Friday, August 24, 2012:
I named it that. I don't know if it has an actual name yet - it's not mentioned in the AT guide. But it should be. It's an amazing little spot just above the bypass trail junction on the south side of Moxie Bald Mountain. There's a gi-mongous (indeed hu-normous) rock slab sitting on other rocks that forms a spacious roof over the AT (passing to the right of the 'claw', a better look at the 'roof' is in the photo at right) and the same rock forms a roof over a perfectly passable tunnel (a bit of tough scrambling, and probably can't be done with a full pack) at left in the picture above. In the spirit of the Lemon Squeezer and Fatman Squeeze, it would be cool to see this tunnel become the white blaze route some day. Maine trail builders don't seem to have had time to be so 'playful' yet. (There's another place - Safford Notch in the Bigelows - where the trail could go through some tunnels and do other really cool things with mansion-sized boulders ... maybe someday.)
I hiked twenty miles today and the weather was perfect. Moxie Bald was the only mountain - the rest of the trail was fairly level and easy. But that mountain is a gem. Besides sporting 'The Lobster Claw', it has another truly unique experience - a ledge walk on perfect granite with wonderful views and easy walking. Here's that ledge, first looking downhill with the views, and then looking uphill at the length of that perfect slab of granite.
Yes, Moxie Bald (or Bald Mountain as some crusty locals prefer to call it - they've tried to scratch off the word 'Moxie' from the trail signs), features some of the most solid granite anywhere on the trail. Paved walkways a billion years in the making, and durable beyond the counting of years. Here's another look at it, with some premature fall color thrown in:
And finally, here is another example of the stellar views this weather offered - looking down on Bald Mountain Pond:
Got another peek at Katahdin from the summit, and at the end of today's hike I reached the Piscataquis County line - the very last county on the trail. Yes, it's a huge county, with nearly 130 miles of trail in it, but it still seems significant to be in the final county.
Near the summit I met 'Bird Man', who's starting the northern leg of a Flip-Flop. He needs to get to Port Clinton, PA and he's done. We got to talking, and it turns out that he's met Bomber and that he started his hike at Springer the same day that Paul 'Parkside' did. He hiked with Paul for a couple days there at the start, and then Paul pushed ahead of him, as Bird Man preferred to take breaks to visit friends, etc. It continues to amaze me how many intertwining connections I find among the trail population. It's one of the truly unique aspects of AT hiking. I'm sure there will be more ...
Here's the map of the route of today's hike and a link to two dozen photos:
AT Day 214 - Moxie Bald Mountain at EveryTrail
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