Sunday, September 2, 2012

River walking

  Cliffs along the W. Branch of the Piscataquis River
Saturday, August 25, 2012:

Today I hiked ten more miles of mostly level easy trail, and 8 miles of it were beside big bold noisy streams.  More notably there were three different fords involved - no stepping stones, just watery rapids you had to walk through in your water-shoes (most people use Crocs).

The day started at Shirley-Blanchard Road outside of Monson. After a half mile of descending (going south from there), the trail crosses the East Branch of the Piscataquis River then takes up a relationship with the West Branch of that river for close to five miles.  It's a bit of a rocky relationship, which kept you within ear-shot of the river noise but, south of the Horseshoe Canyon Shelter, (where the river is at it's 'angriest' and most spectacular), the trail has to dodge steep riverside slopes by climbing high up the banks (and then back down again).  There are no less than twelve of these seriously steep ups and downs, adding a total of 500 feet of climbing and descending (yes, I counted and took notes) to what would otherwise be a sedate 250 foot elevation change along the water.

After a pair of fords just 0.2 miles apart (see photo at right for the big one at the confluence of the West Branch with Bald Mtn Stream), the trail closely follows Bald Mountain Stream all the way to a fourth ford, which I did and described yesterday).

So it was a water day, and a super weather day - getting back to almost hot for this low elevation walking.  The twenty miles of hiking I did took me less than eleven hours.  Checking out Monson took me under three minutes (no good internet access via cell phone signal meant no interest in this town).  Yeah, it's a cute little place for thru-hikers to cuddle up with and re-supply before plunging into the section once known as the hundred mile wilderness, but this day hiker with his motorized two-ton steel tent prefers a little more glam.


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

AT Day 215 - West Branch, Piscataquis River at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Maine

No comments:

Post a Comment