It was 10 days of disjointment/jointment, there were Gonzos everywhere,
groups of 1, groups of 2, groups of 3, groups of 4, and at various times
these groups became jointed and became 6, 7, up to a group of 9. These
groups were in Quebec, New Hampshire (at totally different times-it
seems our honorary Maine Gonzo, Milt Wright, was in the Mahoosuc Notch
the week before us), and Maine. The most common denominators were-- they
were at times climbing mountains and at times at MacDonalds.
In the life of the Sungod it began Tuesday, September 4 at 5:00am when
the Dipper swooped through his Lakeview Kennel to abscond off to Gorham,
-It should be noted at this time that the Dipper had just arrived home
in Dartmouth Monday night at 9:00pm, with nothing packed for this trip,
after spending 3 full days north of Quebec city paddling his Sprint
kayak, and various War Canoes, for Banook in the Canadian Championships-
3 silver medals for our buddy.
Our day was uneventfull, breakfast at Sackville, NB (Mickie D's) and A
Subway (somewhere?) for lunch. As we arrived at Gorham, there sitting in
an open field were the Viking and the Scrounger.
-It should be noted Viking, the Scrounger, Goat, and the newly named
Guzzler (formally I'm Sellin Halifax) had left Fall River at 4:00am
Sunday morning and were just completing an aggresive 2 day hike from
Pinkham Notch over the Wildcat and Carter Range and it's 6, 4000+ foot
peaks. (Scrounger to detail)
We sat in the sun waiting for Goat and Guzzler who had jogged down the
road to get their car.
We were now partialy jointed ---- and it started to pour rain/thunder.
We immediately hightailed it for a local motel, Goat getting us a deal,
senior citizen that he is. Supper and to bed.
Up early Wednesday, and off to the trail head of the Mahoosuc where the
logistics of moving a car to the finish of the trail began. After
leaving Viking, Goat, and Scrounger at the trail start, Dipper, Guzzler,
and Sungod took the two vehicles over 14 miles of dirt, what most of the
time could be called, a road, leaving one car at the finish and then
returning to the start, an almost 2 hour trip.
Finally we were on our feet, hoisting our 35-40 pound packs and away we
go up a gentle hour hike to the start of the Mahoosuc Notch, what is
commonly called in most books, 'THE HARDEST MILE ON THE APPALACIAN
TRAIL.' It met it's billing, it was a hoot, taking 2 hours to cover the
distance. The Notch is an approximate 25 foot wide trail, 1 mile long,
at the base of 2 // mountains. The main problem (and fun) being this 25
foot wide swath is filled with large rocks, some the size of the average
garage, most the size of half ton trucks, which have fallen down the
mountain over the past million, or so, years.
We went over the rocks, we went around the rocks, we went under the
rocks through small openings. I threw my pack over a rock and climbed
after it, I took it off, since it and me together would not fit through
the opening. It was as much fun as I have had hiking ever.
Lunch and then up the Mahoosuc Arm, a steady 2 mile climb, some very
steep, hands on rocks, etc. The fun had stopped and the work had begun.
Up, up, up, down, up, and down to Spec Pond and our Adirondack, three
sided, shelter. Dipper and Goat off for a swim, supper, talk, etc. I met
a couple that will be my competion at Kenduskeag next year in the mixed
division. It was cold over night, down to 5*C--a good test for Dippers
Thursday, 6:00am, stoves heating water, typical porridge crud for
breakfast--7:00 am off we go, up, up, to Spec Peak---what a view!!!!!!!!
Then Dipper and Guzzler are off down the mountain ahead of us to go back
and get the car--remember that 2 hour drive. Same both ways. The rest of
us climbed down 1/2 hour, rest in the sun 15 minutes, down 1/2 hour,
rest in the sun 15 minutes, down 15 minutes, rest in the sun 15
minutes---WHAT A WAY TO HIKE!
We arrived at the parking lot and proceded to rest in the sun for 30
minutes until our chauffers arrived. The Dipper and I were directly off
to Millinocket, ME, while Guzzler, Goat, Viking, and Scrounger did some
shopping along the way.
Checked into Pamola Lodge, got groceries, Chinese supper next door (with
the exception of Goat-can you imagine, a Restaurant that doesn't serve
coffee-Goat had a coniption!)
