July 6, 2010 2:45 am
Location: Saddleback Mountains, Maine
The heat and humidity has really kicked in this week. It has been brutal. It has slowed me to a mere crawl at times. The first accent you make before Saddleback Jr. Mountain is the Poplar Ridge. It’s a very steep rocky climb with some fair bouldering but nothing to technical. It has a decent amount of sun exposure and it cooked me!!!
I finally caught up with Brookie and he said Flora and Fauna were just ahead. They were all going to try and push over the whole range, Saddleback Jr., the Horn and Saddleback Mountain. It was 9 more miles, there were some pretty steep ups and downs, it was already 3 and the heat coming up Poplar Ridge was too much for me.
I have been a bit lonely at times lately and would have liked the company but I had started from even further back than them, done Sugar Loaf in the morning and there was no way I could make that whole push.
I said my goodbyes to Brookie and had planned to hammock about halfway through the whole range and get up early to finish and hopefully catch up with them.
I camped as planned just over Saddleback Jr. and near the Horn Peak and rose early to finish the range. Saddleback has a lot of “above tree line” or exposed terrain. The last thing you want to happen is to get caught out in lightening above tree line and when I did Saddleback there were clouds rolling over, a thick mist and thunder storms in the forecast.
I rushed across it and think I lost out on some great views because of the weather. Fortunately there was no lightening and of course it cleared just as I headed down the other side. At least it was a little cool up there.
July 5, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Sugar Loaf Mountain, Maine
Ok so the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain, a well known ski mountain isn’t exactly on the Appalachian Trail. You do pass a blue blaze or side trail leading to the summit.
I reached this point around 6:30pm last night and contemplated the hike up. It was only .5 miles each way but there wasn’t a lot of daylight left and I was still 3 miles from the next shelter where I had hoped to catch up with Brookie, Flora, and Fauna. I saw a perfect hammock spot right near the trail split and thought about camping there and heading up in the morning. I hadn’t seen anyone from our original gang for a few days and really wanted some social interaction so I pressed on. I walked about 5 minutes and thought how I would be kicking myself if I blew a chance to see Maine’s second highest peak and all I had to do was climb a half mile to do it. I turned around and camped out.
I Got up at 5 and began my assent. It was relatively easy and the views spectacular!!! Definitely glad I did it.
July 4, 2010 10:54 pm
Location: Stratton, Maine
My stay in Stratton was relatively uneventful. I was locked up in my hotel room watching World Cup for most of it. I did go out to dinner and tried both of the 2 local restaurants. I did laundry and picked up some supplies and food.
These small towns haven’t seemed to hear of Dr. Bonners soap yet. I’ll give it 1 or 2 more towns before having some mailed to me. All natural soap is essential in the woods, not just for cleaning myself but dishes, water bottles, everything.
I ran into Mother Goose on my way out of town and she said her knees were bothering her so she was going to skip ahead to Rangely. I hope her knees feel better. She also said Brooky, Flora and Fauna were just a few hours ahead back on the trail after a night off. Would be great to catch up with them!
Back to the trail!
July 3, 2010 1:40 pm
13 hours of hiking. 4 peaks, 2 @ 4000’+
1 Really big beer!!!:) (ok its not a Guiness, I didn’t say it was a wet dream;))
July 2, 2010 11:44 pm
Hard to believe its been only 2 weeks to the day since I left Baxter State Park and officially began my hike. Seems like so much has happened. Just the begging of a 6 month journey.
Almost 200 miles! Once World Cup ends and I stop taking these long weekends off I should make some real miles lol. Can’t complain about 18 mile days in this terrain. It’s very tough and at times downright unpleasant but overall I am enjoying it. Prob 1 week of Maine left then the infamous Whites of New Hampshire.
With a bunch of 4000′ + mountains left ahead in Maine this week I’m sure I’ll be in peak shape.
All in all a good 2 weeks.
July 1, 2010 9:16 pm
Location: Bigelow Mountain Range, Maine
I was stopped for lunch and caught up with Mother Goose and Conner and Clara yesterday when the subject of the upcoming Bigelow Mountain Range came up. I hadn’t read to far ahead in the data book and have just been rolling with whatever comes so I dind’t know what was ahead.
Mother Goose said “She misses the Bigelows like a bad hernia operation” That was my first clue something significant lay ahead:) She talked about the ups and downs, false summits and the “bouldering”
After hearing the word “bouldering” I had flashbacks of Katadihn and the difficulties I had with bouldering there. I immediately jumped up from lunch, said goodbye and headed back on the trail anxious to get as much done before the Bigelows as possible.
I managed to get within 4 miles of the first of the mountains Little Bigelow and camped for the night.
I looked at the data book to see what lay ahead. The Bigelows were a series of peaks with 2 rising over 4000′. There are campsites between Little Bigelow and Bigelow Mountain as well as the 2 main peaks of Bigelow Mountain. Most people would split the range up into 2 days and camp somewhere in the peaks.
It’s been cold here in Maine at night, dipping to the low 40’s and I have had some trouble staying warm as I was not expecting it. Having a hammock doesn’t help either as your back is exposed to the cold air. Needless to say I wasn’t excited at the idea of camping at altitude. Not to mention the crowds at these campgrounds.
