A Jungle Gym Called Maine
Day 146: US Rt. 2 / Gorham to Carlo Col Shelter (17 miles, marker 1,916.9)
Today was a long, somewhat hard day. HolyShit decided he needed a zero, so JustCuz, Pigpen, Ronin, and I all headed out with Maine in mind. As soon as we crossed the road from where we were dropped off, we passed a market for 1,900 miles.
We walked along the road for a bit before heading into the woods. The trail at the beginning of the hike was very nice, with pleasant walking I haven’t had for a while.
But as the day progressed, the terrain got harder and harder. We finally reached Maine, had a celebration of entry into our last state, and then continued to the shelter a half mile up.
This half mile involved climbing squeezing through rock formations that were just a little hint at what tomorrow would have in store.
Day 147: Carlo Col Shelter to Speck Pond Shelter (9.5 miles, marker 1,926.4)
Pigpen and Ronin stealth camped at the Maine border to avoid the walk off trail to the shelter. JustCuz and I broke camp around 8:00 a.m. and headed out. We went over the west, east, and north peaks of Goose Eye Mountain before descending to the Mahoosuc Notch.
This is a famous mile of the Appalachian Trail, which is essentially a technical rock scramble through a boulder field which is known for taking 90-120 minutes to complete. It was lots of fun going through and took us about 90 minutes. We then stopped for a snack before tackling the Mahoosuc Arm, essentially a repeat of the north but at a 60° angle up. This was a bit less fun. We finally got to the shelter, and I was overjoyed to be greeted by Prancer, whom I had not seen since before Damascus, VA. She was moving slow so had hoped up to Katahdin and was now hiking south. We spent much of the evening catching up, before I went up to my head site for the night.
Day 148: Speck Pond Shelter to ME 26 / Grafton Notch (4.6 miles, marker 1,931)
Today started off rainy. I awoke to the sound of rain on my tent, which stripped away almost all motivation to begin hiking. Giving myself extra time to get ready while hoping the rain would let up, I finally headed out of camp around 8:15 a.m. with JustCuz. We hiked pretty quickly to the top of Old Speck Mountain, and then descended to Grafton Notch. Pine Ellis hostel pick me up, and I went over to Mills market for lunch, where I met Ronin and Pigpen. Had a nice lunch and then returned to the hostel and greeted Kanuck, who was finishing a slackpack for the day.
Day 149: ME 26 / Grafton Notch to South Arm Road / Andover (20.4 miles, marker 1,951.4)
This was a big day taking on by both myself and JustCuz. It started by going over BaldPate Mountain in the rain, but then we descended to a very pleasant ten mile walk in the woods with very few big climbs. It then ended with another big climb over Wyman and Moody Mountains. By the end of the hike, we were both exhausted. Unfortunately, this is the last time I would see JustCuz this trip, as she has decided to go to the shore for a couple days with some friends. She may hike south from Katahdin after this, which should give me the opportunity to see her one more time.
Day 150: South Arm Road / Andover to ME Rt. 17 (13.3 miles, marker 1,964.7)
For a 13-mile slack pack, this hike kicked my ass. It was exacerbated by the fact that it was raining all day. The hike was a constant up and down over rocks and roots, and while none of the climbs were particularly difficult, the overall effect of the terrain was exhausting. I finally got finished a lot later than originally anticipated, around 4:00 p.m. instead of 2:00 p.m.
I went back to the hostel, relaxed for a few minutes, and then went out to dinner with HolyShit, who had arrived earlier that day.
Day 151: ME Rt. 17 to ME Rt 4 / Rangeley (13.1 miles, marker 1,977.8)
Really nice and easy hike today. My shuttle to the trailhead was at 5:30 a.m., so I was at the hostel by 1:00 p.m. While the Hiker’s Hut hostel is off grid with no electricity, WiFi, or any of the usual comforts, the space was absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful flowers growing everywhere, a lovely stream passing by the hot shower, and some very nice bunk houses. I got a ride into town for dinner and then spent the rest of the evening enjoying the fire with the owner, Steve. Steve runs the hostel six months of the year and spends the other six months in India. Very interesting guy, with a true eye for natural beauty. I’m glad I chose to zero here.
Day 152: Zero at The Hiker Hut, Rangeley, ME
Started my day at this beautiful hostel with yoga and meditation out on the lawn amongst the flower bushes. I then spent the rest of the day in town, enjoying the local shops and restaurants, partaking in many local beers while trying out food in the area. I picked the right place to take a zero, and at the end of the day was picked up and brought back to the hostel for a great rest before continuing my hike.
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