Daily Archives: August 26, 2014

Day 133 – near Grafton Notch to East B Hill Road (mile 1928.4, Andover, ME)

We had a super clear night last night. The stars were in full effect with very little light pollution. Very cool to see so so many stars visible.

Today we hiked down to Grafton Notch and crossed Route 26 in Maine. Then we climbed up the first part of the climb towards the West Baldpate Peak. The first climb up to the lean-to (aka shelter in most other states) wasn’t bad, but the last 8/10ths of a mile from there to the summit was steep as usual. They built a ton of rock steps in the trail though, so it didn’t require any scrambling or boulder hopping. We took a break on the breezy summit and chatted with some “adventurers” (what they called themselves) named Pyro and Na-Uh who have hiked a bit over a thousand miles and then “yellow-blazed” (aka hitch hiked) the rest of the trail. They were interesting folks and had some good stories. Anyway, the view was cool from West Baldpate and we could see the upcoming East Baldpate climb.


East Baldpate as seen from West Baldpate

We climbed down between the peaks and then went up that exposed granite rock area visible in the picture above.


Climb up East Baldpate

This climb was seriously awesome. It was way steep on that rock, but the views were superb and it was amazingly cool to be out on that open rock the whole time. It would have been miserable and slow if it had rained or been wet, but thankfully it was sunny and dry all day.


Views off East Baldpate

The descent down was another crazy steep and slick rock slab climb. It wasn’t too long though and shortly after it graded out pretty nicely. We ran into a crew doing some heavy duty trail maintenance and they told us they are trying to reduce some of the insanely dangerous slick rock slabs that this section of Maine is notorious for with rock steps.

The rest of the 4 miles or so of hiking were actually the easiest consecutive miles we’ve had since probably somewhere in Vermont. We got to East B Hill Road and waited with Pyro and Na-uh for the shuttle from the Pine Ellis Lodge in Andover.

Andover is a tiny little town with a general store with an attached diner, a microscopic grocery store (also with diner) that looks just like the general store, and one restaurant that closes at 2pm most days. We did our resupply, ate a lot of food at the attached diners, and relaxed for a chunk of the afternoon and evening. Tomorrow morning we head back to the trail for a few more fun climbs. We’ve read online that the section we just finished from Gorham, NH to Andover, ME is generally considered the toughest on the entire AT and we are hoping that’s true, but you never know out here.

Vital stats for Tuesday, August 26th :
Miles hiked today – 11.1
Mood – good, can’t take these days for granite
Physical state – tired
Smell – as good as it gets
Song stuck in my head – Stubborn Love by The Lumineers

Day 132 – Carlo Col Shelter to near Grafton Notch (mile 1917.3)

Belated thanks to Adam/Sabrina and Aunt Linda for the goodies in Gorham!

After a good night of sleep, we hit the trail knowing it was going to be a tough day. It was tough indeed. We had some choppy up and down climbs with occasional scrambles getting over Mount Carlo and the Goose Eye west, east, and north peaks. We popped up above the tree line numerous times.


After a morning snack at Full Goose Shelter, we made our way over Fulling Mill Mountain and then descended down to the pit of boulders known as the Mahoosuc Notch. We entered the Notch at 12:05pm and exited it at 1:25pm, so we moved at only 1 mph through it. It was cool at first, but got tiring as we went along. We had to jump between huge boulders, shimmy between them, go under some, go through some small cracks that required taking our packs off, climb up the sides of some, etc.


Pile of boulders in the Notch


One of numerous boulders to climb under

Once we completed that, the trail immediately starts climbing up the Mahoosuc Arm. This is notorious for being one of the most wicked climbs on the AT and it did not disappoint. It was 1.5 miles of insanely gnarly and difficult terrain and it did not relent for any period of time. We again moved at almost no faster than 1 mph. We originally planned to stop and stay at the shelter less than a mile beyond the summit of the Arm, but it was a bit early, so we pushed on. The next climb up over Old Speck (so many cool mountain names here in Maine) was a shorter one, but also crazy steep and precariously rocky. It was vertigo inducing, but the views were amazing.


Old Speck North side


Old Speck South side

We continued hiking down towards Grafton Notch. We found a decent spot slightly off the trail a couple tenths of a mile past a stream and called it a day since it was getting late. Maine gave us a nice, wicked, super hard welcome today. Tomorrow we are stopping in our first town in Maine, Andover, for a brief resupply.

Vital stats for Monday, August 25th :
Miles hiked today – 13.3
Mood – good, excited to be hiking in Maine
Physical state – wiped out. These 13 miles feel like 30 miles anywhere else (excluding the Whites)
Smell – getting Mainelier
Song stuck in my head – Mahoosuc (Manic) Monday by The Bangles