Wow, can’t believe I’m just over 2 weeks from starting this journey. I recorded my first YouTube video last week, having stumbled a bit through the process, software learning curve, and upload quality restrictions. I want to focus the last few journal entries sharpening that skill before I’m trail bound, so am going to breeze through my remaining trail previews quickly. I’ll publish videos here as new posts as well as my YouTube channel, so follow along either place. Almost there, so close yet so far. Hello Neiman!
- Start of Section: Gorham, NH (1892.6)
- End of Section: Stratton, ME (2002.7)
- Total Miles: 110.1
- Total Days: 8.5
- Avg Daily Miles: 13.0
- Planned Town Stops: 1
Highlights and Preview of Section 10
- 1909.1 – Welcome to Maine! Crossing this final state border puts you in the home stretch to reach the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail! Note that Maine has some camping limitations for those looking to “stealth camp” away from designated shelters. Also, they aren’t called shelters in Maine. Here in the upper Northeast, they call it a “Lean-To”
- 1915.6 – The “Killer Mile” of Mahoosuc Notch. Just because it’s almost over, doesn’t mean it’s easy. The pit of boulders on this mile-long section of trail present obstacles that must be climbed over, under, and through. There are 10-foot drops and places where packs must be removed to squeeze through, making this mile among the toughest to even the most experienced hikers.
- 1923.7 – Following Mahoosuc is a steep mountain that ends with a drop into Grafton Notch. A shuttle service can pick you up here and take you to nearby towns like Andover if needed.
- 1934.0 – Or wait until you reach East B Hill Rd here, which is where I head into Andover (8.0m east) to spend the night and drop friends off.
- 1946.9 – There are a few other peaks throughout this stretch, but Old Blue Mountain here is memorable due to it steep incline coming out of Sawyer Notch.
- 1956.5 – Your second crossing of Bemis Stream requires you to ford the river. Not sure whether to be nostalgically excited or concerned, but I hope no one dies of Typhoid Fever.
- 1972.3 – Piazza Rock Lean-to and “The Caves”. If you stay here, check out the side trails north of this shelter to take you to an intriguing blue-blazed trail through boulders and caves.
- 1976.2 – Saddleback Mountain. Just another steep mountain, but this one has a ski lodge at the top. That’s pretty neat.
- 1990.9 – On August 14, 1937, the last section of the Appalachian Trail was cut and blazed by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. They worked at 3,500 feet on the rugged ridgeline connecting Spaulding and Sugarloaf mountains in the jumbled high-peaks region of western Maine. A large bronze plaque attached to a mossy boulder marks that spot here. There are no views from this remote spot, no craggy ledge or open summit, just a tangle of spruce and fir to either side of a clear corridor of trail marked with white paint blazes. To the right, it’s 200 miles to Katahdin. To the left, it’s 1,990 miles to Springer Mountain in Georgia.
- 1994.3 – More fording, this time on the Carrabassett River (ford)
- 2002.7 – Welcome to Stratton, and the completion of the penultimate Appalachian Trail section. Hello Neiman!
Next stop, the final countdown. Only 188 miles left to preview in this final stretch of Maine. But it’s no cakewalk, incorporating the Kennebec River crossing, 100 Mile Wilderness, Baxter State Park … and the final destination, Mt. Katahdin.