In May of 2019, I lead a group of backpackers from Hudson Valley Hikers on a trip in Southern Maine. Our plan was to hike from Rangeley to Grafton Notch, some 34 miles over rough mountains. Southern Maine has a reputation for being one of the most rugged sections of the Appalachian Trail. My biggest concern in the weeks leading up to this trip were late season snow conditions. The northeast had seen an unusual amount of snowfall in April and May. Many locals I spoke with warned me that snow in their yards had just recently melted. No one had any information on the trail at high elevations. There are no 4000 footers in this section, so no one had made any trip reports. We were going in blind.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Rangeley to Grafton Notch – ABORTED!
In September of 2019, I went on a solo hike of the Appalachian Trail from Rangely Flagstaff Lake. You can read about my the trip in detail in my multi-part trip report. This post serves as a summary for those who may want to hike this section themselves.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Rangeley to Flagstaff Lake
I woke up a little sad on the last day of my trip. From my camp at Bigelow Col, there was just an 8 mile hike down to Maine Rt 27 and then I would be done. I spent a lot of this day hiking with The Mayor. The Mayor finished the AT a month or so ago, but he missed a good 50 mile section. He sat at home for a month feeling guilty and then decided to come back out and finish it. He just wasn’t feeling it though, and needed a lot of encouragement. I talked with him most of the day, then dropped him off in town.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Bigelow Col to Stratton
Today I was dropped off at Flaggstaff Lake and began my hike south again. Now hiking in the opposite direction as I had all week, I began to run into hikers I had met earlier: Promethius, March 4th, Go Forth, The Germans…. It was a fun recap. I had already completed the AT from here North all the way to Katahdin, except a few miles in the HMW I missed due to an injury.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Flagstaff Lake to Bigelow Col Campsite
I would like to dedicate this post to FDNY Chaplain, Fr Mychal Judge, who died praying over rescuers, injured, and the dead in the North Tower on September 11th, 2001. May we all take a lesson from his act of selfless sacrifice in service to his fellow man and to our almighty God.
Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Crocker Cirque to Carabasset Valley
Take me where you want me to go,
Let me meet who you want me to meet,
Tell me what you want me to say,
And Keep me out of your way.Father Mychal Judge, FDNY
The fourth day of my journey started off chilly at the Spaulding Mountain Lean-to. Like most mornings, I had coffee in bed, read for a while, and then went and got my food bag so I could have breakfast. I didn’t have far at all to go this day, so I wanted to kill a lot of time with long breaks. I took these at the summit of Spaulding Mtn, somewhere on the path to Sugarloaf, again at Sugarloaf, along the ridge descending Sugarloaf, and at the Carabasset River. Long breaks. Like 30-45 minutes each. I think this is the first day I got comfortable not really going anywhere. I even took a nap!Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Spaulding Lean-To to Crocker Cirque
My third day of hiking started with a steep climb out of Obereton Valley up toward Lone Mountain on the Spaulding Ridge. It was another short day of less than 10 miles and just a few thousand feet of gain. I first summited Mt Abraham on a side trail, and then came back to camp for a long afternoon of reading. If you don’t count my side-trip to Abraham, my total progress this day was only 5.2 miles. My next day would only cover 6.3 miles, not counting a side trip to Sugarloaf Mountain. The day after that would be only 7.4 miles not counting a side trip to Reddington. This entire section could be done in far less time if you were really committed. There is some serious elevation gain along here, but the trail is in such good shape that it isn’t that hard.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Sluice Logging Road to Spaulding Ridge Lean-to
On my second full day of hiking, I climbed up and over the Saddleback Range with its three peaks: Saddleback, The Horn, and Saddleback Junior. All three peaks extended above treeline (about 3600 ft) and into the Alpine Zone. There, specialized plants and mosses made for a dazzling display of color. The day started off socked in, but opened up to the beginning of fall foliage down in the valley.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Piazza Rock to Sluice Brook Logging Road
On “Day 1” of my week in Maine, I hiked from Sabbath Day Lean-To to Piazza Rock Lean-to. I’m calling this “Day 1: because it was the first day of hiking and full immersion. On “Day 0” I drove most of the day and hiked for 1.5 hours. I hiked about 11 miles on “Day 1”, and climbed about 1700 feet. That’s a pretty easy day, but I was carrying much more weight than usual with 5 days worth of food on my back. I developed a small pain in my shoulder because my shoulder straps aren’t long enough. It was a crisp, clear day with signs of fall everywhere.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Sabbath day to Piazza Rock
In September of 2019, I spent a week alone hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine. There’s no bragging about the mileage on this trip. I very intentionally set my daily mileage below 10 each day. While my goal was to complete a 64 mile section of the Appalachian Trail and grab 10 of Maine’s 4000 Footers, my deeper goal was to spend time enjoying the woods. On so many of my trips, each moment is polluted by the feeling of needing to get to the next place. This keeps me from fully enjoying the time and place that I am in. This time I wanted plenty of time to relax, read, journal, reflect, and pray.Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: ME 17 to Sabbath Day Pond Lean-To