Friday, September 14, 2012

Another look at the Great One

Thursday, September 6, 2012:

Another beautiful day in the 'hundred mile wilderness'.

From my personal journal:


I was on the trail at 6:30 and headed south along Pollywog stream, right beside the banks for a few tenths of a mile and then suddenly beginning a climb of a couple hundred feet to get up to the cliffs where the stream goes through what’s described as a ‘gorge’. There’s even a viewpoint up there of this ‘gorge’, but the view was less than impressive. It was basically a narrow wooded valley – little rock was evident except right next to the viewpoint itself.

West end of Crescent Pond
From there the trail retains most of this elevation and comes to Crescent Pond, which it practically circles. It’s a small crescent shaped pond, and the southbound trail comes to it from the west, passes all along the north side, cutting off some of the concave section of the crescent, then around the east side where there are no less than eight or nine boats chained to trees – amazing for such a little body of water in such a remote area only accessible by a long walk.

Then the trail continues along the south side for nearly a third of the length of the pond before finally giving up and heading inland for a climb and then a smaller descent to the road – the same road I parked on. The convoluted course of the trail had taken me 2.6 miles to get to a point on the road that is 1.2 miles from where I was parked as measured by my odometer. Now there’s a nice small circuit hike, or a non-purist thru-hiker’s short cut!

From the south side of this road crossing, the trail immediately begins the ascent of the North Summit of Nesuntabunt Mountain. At this summit there’s a nice viewpoint overlooking Nahmakanta Lake with Katahdin looming just 14 air miles distant (34 trail miles). But when I got there about 8:30 this morning the morning fog had not yet broken so all I could see was the lake below.

I headed on past a fairly unremarkable formation of three boulders forming a short tunnel – for unknown reasons this is mentioned as a landmark in the guide, but I’ve passed dozens of more interesting formations along the AT that don’t get any mention at all. The trail even seems to go out of its way to pass this rock, descending from the mountain then ascending again a hundred feet or more to this rock before descending to the Wadleigh Stream Lean-To, stream crossing, and nearby sand beach.

Sand beach near Wadleigh Stream

From this sand beach on Nahmakanta Lake, the trail makers chose to take the trail back up the slope for 200 feet elevation gain and back down again to a gravel beach in seven tenths of a mile. It looks like they were trying to avoid building trail along the very steep lake-side slopes – perhaps too rocky and difficult to put trail through without significant work. This a perfect example (and there are hundreds more) of a case where the Appalachian Trail is located for the convenience of the trail builders and maintainers at the expense of permanent increased discomfort to the hiker.

This long gravel beach was my turn-around point, and it was only 10:30AM when I got there. The low clouds were beginning to burn off and I was hopeful of having a nice view when I got back to the top of N Nesuntabunt Mountain, and I wasn’t disappointed (view shown up at the top of this post). There were still a few clouds around the peak of Katahdin, but the mountain was mostly in the clear.

Because I had the time, I sat for 25 minutes at this viewpoint drinking a Dr. Pepper and eating and enjoying the cool midday weather and the great view. To the southeast you can see all of the large lake Pemadumcook. By comparison, I’d almost call Nahmakanta a pond.

Even with this dawdling I was back at my parking spot at 2:30.


Logistics dictated that this was all the hiking I needed to do today - a relatively short but rewarding 13.6 mile hike.


Here's the map of today's hike with a link to more photos:

AT Day 225 - N Nesuntabunt Mtn. at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Maine

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