[at-l] 90 PG, excerpts for Gorham to Katahdin, last one.

RockDancer rockdancer97 at comcast.net
Tue Mar 27 10:34:12 CDT 2012

Here are the excerpts from the last section of “The 1990 Philosphers Guide” by Darrell Maret. My comments are in blue. --RockDancer


IX Gorham to Katahdin


1. An 87 couple forewarns “From Gorham to Flagstaff Lake be prepared to deal with groups (Outward Bound, Scouts, camps, and private groups up to 12). Most are considerate but some are shelterhogs, litterbugs, and late-night talkers. Keep positive attitude and be prepared to sleep in tent. Be low-key, but educate those in need”. AMC reports 50% of Mahoosuc use is from groups! Hank of 89 observed “If Tiorati Circle is a good place to learn Spanish, Maine is the place for the Francophile.”


2. Mahoosuc Notch: In 89, due to rains, the Notch was very muddy and many of the bog bridges were broken. AMC had new materials flown in for repairs. Hopefully will be better in 90. Gone now, but in 87 there was a dead moose in The Notch with a cigarette in its mouth.


7. The MATC is now finishing a several-year project of moving over 170 miles of the AT to a permanent, protected location and building new shelter to go with the new Trail. This is a phenomenal effort considering the MATC is a relatively small club. Phil Pepin, a longtime contributor, wrote me in Jan 90.”We are pretty much finished with the major relocation work. Still have minor changes here and there, plus several new sidetrails to open or reconstruct. Also at least six new shelters to build over the next few years. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever be able to sit back and enjoy our works as a hiker would. Too much to do and not enough hands to do it.”


South of Maine, when a relocation first goes into effect, it is often possible to still walk the old AT following faded white or brown blazes. But in Maine, when a relo is made, the paper companies usually waste little time in timbering the old AT. Be careful. Maine, being the most wilderness state along the AT, is definitely not the place to get lost.


8. Baldpate Mountain: Ladder there but too short and of little or no use to northbounders. If you feel uncomfortable about the climbing down, lower your pack and simply jump. (Ha! This was exactly the same in ’97. –rd)


10. Andover, ME: (The places to stay were Andover Arms Family Style B&B, Pine Ellis Lodging. --rd) For eating Addie’s Place is a gem. Jokes and cartoons line the walls; Addie does all her own cooking, which includes blueberry, cherry and peanut butter pie. An 89 hiker wrote “The peanut-butter pie makes the trip into Andover worthwhile even if you don’t stay there.” She has never taken a vacation because she likes her work so well. (I’ve heard that the same location now has a café run by Addie’s grand-daughter. Anyone know? –rd)


13. Elephant Mountain relo was finished Oct 88. The Elephant Mtn Shelter is about .8 m off the AT now and is scheduled for destruction. Reports of dangerous covered holes on relo, some almost 2 ft deep! As one 89 hiker put it, “A night hike through this short section would be dangerous.” (I don’t know how to interpret this entry. By ’97 the AT went over Old Blue Mtn, then skirted around Elephant before climbing Bemis Mountain. –rd).


19. Saddleback Mtn with its great views and fragile alpine vegetation is being hard-pressed by ski and real-estate developers who want ski lifts to go into the fragile subalpine and alpine areas and who want to use the AT as part of a ski-run. A consortium of conservation groups is fighting on your and the mountains behalf.


20. New Spaulding Mtn Shelter was completed in 89, is on AT. Old shelter is .5 m on old AT, will be removed in 90 or 91. Big shelter, like Bemis Mtn, sleeps more than 10, nice log benches, translucent roof panels, several tentsites. Fireman of 89 wrote “Another great shelter and another ‘baseball bat’ bites the dust!”


24. Stratton, ME: (Cathy’s Restaurant was the place to eat, Stratton Plaza was the place to stay, and Fotters AG Store the place to resupply. No White Wolf Inn or Stratton Motel in 90. –rd)


28. Beautiful West Carry Pond shelter completed in summer of 89, old Jerome Brook shelter destroyed at same time. New shelter holds 8, near the shore of the pond.


29. From Pierce Pond shelter blue blaze trail to Harrison Camps, fantastic breakfasts. An 88 hiker created a situation here that almost closed Harrison Camps to all hikers. Thankfully, Tim & Fran let bygones be bygones. An 89 hiker put it in perspective “The Harrison’s are very friendly to hikers as long as hikers are patient and allow them to wait on their regular customers first. After all, they make their living off the regular customers, not off the hikers.”


30. Kennebec River: Alice Ference, to whom the 86 PG was dedicated, drowned in 1985 while attempting to ford this river. MATC/ATC ferry is free! The 90 schedule is 10 am to Noon, so don’t miss it. Do not give donations to ferryman, send them to MATC or ATC.


32. Holly Brook relo (around Caratunk) was completed Oct. 89, 6 m  long. This relo takes the AT off its roadwalk from Caratunk to Pleasant Pond. The treadway is rough and will take a few years to wear in.


34. The Cookie Lady leaves homemade bakery goods at Pleasant Pond Shelter on her weekly strolls about these parts. MATC put in a floor and new roof in Oct 89, then in Dec 89 a large fir tree fell directly in the middle and on top of the shelter. Another new roof will be ready this spring.


38. Joe’s Hole Shelter water supply looks horrible, boiling is best. Sometime in the future MATC will build a new shelter and destroy Hoe’s Hole, but that’s not scheduled for 1990.


40. Monson, ME: (you had a choice of Shaw’s Boarding House, $10 for bunk; or The Old Church Hostel, $8, run by Sister Slav. –rd) Warning: The stretch ahead may be the most wilderness portion of the AT but you will be sharing the Trail with numerous groups, families and dayhikers. You may even have to tent because of single groups monopolizing the shelters. (This all changes if you reach the Wilderness after Labor Day Weekend. –rd)


46. Carl Newhall Shelter has resident moose that frequents the water hole, treat the water.


47. Some buildings of Antlers Camp have been moved, the rest knocked down, but still an interesting place. The privy is nice, has register. Lower Jo-Mary Lake for excellent swimming and clamming! (hmm, do hikers eat fresh-water clams? –rd)


49. Nesuntabunt Mtn: this is the last climb before the Big K. One hiker wrote: “Not a bad climb at all, what was ridiculous was Moody Mtn.”


51. Baxter SP: At Daicey Pond, twin shelter (reminiscent of PA) reserved for AT hikers. Library and canoes. $4 in 89, limit 2 nights. Katahdin Stream Campground, $8 for shelter $4 to tent, but usually booked. I hope you get into Daicey Pond. It is the perfect place for some soul-searching and questioning as to where you’ve been and where you will be going; a perfect place to feel the tinge of melancholy by remembering all the good times and knowing that tomorrow you will be bidding farewell to the AT and closing one of the most worthwhile chapters of your life. (Daicey Pond shelters were removed, the cabins are still there. I think the AT hikers are asked to stay at The Birches. –rd)


52. Millinocket: (no mention of the AT Café or of Don & Jo-Ann Cogswell, so well known by ’97. –rd)


(I really enjoyed making the comparisons between the AT of my experience (’97-’11) to what was going on just 7 years earlier. After 90, hikers continued to act up in town, in even more unexpected ways, and more traditional spots closed because of incidents. But there are new places, and even some of the new places are no longer. Rusty’s traditional stay is now passed. Miss Janet’s has come & gone, hopefully to return again. Kincora arrived in ’97 and is still going strong! –RockDancer)


Arthur D. Gaudet

RockDancer on the Appalachian Trail

Rockdancer97 at comcast.net



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