Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Southern Maine

So when we flip-flopped we jumped from Virginia up to Katahdin, ME and began hiking south.  We made it as far south as Carratunk, ME when we decided we needed to jump down and complete the Whites before the weather got bad and we we risked getting closed out of the Whites.  So down to the Whites we headed and knocked them out.  So once we finished the Whites we still have the section of trail from Carratunk, ME to Gorham, NH to finish.

So on Saturday 8 November, our Trail Angel Lois drove us back up to Gorham, ME so we could head north and finish southern Maine.

Sunday 9 November - We have been warned that southern Maine is just as rough is not more frustrating than the Whites, but we on a "just finished the Whites" high and are trudging onward.  Today's hiking was pretty straight forward, or I should say up.  We got a later start than we expected, so only got in 4miles going up and over Mt. Hayes.  We found a nice spot near a stream and set up camp for the night.

Monday 10 November - Today was another straight forward day of hiking.  We trudged up and over Cascade Mountain and Wocket Ledge and set up camp at the Gentian Pond Shelter.

 Cute little paw prints we saw along the way.

A beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker stopped by to say hi.

Tuesday 11 November - Today we were greeted by rugged southern Maine.  The climb up Mt Success and down to Carlo Col Shelter was quite the trek.  In fact, it was the last straw for Mom.
 Hendo trudging up Mt. Success.

 Hendo trudging up Mt Success, Are we there yet??

The trail suddenly came to a halt at the base of this wall of granite.  There was no way around, we had to go up.  The fact that it was covered in ice was not an issue, even without the ice there was no real steps or foot holds to get yourself up.  I took off my pack and was able to shimmy/wedge myself up ontop and then pulled up my pack and Mom's pack using our bear line and carribeener.  I was not happy with the AMC or ATC.  Situations like this are just ridiculous to me, there was no hiking, this was mountain climbing and I do not see how it adds to the experience of hiking the AT.

Hendo pulling up the backpacks.

 Hendo pulling up packs

 Hendo's Mom begins the shimmy/wedging up to the top.

 We think this is a Woodcock or Spruce Grouse.  It hopped across the trail and stopped for a while to say hi.

Hendo's Mom and Hendo at the ME/NH state line

Carlo Col Shelter, in the cold weather we set up our tent inside.

Wed 12 November - The weather was crappy so we zeroed at the shelter.

Thursday 13 November -  Mom's shoulder was hurting her from the rugged hiking on Tuesday, so we made it to the Mahoosuc Notch trail and headed down to Success Pond Rd to get a ride into Bethel, ME.  Mom is done hiking and we are going to go get her car in Virginia and she is going to slack-pack me through the rest of the trail.

Friday 14 November - Saturday 22 November - We traveled to Virginia to get mom's car and returned to ME.  We also spent a day and a half visiting my former Sergeant Major, Sam, in Portland, ME to borrow some equipment and get advice on winter hiking in Maine, as he quite experienced.  We then rested up at Lois's house and then headed to Maine.

Sunday 23 November - Tuesday 25 November - Mom is slackpacking me in the car now.  What that means is that we have mapped out where the AT crosses roads and she drops me off in the morning with just a light daypack and I hike to the end-point where she is waiting for me in the car.  She will often park at the endpoint and walk in and meet me as I am finishing up the days hike.

Sunday 23 November - Mom joined me on Sunday as I hiked from a road crossing to the Kennebec River and back.  A ferry normally carries hikers across the river during the thru-hike season, but that ended 31 Oct, so we got on trail 3 miles from the river and hiked there and back.  It was a moderate flat hike to get me back in the groove after such a long break.
 Back on trail, some snow on the ground, sporting our blaze orange as it is hunting season up here.

If you look closely you will see that the edges are frozen ice and the water is flowing under.

We are very appreciative of the Maine AT Club, such a simple but much appreciated bridge.

 Ice skirts around the rocks.

We made it to the Kennebec River, now back to the car.

Monday 24 November - Just a good day of hiking.  It rained all day, but my new used rain pants and Sam's Gortex coat kept me warm and dry.

An unusually high AT trail sign along one of the logging roads south of Carratunk, I guess so the logging trucks can see it, haha

Tuesday 25 November - A sunny day of hiking.  Mom hung out our gear to dry and air out while I hiked

Wednesday 26 November - We heard on the radio that a snow storm was headed in on Wednesday night, so Tuesday we headed from E Flaggstaff lake where I had finished down to Mahoosuc Notch.  We got up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and hiked in the Notch trail and hiked into and through and back out of Mahoosuc Notch.  One more box checked.  Wednesday afternoon we headed 70 miles back down to Lois's house in North Woodstock, NH to wait out the storm and celebrate Thanksgiving.

Hendo hiking through Mahoosuc Notch

Hendo's Mom entering Mahoosuc Notch

Thanksgiving dinner hiker style.

Tuesday December 2 - So we held up in North Woodstock for 5 days and got studded winter tires put on the car so we can traverse the winter roads up here.  I knocked out Little Bigelow today and another snow storm is headed in so we headed down to knock out a section near Rangley and will come back and do Mt Avery after the storm.

Wednesday December 3 - This was what we woke up to this morning.  Snow tires worked great to get us out.

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