NH/ME Border to Stratton, ME
The Mahoosuc Range
The Mahoosuc Range is an extension of the White Mountains across the NH/ME border. It is just as challenging as The Whites in every respect, but it felt a little more remote to me. Especially since it lacked the hut system. From the border, the landscape changed dramatically. Huge boulder climbs and rebar ladders seemed to be the norm for this section of trail. The climb up Goose Eye Mountain you can forget about switchbacks, those went out the window a long time ago. The trail had you climb up one rebar ladder, shimmy over to a rock ledge, and then climb up another rebar ladder. All with a fully loaded pack that could easily knock you off balance. To say the least, it was a little sketchy at times, but getting to the top and not being able to see an sign of any civilization made all of the white knuckle moments well worth it.
Grafton Notch to Rangeley, ME
Coming out of Grafton Notch we hiked up to the top of Baldpate Mountain. The peaks were exposed and offered some of the best views to date, nothing but ponds and lakes as far as the eye could see. Easy-Go had his headphones in during the climb and was listening to "Learning To Fly" by Pink Floyd. Arms outstretched like an airplane, he danced his way up the slabs of rock. Like I have said in past posts, the Appalachian Trail just has this magic about it that brings out your true self and allows you to be completely invested in the current moment.
From there we decided to make an unplanned stop into Andover, ME for a small resupply, charge some devices, and some oh so delicious town food. We hitched in with some local hikers, but on the way out we were able to get a ride from trail angel Fat Man Walking. He thru hiked a few years ago and was out on the trail helping out hikers in an RV that he had purchased. From Andover, we made a push onto Rangeley.
Rangeley to Stratton
The following day we went over Lone and Sugarloaf Mountain. Our guidebook said that we were supposed to be fording a river, but luckily the water wasn't near high enough and we made it across without getting wet. On our way into Stratton, ME we crossed the 2000 mile marker. Still can't believe that my feet have taken me this far!