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LIhikers 2017 Maine hike

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    • LIhikers 2017 Maine hike

      We got home a bit earlier tonight.
      Once everything is done, cleaned, and put away I'll get to a full trip report.
      We got the 32 mile section from route 4 to route 27 done but didn't get the 17 miles of the Bigelow mountains, I'll tell you why in the full report.
      Don't expect many photos as my camera spent most of the time in my pack.
    • On Friday, July 7th, my wife Kathy, our dog Tora, and I climbed into our car at 4:30AM to drive north to Maine. About 10 hours later we were checking into The Stratton Motel, where we had a room reserved for the night and a shuttle for the next morning. While I took a nap that afternoon Kathy met our shuttle driver and they exchanged phone numbers.

      Saturday we woke up at a more normal time and I switched on the TV to get a weather forecast. Things didn’t look good, the forecast called for extreme thunder storms all day. We checked out and headed for the Looney Moose Café for breakfast. As we left the café Kathy called Ben, the driver, to let him know we were headed to the route 27 trail head parking lot. He arrived shortly after us and drove us to the route 4 trail head where we were to start our hike. Almost as soon as we started walking the sky clouded up and turned dark and ominous looking. It started to rain lightly as we got to the blue blaze to the Piazza Rock Lean-To so we ducked in to get out of the coming storm. Not long after us some SOBO thrus showed up and we started to chat. I was concerned about the days weather because the planned hike would have us above tree line for over 3 miles and the forecast was for extreme thunder storms. We decided to call it a day at only 1.8 miles to avoid the storms, but it never rained after the first one.

      Sunday we woke to clear skies and headed up and over Saddleback Mtn. and The Horn to Reddington Stream Campsite. We had good views from the top but I’m going to estimate the wind at 20 MPH gusting to 30. As a flatlander going over these 2 mountains was very difficult for me, but you know what they say about slow and steady. The camp site didn’t seem like it’s used much and we were able to find only 1 place that would fit our 3 person tent.

      Monday the first order of business was to hike over Saddleback Junior, another day another mountain to hike over. We were on our own for a destination today as the first shelter, Poplar Ridge was too close and the one after that Spoulding Mtn. Lean-to was too far for me. But, my map showed an old railroad bed not far past Orbeton Stream. I figured the railroad bed must be pretty flat and since it was near water that there must be places to stealth camp. I was right about that and we found a lovely place that was well used for camping. Before we found the site we really enjoyed the stream. We took off our shoes, put on our crocks and waded across. After putting our packs down on the north bank we used the stream to rinse off our heads and legs. Then we had a lunch break and enjoyed conversation with 2 young men who also took a break there. In our camp we set up our tent and when we fell asleep it was to the white noise of running water.

      Tuesday dawned early, as did all the days at the northern latitude. Walking up hill to the Spaulding Mountain we arrived early afternoon. There we met a couple of young men who were working for ATC doing boundary monitoring. They were reclaiming the boundary lines of the AT corridor in that area from being over grown. They figured that no-one had walked that section of boundary in 5 to 7 years. Then a little later a group of about 12 – 15 teenage girls arrived. They were from some camp in Quebec and spoke French to each other. Actually they were very well behaved and observed a reasonable quiet time. Then a couple of thrus arrived and 1 other section hiker. He was excited as he’s be completing his section hike of the AT the following day. As it got dark we all lay down and started falling asleep. Then, some time after dark, a couple of NOBO thrus showed up and asked everyone to please make room in the shelter. No one was happy about it but we all did.

      Wednesday started with a climb up and over Spaulding Mountain followed by some ups and downs taking us past the side trail up Sugarloaf Mnt. Then it was down hill to cross the South Branch of the Carrabasett River. Again we changed into our crocks and forded the river and cooling off as a result. Then it was uphill to Crocker Cirque Campsite, a nice place with plenty of water available. Come to think of it, water was never a problem in this section. Maybe that’s because it rained a little everyday or maybe it’s just the way it is. At this location we met a goup of boys from that Canadian camp the girls were from. The boys weren’t as well behaved, but I expected that, but not bad at all. Sometime during the nightit started raining and that continued into our hiking day the next day.