I contemplated the possibility of covering the entire range in one day. It would mean over 18 miles total, 4 peaks total, lots of bouldering, topped by a 5 mile run into town. It seemed nearly impossible but I woke up at 6 to hit the trail and give it a shot.
I started out heading up Little Bigelow early. I reached the summit by 10:30 with little trouble and had some new found confidence in my improving physical condition. I looked across at Bigelow Mountain. It was certainly the highest mountain I had seen since Katadihn and the bouldering looked formidable.
I tried to estimate if I could cover it all in one day and thought I probably could. All I could do was try and if I couldn’t finish I could suck it up and camp at altitude. As I headed through the pass between the 2 peaks and came closer to Bigelow Mountain I saw the enormity of it and my new found confidence was wavering.
I pressed on just focusing on the task ahead. It was a physically difficult climb to the first peak of Bigelow. There was plenty of bouldering but it was not what I would call technical. I handled it well and summitted around 2.
It was amazing up there!!! The views were stunning. It was freezing cold and the winds were very high. I looked across to Bigelows second peak and realized there was another peak past it I would also have to summit to get out to town.
I headed out to the west peak. It was a long greulling up and down but I managed to summit the West Peak and the South Horn peak and headed down and the 5 miles to highway 27.
Once at the highway I called a number of a hotel I had been given and got a ride in and a room. I am in Stratton, Maine and in time for Saturday’s Germany vs Argentina World Cup game!!!:) I think this could be the best game of the event so I am very excited.
I am sore all over but after doing the Bigelow range on one day I’d say I might be getting in decent shape! Now if I could stop falling on my but in the rain.
June 30, 2010 12:11 am
Location: Kenebec River Caratunk, Maine
The Kenebec River is the only water crossing the trail makes in Maine that they don’t let you ford.
There are hydro powered plants upstream that release large amounts of water and the river levels rise quite rapidly.
I have been told that prior to 1985 they did let people cross on their own but that year a woman drowned crossing it. So now they have a “ferry” service (guy with a canoe). It’s tricky though cause it only runs from 9-11am except from July 15th-Sept. When they add 2 more hours to accomodate for increased hiker traffic. If you miss it your stuck that side of the river till next day.
I hiked my longest day last night (19 miles & 2 mountains) so I could camp close to the river to be sure and not miss the ferry. Beautiful river.
June 29, 2010 12:52 am
June 28, 2010 10:00 am
Location: Moxie Bald Mountain, Maine
Location: Monson, ME
My stay in Monson was great. I stayed at Shaws hostel. Dick, Dawn and Dana were the staff and they were great!
I was able to rest, watch World Cup. A few of us chipped in and had Dick drive us to Greenville, Maine near Moosehead Lake to go to a decent grocery store and a Northern Outfiters gear shop. I had to buy a new water pump. A little upset mine broke after only 1 weeks use but happy I for something much lighter.
Headed back to a sopping wet trail. A few I’d us left Shaws together and all thought despite the rain we could easily make 15 miles. The maps some had showed the terrain as flat so it seemed like an easy day despite the rain.
There is nothing like hiking in the pouring rain to drag down your spirits. At first you try to keep your feet dry, hopping on rocks, stepping on the sides etc. After you slip a few times and your feet are drenched you kinda give up and just slop right along.
I crossed 4 or 5 streams and small rivers. Again at first you take off your socks and boots and put on your river shoes, but after a while I didn’t even bother. One stream (photo above) was waist deep with some very strong currents. It was tough not to get swept down stream. My Treking poles were a great help.
I have at least learned to keep a dry set of clothes in a zip lock bag so I always have something clean and dry to sleep in even if it means putting wet clothes back on the next morning (yuk!!!)
On a brighter note Mother Goose says there are no water crossings on the trail after Maine:)
June 25, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Monson, Maine
I woke up early this morning filled with the anticipation of completing the 100 miles of wilderness and getting to my first trail town. I said my goodbyes to Dan and Mother Goose who had camped nearby and hit the trail.
I think in my excitement about getting to town, a hot shower and a cold beer I underestimated the hike I had left. I did 11 miles over some fair terrain and reached the road leading into Monson, Maine. The town was still about 4 miles away. This was to be my first hitch hiking experience!:)
It was pretty easy to get a hitch and only took about 3 cars. A middle aged woman named Linda stopped and picked me up. She told me bear hunting stories as we made the short ride in.
A place called Shaws was a hostel suggested by a hikers I saw, so Linda dropped me off right there. I got a room for a few days and headed straight for the shower.
I grabbed lunch and a beer at the only other hostel in town which also had a pub and restaurant.
A little later Dan and Mother Goose made it into town. It turned out Thrill Billy, Tooth Pick, CC Rider and Lisa were all already in town. We had a really great group of people.
Monson is a very small town. Everyone is very friendly towards hikers. Dan and I Hung out in the general store and they had a Friday night jam session with local musicians all showing up with their fiddles, flutes, banjos etc and played. It was great small town down home fun!!!
Looking forward to some rest and relaxation here. The 100 was a rough stretch and I sure could use it!