Nov 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm #1241678
Welcome to Maine sign on AT at the NH/Maine border
Moss on the Mahoosuc Traverse
Sunrise from Antlers Camp on Jo-Mary Lake in the 100-mile kinda sorta wilderness
Morning fog burning off East Branch of Pleasant River
Moose skull and prayer flags at Mahoosuc Notch
Late morning early in the 100-mile
A friend on the relatively new Grafton Loop trailNov 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm #1545995
My wife and I are thinking about doing the 100 mile wilderness as a 7 day trip next summer. We've done a small stretch over Barren Mountain and Katahdin, but the rest is pretty unknown to us.
When did you go? How long did it take you? Any tips?
-NateNov 18, 2009 at 4:13 am #1546053
Sweet pics, John. My favorite state on the AT (because I live there, of course)!
Nate, I'd say try to stay at Antlers campsite (see picture above… it's beautiful!), and definitely, absolutely take the side trip to see Gulf Hagas. If nothing else, the first few falls are great, with good swimming holes. If you can make it all the way to the Head Of The Gulf, it's well worth the very long detour.
Oh, and Cloud Pond Lean-to is another delightful campsite, despite the long side trail.Nov 18, 2009 at 6:50 am #1546065
We went in mid September which is a great time of year to go since the daytime temps are great for hiking, there are no bugs, it's still warm enough at night for a fairly light bag (I used a 40 degree bag supplented with my MB UL down inner on the colder nights), and the river crossings are not usually a problem then.
We spent 8 days, 7 nights on trail. Although we could have finished in 7 days, the weather on the second half of the trip was spectacular and we decided on route to take the extra day.
I went with a party of three, and two of us wanted to do the trip without resupply so we avoided White House Landing and packed for 8 days food plus a little extra. Some day I might try this trip again SUL (this time I had 12 pounds base) in which case I will definetely resupply at White House Landing. Plus get one of their nice fat burgers and drink 5 or 6 beers while I'm there for good measure! My friend that did go to WHL really enjoyed his brief stop and the tasty burger.
I would avoid the shelters if you can, as especially when you get further north you can find some really spectacular campsites.
If you have any other questions please feel free to send me a PM.Nov 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm #1546192
Funny that you mentioned Cloud Pond Lean-to. My wife and I stayed there this summer and were appalled at how trashed the place was. Being 5 miles in any direction from even the smallest dirt road, we couldn't figure why the fire pit had used TP in it, there was human crap ten feet from the shelter (in the open area), food trash EVERYWHERE, and mountain house wrappers covering the shelves in the shelter.
Worst shelter experience we ever had.
That said, the location was beautiful, and if hadn't been for that trash, it probably would have been great. Hopefully if we stop there again some time it'll be better.
That Antlers campsite looks incredible. Is that on Moosehead Lake? (Does the AT go by Moosehead Lake?)
I'll definitely take your advice on Gulf Hagas too.
Thanks for the tips. I'm thinking we'll probably pack enough food so we don't need to resupply, but a beer and a burger sound like they'd make for a pretty awesome mid-trip stop. Definitely something to consider.Nov 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm #1546230
"Worst shelter experience we ever had."
That makes me very, very sad. It wasn't like that when I was last there last year. The shelter itself is dilapidated, for sure, but the setting is nice, and there are good places to tent nearby.
I had a similar experience on White Cap mountain, not far from there. First time I was up there, everything was beautiful and it was one of my favorite mountains. Last year, I found human poo, toilet paper, and an entire bag of peanut shells scattered on the summit. Don't even get me started about the people who do things like that to places that are so beautiful and wild.
Antlers is on Jo-Mary Lake, if I remember correctly. Much more secluded and remote than Moosehead (which is about 15 miles from the AT where the 100-miles starts).
And I'll second the September recommendation. Good time for any hiking in the northeast.Nov 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm #1546234
Yeah, it was a huge bummer. I love Barren Mountain — we've been up there several times before — but I'd never ventured past the summit to the shelter. I was pretty dismayed, just because of how far away it was from civilization. It wouldn't have surprised me if it was a mile from the road, but five???
I took all of the non food / human waste trash back with me, and hopefully the AMC eventually took care of the rest. It's pretty lame when somewhere so beautiful is trashed like that.
I didn't think Moosehead was along the AT, but that lake looked huge and I wasn't sure what other large lakes were along the way.
As far as September goes, my wife is a teacher, so it's pretty much out. We either go in April and trek through snow here and there, or brave the bugs and humidity in summer. But my experience has been that late July and August tend to be okay in that area of Maine, so we'll probably shoot for then.Nov 18, 2009 at 6:09 pm #1546253
August it is! Just don't go there in June without gallons of DEET.
There are definitely lots of lakes in northern Maine, big and otherwise. Check out the google map over at Postholer.com and zoom in on the northern end. Lots of good swimming up there!
All these pictures and talk to the Maine AT makes me want to go out there right now…Nov 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm #1546266
Maine's my favorite place in the world, and yeah, June sucks. My family has a small cabin on Monson Pond in Monson, and my wife and I went up there the first week of June for our anniversary last year. MISERABLE!
It didn't keep us from going outside, but we definitely smothered ourselves in DEET.
August has always treated me well, though. We did the Bold Coast this last August and it's one of my favorite trips to date, despite the Backpacker Magazine-induced crowds.Nov 18, 2009 at 7:43 pm #1546279
I think Jo-Mary Lake is correct. I should go back and look at my maps and edit the picture descriptions. Like I'm pretty sure the stream with the morning fog is Wilson Stream but I can't remember 100% for sure.
Sadly, I also noticed that many of the shelters and campsites had more trash than I'm used to seeing in NH. At Antlers camp, not 40 feet from where that sunrise photo was composed, was a fire ring with half burned trash in it.
Some people are quick to blame the fisherman and other non-hiking outdoorsman, but I also noticed the problem near some of the shelters and in the mountains too. That's one reason why I recommended avoiding the shelters if you can.
But for the most part, other than at a few certain shelters and campsites, the area is quite beautiful.Nov 19, 2009 at 5:20 am #1546353
"Sadly, I also noticed that many of the shelters and campsites had more trash than I'm used to seeing in NH. At Antlers camp, not 40 feet from where that sunrise photo was composed, was a fire ring with half burned trash in it."
Jeez, that's still a huge bummer. I guess you could make the point that there are more caretakers (AMC, large crowds of concerned hikers, etc.) in NH than in far northern Maine, but… that's just ridiculous.
I've seen more than my fair share of trash at shelters, too… once it was a ton of trail magic left at a shelter by some folks who obviously weren't thinking of how the hot dog packages, soda cans, ketchup bottles, etc. were going to get out of there. Good intentions, just poorly thought-out. I think the burnt trash in a fire ring is also with good intentions, but once again– poorly thought out. Which is why it's good to catch the people in the act and tell them why it's a bad idea, rather than scold after the fact.Nov 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm #1549080
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Grenville, ME is at the southern tip of Moosehead Lake, 10 + road miles north of Monson where the AT crosses Rte 15/6.
A side trail leading to The Gulf Hagas soon passes the Auger Falls. Don't miss it. It is very close to the AT.
The Antlers is the site of an old Hunting Lodge with a view of Katahdin from the beach. No bulidings remain.
I do not believe White House Landing accepts food drops any more. It is a long 2 hour drive to the nearest PO on logging roads. Great meals, however, and a grab bag for thru-hikers.
Ice cream is sold by the pint.
John, fantastic photo of fog rising on the Pleasant R.!
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