We did it!

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So I’m back again. I went right back to work the morning after I got home. I’ve even started the laundry and been to the grocery store. But before I forget, here are some pictures.

Here’s where we started:

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Our original plan was to spend the first night just before Avery Peak, a goal that proved impossible, especially because we didn’t even enter the woods until one in the afternoon.

Entering the woods is a bit like entering the Room of Requirement — you know it’s there, but you can’t quite find the place where you enter. Eventually, though, we did.

So we walked in, and walked and walked and walked and realized that we were only going to be able to be able to go five miles if we wanted to stop at a reasonable time. We camped by this lake. (You can see the two tall peaks called the Horns to come in the background. There are two much taller peaks that you can’t even see behind them, and our original plan was to sleep between those.)

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This is the view on Friday morning, having climbed up to the Horns. That’s Sugarloaf, the ski resort, shrouded in clouds.

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And from the other side, this is Flagstaff Lake, a reservoir on the Dead River which covers a drowned town.

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Here’s a picture of the trail. It was pretty much all like that.

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And here’s a picture of what was left to climb behind the Horns, halfway through the second day — that’s West Peak in front of (almost blocking) Avery Peak, and behind them both Little Bigelow.

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And here’s looking back to the Horns.

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Here’s the trail up West Peak. It was awful. We would have done it in the middle of the night had we kept going that first night. Not smart.

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Here’s Lynn on top of West Peak, with a view of Avery peak behind.

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Here’s Lynn on Avery, worrying about her son who had been calling from Spain. (He’s fine.)

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And views (see how the clouds reflect in the lake?)

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and the way down — with Little Bigelow ahead.

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The descent on the second day was murderous, but we made it, and slept in a little valley before Little Bigelow, which we climbed on Saturday. We met N and her roommate J on top. and then descended to the leanto where they had left the heavy stuff, including the gas canister that actually fit the stove Lynn and I were carrying. Ahem.

Sunday morning we hiked out and Lynn left to drive down to Rhode Island. N and J and I drove into the woods on dirt roads in search of swamps, which we found, and then drove home.

We learned a few things.

  1. We don’t actually need a stove, and it’s heavy.
  2. We need to figure out how to carry less, because we are old.
  3. We need to build up to better mileage, but currently, and arguably hiking over some difficult terrain, we can’t go more than about 6 miles/day.
  4. If you’re hiking in Maine, there’s a whole network of dirt roads that you probably shouldn’t count on being able to drive. Although you might be able to.

In the parking lot on the way out, we met two seventy-year-old twins from North Carolina who were hiking the trail. They’re doing the hard parts first, because they know they may not be able to do them later. Also, because they like to sleep in beds and drink wine with dinner, they are doing the whole thing as a series of day hikes. I found them inspirational.

Anyway — we’ve begun now. It almost felt more like an exploratory mission than the actual beginning of our adventure, but we learned a lot, and knocked a hard climb off our list, too, so I think we can count it as a success.

I’m going to see if I can coax Lynn down to Pennsylvania at the end of this month when we take M back to school and stop in to see K’s mother. I sent away for the PA maps already, and I’m going to start going on longer day hikes around here just to build up a little endurance.

Hooray!

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10 thoughts on “We did it!

  1. Good going! Looks like a fine place for a summer outing (I dig the R of R reference too–nice that tyou found your way *in*) No mention of bugs or weather though–you must have gotten off easy this time! 😉

    • We did! It rained a little one night, but not enough to even get through the canopy, and the bugs were not bad at all. We were really lucky that it didn’t rain — it would have been miserable on that rocky trail if it had rained. Have you ever hiked up there? It also was not too hot or too humid. It had been really hot the week before, too. Sadly, we saw no moose at all, despite sleeping in what the caretaker at Horns Pond called ‘moose alley.”

      • My hiking that far north has been pretty limited, but the bugs can often be a drag this time of year. Lucky that you dodged what rain there was too–rocky trails can be a challenge when they’re wet! A moose sighting would surely have been icing on the cake!

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