Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Hampshire - The Fat Lady Sings

... by which I mean 'the opera's over'.  I'm now in Maine.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012:

Wow.  It took virtually all of July.  I crossed into Hanover, NH on July 3rd, and today I crossed the border into Maine.  If I continue at this pace, it will be mid-September when I finally reach Katahdin.

The slow pace is not just because of difficult trail - and there was plenty of that today.  It's also because of the side-trail hiking I needed to do to access the miles that 'count'.  For the second day in a row, I hiked up the Success Trail, nearly 2 miles, before starting today's piece of the AT.

That piece had some memorable moments.  There were two 'mini-notches' - scrambles down steep slopes over and between huge jumbled boulders, some with cold dark caves beneath them, begging to be explored.  There were three summits, Mt. Carlo and Goose Eye and East Goose Eye, all of which had wonderful wide-open bare-rock views of the surrounding country.  And the weather cooperated to allow excellent viewing.  The Presidential Range is gradually fading in the southwest now, and I got my first look at Old Speck and Baldpate.  I could see only the upper slopes of Mahoosuc Notch.  I should be passing through it (both ways) in the next hike or two.  Here's that view as seen from Goose Eye Mountain:

But my favorite view of the day was from The Overlook - a viewpoint on a side trail off the Success Trail and more than a mile from the AT.  The Presidentials dominate the horizon, and in the foreground is North Bald Cap, which is sort of The Outlook's twin sister:

Though it was a tough day, with lots of rock scrambling, lots of wet sloping bedrock slabs with no good footing (lots of grabbing trees and branches along the side), and lots of ups and downs, I kept it a fairly short day - just under ten hours of hiking (to do 4 new miles of AT).

Maine's part of the Appalachian Trail has always seemed so remote to me - almost unattainable.  Yet here I am.  Places like Old Speck and Full Goose Shelter sounded like realms from another reality - places you could only read about.  But I'll be visiting Full Goose tomorrow, and Old Speck in a few more days.

And as for New Hampshire ... I'll miss it.  I leave that state with many intense impressions and countless lifetime memories.  It was one helluva walk!


Here's today's hike plotted on a map, with link to more photos:

 AT Day 192 - Goose Eye Mtn at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Vermont

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