Month: March 2014

The Beauty of Acadia National Park – Throwback Thursday blog #2

In early September, NoKey and I took our day off to visit Acadia National Park.  We had wanted to go since arriving in Maine, but we also wanted to miss the tourists in Bar Harbor.  September brought cooler and damper weather, but smaller crowds!  Since it was raining that morning, we had a limited opportunity to get any hiking in, which is okay in Acadia since you can drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  We decided to call it “car hiking” and enjoyed it very much (other than the fact that there were bus loads of elderly people milling about up top!)  Since it was raining and misting, we didn’t expect many views, but it was still stunning to be on top of a mountain and be above treeline at only 1500 feet.  The mist and cooler weather definitely made you feel the fall-like atmosphere, and the smell of the coniferous trees took us back to the days we hiked in the soaking rains of New Hampshire for two weeks back during our thru hike.  

We walked on the large paved paths and then found the roads less-traveled on some muddier ones.  We even did something true to a Sprinkles and NoKey hike and went exploring on unmarked trails.  After we’d had enough of the crowds, we did more “car hiking” around the park and drove along the coast of Maine, seeing beautiful bays and Thunder Hole.  We enjoyed the sites in Acadia and would one day like to go back for some hiking and possibly bike riding along the loop.  There is no backpacking allowed in the park due to the fragility of the alpine plantlife and the harsh conditions of Mt. Desert Island.  

This was also the day before NoKey’s birthday, so we took time out to go out and grab a bite to eat in a good restaurant and a good quality draft beer, something we didn’t get much of in Millinocket!

There wasn’t a whole lot of hiking done, but every once in a while it’s about relaxation… and we really enjoyed our trip out to the Maine coast. The photos are (1) The view from Cadillac Mountain into Frenchman Bay. (2) A beautiful, classically rocky view of the Atlantic from the Maine coast. (3) A serene and sandy beach on the southern part of the island.  


“Throwback Thursday” hiking adventures – October 2013

Since I didn’t have much time to blog while I was living in Maine, I’ve decided to start a “Throwback Thursday” edition of my blog for the next several weeks to profile my hikes while I was in Maine.  Today’s adventure will take place in the 100 Mile Wilderness of Maine – Turtle Ridge Trail in October 2013.

Turtle Ridge is a fairly new trail, constructed by the MCC (Maine Conservation Corps) about 8 years ago.  The trail is a figure-eight of sorts and can be done many different ways, so for my hike today I decided to wing it and go where I felt like hiking.  To get to the trailhead, I drove down Route 11 South from Millinocket to Jo-Mary Road. I drove in Jo-Mary, took the first fork toward Cooper Brook and drove through the Henderson Gate, about an hour and ten minutes or so from Millinocket.  The trailhead parking is well-marked, but the actual trailhead is not!

The trail is a blue blaze and begins a gentle uphill on soft, pine-covered trail and is in amazing shape.  After about a half mile or so you’ll come to a summit with the first trail junction and obscured views of other hill tops.  I decided to continue straight down to Rabbit Pond and a stream crossing.  There were a few ups and down, but all gentle or switchbacked for the next two miles or so until I came to Turtle Ridge, which looks down on Sing-Sing Pond and across the pond to the AT at the Whitecap Range.  There was a beautiful view here and I took some time for a snack and a few pictures before heading downhill to the next trail junction.  

On the way down to the next section of trail (which is a second access point at ITS 85/86 (Musquash), there was a little bit more steepness but I had noticed some beautiful signs of fall with fresh fallen, colorful leaves underfoot.  When I reached the bottom of the hill, the trail turned into an old logging roadbed and was gentle and pleasant, following along the edge of Sing-Sing Pond.  I hadn’t seen a person or any wildlife all day so I was frightened by a moose who had seen me first and was taking off in the opposite direction and splashed into the pond! After a mild heart attack I began a steeper uphill that was more in Maine fashion than the rest of the trail to Long and Henderson Ponds.  This section of trail is more remote and, therefore, rockier and steeper than the first part.  I made my way uphill, stopping a few views and stopping once to ponder a green-blazed trail not on mine or any map I had seen before, slowly making my way down to yet another scenic pond.  

The last uphill of the day had some beautiful step work done by the MCC and a “scenic overlook” which turned out to be overgrown.  It was starting to get later in the day, around 3:15, so I was ready to be finished.  I was summiting my final hill when I came around a corner to the most stunning frontal view of Katahdin!  It was an amazing surprise!  To look down and see the ponds and little logging trucks snaking along Jo-Mary Road and then look straight ahead and see this beautiful mountain in the fall was stunning.  I had another snack break and took a few photos and videos before heading back downhill to the original trail junction and then, finally down to the car.  

Just before getting back to my car I had to walk along Jo-Mary Road for a quick minute.  I crossed a logging bridge and directly beneath me heard a splash… it turned out to be a beaver swimming through the small stream!  I stretched out and got ready to drive back to Millinocket.  After crossing the Henderson Gate I came to the Cooper Brook/AT junction of the road and saw two thru’s sitting on a rock looking exhausted.  They were dreaming of lunch at White House Landing, which was no longer serving lunch to hikers without a night’s stay (for the two of them, this would have cost around 90 bucks after the food and stay!)  I broke the bad news to them to find out they were pretty much out of food and looking forward to packing out burgers.  I had no food or trail magic, but offered to jump them ahead a day’s walk or so on the trail to Nahmakanta Lake if they wanted.  They gladly accepted and we drove the half-hour back in the other direction to the lake. 

They actually did stay with us at the hostel a few days later and gave me their blog to follow, even though they had already finished the trail. They were incredibly grateful, which was nice to see that late in the season. 

Katahdin from the top of the mountain:

The beaver in the stream: 

The view from Turtle Ridge: 

Recap of the past few months – late 2013 and early 2014

Since leaving Maine and moving to New York for a little while I haven’t had time to get much hiking done. Being that I’m now working two jobs to save up some cash and the fact that, despite it being mid March, there is usually a foot of snow on the ground at any given time, hiking has taken a backseat as of late.  I’ve done some exploring of the Central New York region, going snowshoeing at Beaver Lake, hiking at Clark Reservation, and exploring area greenways all while trying to find my way around the area.  One place I haven’t been yet is up to the Adirondacks!  I’m definitely looking forward to some warmer weather so getting up there won’t be such a big challenge. 

Speaking of big challenges, time to announce the next one of mine: Becoming a 46er!  Here in the Adirondacks, we have 46 peaks measuring 4,000 feet or higher.  Hike them all, you’re a 46er!  My challenge is going to be to peak bag all 46 this year, preferably before the end of autumn.  I’ve been doing some research on the area, as well as talking to people I work with who are or are actively on their way to being a 46er and learning all I can about permits, fees, etc. before embarking on this challenge in about six weeks.  I’m glad to say NoKey will be doing this with me to help us get in shape for bigger and bolder plans in the spring of 2015 (more on that at a later time!)

During the next few months, the blog will be busier again and I’ll recap all my hikes and backpack trips like I did before.  I feel sad I didn’t have the time to do so on all my hikes in Maine, but will be definitely making the time for it somehow as I document the trails of the Adirondacks.  I can’t wait to share my trips with you guys!

A few photos above: Snowshoeing for the first time at Beaver Lake; Max Patch in October 2013 on our roadtrip following leaving Maine; Katahdin from Turtle Ridge Trail in the 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine, October 2013.