As I just mentioned, the southern part of Maine is known as the most rugged part of the A.T. From the day I left Gorham, it took me three days to do the first 26 miles in the Mahoosucs to Grafton Notch, where I arranged, while at the White Mountains Lodge, for my parents to pick me up. Since it was the beginning of October (this post begins with the 29th of September), I had no other chance to make the Kennebec River crossing or be guaranteed a chance to climb Katahdin if I didn’t skip ahead and do it before most of Maine. Also, I could do the rest of Maine a lot faster without a dog and a pack, and given that there was almost no one left on the trail this far back, I had no reason to draw out my trip any longer. It was time to get a move on. So, this was the plan: get to Grafton Notch, ride to Caratunk, do the Kennebec crossing, ride to Monson, do the 100 mile wilderness and Katahdin, and then slackpack the rest of the state southbound in nine days, before driving back south to do North Carolina and Georgia. It was to be a whirlwind tour of Maine, to be completed (I hoped) before it started snowing. This post should bring the story as far as Monson, after which I expect the story can be finished in just four more posts. So close!
Setting up a hammock over mud not only got my mosquito net tent dirty, it made it uniquely tricky to climb out of it in the morning. Routine for this style of camping is trying to find places to step that aren’t on your own gear, and standing hunched over due to the height restrictions imposed by the rainfly. However, you sort of come to count on the ground being there for you. I started the the morning by plopping down onto my butt without warning. Continue reading
Since the trail came out onto Depot St. in Dalton just feet away from a hardware store (L.P. Adams) which was known to provide alcohol/oz. to hikers, I thought I’d try to see if they had any propane canisters, since my cans were feeling a bit light. Of course they didn’t have it.
So I headed down Depot St. until I arrived at some promising-looking town food. A chain of businesses was built right into an old, old depot, one of which looked to have some good beer and pub grub (Mill Town Tavern). I tied Copper to a bench out front and filled his bowl with water, then claimed the window seat just inside so I could watch him and my backpack while I ate and charged my phone. I was finished with my meal by the time I saw the two from the shelter arrive, having had a number of issues getting to town. I believe I was leaving by the time they decided to grab some lunch there too. Continue reading
I woke up the next morning in my hammock. I left it set up, and emptied my backpack into it. I put Copper on the floor inside the shelter (one of the earliest lean-to-style shelters I saw, complete with deacon seat separated from the sleeping shelf by a gap to trap porcupines–Copper had come in limping the night before so I figured he’d be happier sleeping in all day and recovering), and walked my empty pack into Kent. Continue reading
When Copper and I got to the car, mom and Renea refused to touch us for fear of catching some dread disease. We first rode to Shady Valley for a delicious pickle from the Country Store then on to Auntie’s Cottage in Damascus, right off the AT.