end, a rental car was much too expensive, and I flew into Bangor. The next leg was a bus to Medway, and the bus station is just a short hike out the airport entry road to the main drag, and a couple of blocks to the right.

I bought my ticket and had a few hours to kill. There's a shopping center with a grocery store and a Staples back a few blocks. I boxed a carry-on bag and the duffle I had protected my pack with, and shipped them home from Staples. I saw a seafood place next door and had their "famous lobster roll," which was nicely loaded with lobster.

The bus ride to Medway was short. There were three other hikers onboard, including Jason and a woman my age with the trail name Mothra. Paul from the AT Lodge in Millinocket was waiting for us, and got us into town right at dusk.

Besides the Lodge, he and his wife own the Appalachian Trail cafe. We had dinner, got back to the Lodge, and prepped for the next day.

We all got up around five, showered and hit the cafe for the breakfast which was part of the deal, and more than I could eat.

Then Paul packed us back into the van, and drove us to Baxter State Park for our ascent of Katahdin and the start of out trek.