      Thursday would bring us back to route 27 and our car. During our hike we had decided to get another shuttle and hike the Bigelow mountains, which are just north of route 27. It would mean hiking only an extra 17 miles but we’d get all the mountains in this area behind us. Once we made it over the South Peak and North Peak of Croker Mountain our car at route 27 would be the next stop. Just as we started down hill toward the road, walking down a rock face, my feet slipped out from under me and I sat down on the rock very hard. I sat there a couple minutes and everything seemed just fine, so I got up. As I went to take my next step I lost my balance and tumbled down the rock, head first, landing at the bottom about 6 feet below. Kathy called a time out and we had a good long break while I rested, determined that I wasn’t seriously hurt, and we had lunch. I did pull something as I have pain that runs down the side of my neck and into my shoulder. After the break it didn’t take long and we were back at the car. Due to the pain I decided we shouldn’t extend our hike so we would have about a week to play tourist. First thing was to find a motel room and have a shower. WE were able to get a room for 1 night at The Spillover Motel.

      Friday morning, at the motels continental breakfast, I had an interesting conversation with a 72 year old woman doing a SOBO thru hike with some younger friend. Kathy and I decided to drive to the towns the trail would take us to in coming years and headed off for Carrabasset. WE were able to get a room for a night at the Sterling Inn, what a nice place. The building is from the 1800s but has had a recent renovation. Also, they have a store that has a good selection of items for a hiker’s resupply. We hung out on the big wraparound porch with other hikers and folks who were going to paddle the Kennebec River.

      Saturday found us in Monson at just the right day for their town festival. We walked through town stopping at all the vendors and artisans as well as the ATC visitor center. We tried to get a room but none were to be had so we headed up the road toward Greenville. Along the way we found the Kineo View Motor Lodge that could give us, and our dog, a room for 3 nights. On Sunday we went to church and then explored the town. Monday saw us hiking on Kineo Island, including the 900 foot ascent up Kineo Mountain. Then on Tuesday we rented a canoe and spent the better part of the day on the water of Prong Pond.
      Then it was time for the drive home on Wednesday. We took a different route home which was slower but included the New London (CT) to Orient Point (Long Island) ferry, a very nice ride of about 1.5 hours. Then we drove through the east end of Long Island where almost all of the farms are now vineyards and there is any number of Wineries.

      But eventually the vacation had to come to an end and we were back home. Since our dog Tora is 8.5 years old we don’t know if she’ll be going back to the AT next year, we’ll see. It was nice to get away from the everyday grind and to see some new places and meet new people. Now I’m back to my usual work routine and Kathy has 2, or maybe 3, more weeks of summer vacation.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by LIhikers ().

    • My wife informed me that I need to correct my trip report
      We didn't go to the town of Carrabasset but instead went to Caratunk
      Also, on the way home we spent a couple of days in New Hampshire.
      We had skipped a couple mile section of the AT because of not wanting to take our dog down the steep section from Wildcat Mnt. peak D to the AMC's visitor center below.
      So this trip we camped at the Dolly Coop campground and Kathy got this short missed section.
      I'll get it on another trip
      Then that night we went to a talk by a ranger about being prepared for a hike
    • LIhikers wrote:

      My wife informed me that I need to correct my trip report
      We didn't go to the town of Carrabasset but instead went to Caratunk
      Also, on the way home we spent a couple of days in New Hampshire.
      We had skipped a couple mile section of the AT because of not wanting to take our dog down the steep section from Wildcat Mnt. peak D to the AMC's visitor center below.
      So this trip we camped at the Dolly Coop campground and Kathy got this short missed section.
      I'll get it on another trip
      Then that night we went to a talk by a ranger about being prepared for a hike
      Good thing you have her to keep you straight :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General