1:00am, that night, came the arrival of Imax, Fireball, and the Geezer
who had left Halifax at supper time.
WE HAD NOW REALLY BECOME JOINTED!
5:30am Friday we started to move around, off to the $2.99 breakfast
buffet-lots of grease, ham, french toast, beans, etc. BURP!
Off to Baxter State Park and the 9--Count them-- were on the Chimney
Pond Trail, 2 hours covered the 3.3 mile, 1,500 foot, hike into our
campsite in the South Basin at the base of the massive Katahdin range.
Just a nice walk---still with 35 pounds on the back though.
Viking, Scrounger, Goat, having been on the trail since Sunday, and
Fireball decided to vege and take in some rays for the afternoon.
Imax and Geezer, having only been on the Knife Edge once before were hot
to trot to do it again. AND GUZZLER WAS A VIRGIN. The Dipper and Sungod,
though veterens of the Edge, did not want to miss the opportunity to do
it again, so at 11:00 were off.
Leaving Chimney Pond (2,900 feet) first up Dudley Trail, that is,
'straight up' Dudley, 1.1 mile, large rocks, hand over hand over foot,
resting at regular intervals-WHAT VIEWS-STUPENDOUS. Arrived at Pamola
Peak (4,900 feet), straight down 100 feet, flat edge 20 feet, straight
up 100 feet, to Chimney Peak. We were now on the infamous Knife Edge,
1.1 miles, an arrete, sometimes 3-4 feet wide, mostly 6-8 feet wide,
always 1,500-2,000 feet down on each side. A real feeling that you are
on top of the world. The last third of the Edge was a 300 foot increase
in elevation, to South Peak, and then Baxter Peak, the high point of the
Katahdin Range at 5,271 feet, and the Northern Terminus of the 2,000
mile long Appalacian Trail.
We then proceded down the north side of Baxter to the Saddle Trail and
back to Chimney Pond by 5:30 for supper.
Saturday morning, 6:00am up, breakfast of crud, 7:00am departure for
Davis Pond/Russell Pond. The morning brought an extreme change in the
weather, already 68*C, with forcast of going to 80*C. I thought we were
in the mountains? I thought it was September? Jerome had come down (up?)
not feeling well and decided to head out to Roaring Brook and the rest
of us were off climbing steady toward the Saddle Slide in full, 35
pound, gear. About 1/2 way into the 1,700 foot climb, I realized how
poorly I work in heat and humidity. I also realized that my body was
telling me it was not happy and didn't want to move any more. Not
wanting to slow the party down too much (stop?) and put anyone in a
position they may have to abort to assist, I decided at that time I
would join the Geezer at Roaring Brook and do a day hike in the west
part of the Park.
We were disjointed again.
Without detail, since I wasn't there, the rest of the group arrived at
Davis Pond by lunch where Imax, Dipper and Fireball stayed; Viking,
Goat, Guzzler, and Scrounger going a further 4 hours to Russell Pond.
This part of hike will be detailed in another story by another author.
The next 24 hours were simplistic for Geezer and I, get a Leanto at Abol
for Sat/Sun, drive to Abol, have a nap, have supper, sleep, eat crud,
transfer to a Leanto at Roaring Brook, drive to Roaring Brook, have a
Day hike, but not any day hike. If you are looking for a hike from
Roaring Brook, South Turner Mountain is the one. It is one of those
stories--'One of the best returns for the amount of work.' Well don't
read that as an easy hike, about 3 hours return, but it is not bad--And
it is the best of the best for a view--You are at 3,118 feet, looking
due West straight into the South Basin, the North Basin, and the Little
North Basin--a perfect view of Helon Taylor, Pamola, Chimney, the Edge,
South, Baxter, the Catherdral, Hamlin Ridge, etc. READ THE WHOLE
Sunday night, back at our Leanto, big bonfire, into bed, up early, crud
for breakfast, clean up, pack the car and hike 30 minutes toward Russell
to meet Imax, Dipper, and Fireball. (Others had come out the previous
Now Monday morning, into cars at 11:00am, into Millinocket (Mickie D's),
gas and pee in Sackville, NB, home at 8:00 to be greeted by wife and
Got up the next morning to find New York going up in smoke-Wish I was
still in the woods.
The Sun god