David Kallin, President
A Note from the President
For this latest issue of Maine A.T. Magazine, we've gone all electronic. This means more articles, more information, more links and more photos of this beautiful landscape. There are 282 miles of Appalachian Trail in Maine (as of 2019) and we feature something from all the regions through which the A.T. passes: the Mahoosucs, rugged, remote and with stunning alpine bogs and ridges (shown here); the Baldpates and Old Speck, straddling Grafton Notch; the High Peaks Region from Bemis Mountain to the Bigelows, encompassing 10 of Maine's 14 highest mountains; the Kennebec River to Monson section, without notable peaks but featuring highlights like Bald Mountain Pond (subject of an article on page __); the Hundred Mile Wilderness, with remote White Cap Mountain (subject of another article!); and finally, the Katahdin district, which needs no introduction.
We hope that you enjoy the inaugural e-magazine format and we're looking forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, enjoy all that the A.T. Landscape in fall has to offer!
6 - Enjoy the View: The new protocol for evaluating visual resources along the A.T.
10 - On A Beautiful Day
12 - White Brook Trail Upgrade and Reroute
14 - Like the End of the Earth: Bald Mountain Pond
17 - News & Notes
18 - Book Review
19 - Mission/Vision
In This Issue
The new protocol for evaluating visual
resources along the A.T.
By Tony Barrett
ATC staff on the summit of Saddleback Mountain, taking an initial assessment of a viewpoint. This involves first taking a GPS location reading and photographs of the viewed landscape.
Enjoy the View
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the National Park Service (NPS) have jointly initiated a pilot visual resources inventory based on a new protocol for documenting visual resources developed by the NPS Air Resources Division.
This “Enjoy the View” system was tested as a NPS initiative as part of the 2016 Centennial. From this initiative, the Visual Resource Inventory (VRI) emerged. In the last couple of years, 30 parks have inventoried their view resources — but none have been a national scenic trail with thousands of views. So, the decision to inventory the A.T. is a big step. Pilot Inventories were undertaken in each of the four regions this year. Maine was selected for the pilot for New England.
The pilot inventory in Maine was successfully completed in late August thanks in part to a 5-day stretch of clear skies and the involvement of Maine Appalachian Trail Club and Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust volunteers.
Seventeen people participated in the VRI training preceding the field sessions, including Maine A.T. Land Trust Executive Director, Simon Rucker and Board members, Louise Jensen and Tony Barrett. The actual assessment work requires hiking to designated viewpoints and collecting data using the VRI protocols. This is not an assessment done by an individual but rather a team (3-6 people) approach to ensure consistency. Each view assessment takes 30-45 minutes.
After the training, the field teams moved to Rangeley, an A.T. Trail Community, to have better travel access to the pilot inventory section —- Saddleback to Bemis Mtns. — about 28 miles of the A.T. There were sufficient trained volunteers (plus two volunteers and the Saddleback Ridgerunner who were only able to come on the hikes) paired with experienced VRI leads to form two teams to conduct 8 field sessions over the next four days —thanks to the good weather window.
Over the course of five days, Scenic Quality data for 26 viewpoints from Saddleback to Bemis (plus two viewpoints on Little Bigelow) were collected. 18 secondary viewpoints were recorded (Bypass photos and coordinates). The results from the 4 pilot inventories will be assessed and a report prepared for the NPS this Fall with recommendations on next steps for conducting the VRI more fully along the A.T. in coming years.
If you are interested in participating in VRI team assessments next year, contact Simon Rucker or Tony Barrett.
ATC’s Dan Hale recording views from Bemis Mountain, 2nd Peak.
Assessing views on The Horn.
When I was a child I spent a lot of time outdoors, not in the wilderness mind you, but outdoors. I lived in suburban environs for most of my formative years that fortunately, included lots of green space – open farm fields, wooded tracts, small streams and even a river. I spent time outside as much as possible with my friends (except for my Saturday morning cartoon ritual!), and when they were not around, I often wandered off into the woods by myself.
Fast-forward to years later, post children, empty nest and my role as a trip leader for the Maine A.T. Land Trust. Although I spent much of my childhood hanging around outdoors, it wasn’t until years later that I started hiking in earnest. My first forays were with my husband and dog to easier venues – mostly flat coastal paths with some tame mountain trails like those on Bradbury Mountain, or the small coastal peaks in Camden Hills State Park. Soon, we “graduated” to more ambitious hikes on Pleasant Mountain or Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. But I yearned for something even more aggressive. The then-president of board of Maine A.T. Land Trust suggested some hikes to get me started – Caribou and Speckled Mountains in Evans Notch to name a few. Later on I discovered the New Hampshire 48s and the New England 67 but I now had a dilemma on my hands. My husband and dog were not interested in strenuous mountain climbing - so who would go hiking with me?
So what does all of this have to do with Maine A.T. Land Trust’s Community Hikes program? I spent a lot of time cultivating hiking companions through various hiking groups but my biggest challenge was finding people who wanted to hike in the Maine. The community hikes program filled that gap perfectly for me and can certainly do the same for you! Our hikes provide an outstanding opportunity for hiking companionship on the trails in the Maine Mountains. Our hikes are free and weather permitting, we head out almost year round – taking off November and December to enjoy the holidays and picking up again in January. We usually avoid early to mid-spring to allow for spring run-off where trails are muddy and extremely wet and tramping through them just stresses both the trails and the hikers.
Where do we go? We hike in Grafton Notch to Old Speck and the Baldpates, both along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), and to nearby Puzzle Mountain. We hike to Goose Eye Mountain, a perennial favorite, with amazing, 360-views from its two summits. You may also find us on other western Maine mountains: Saddleback, the Horn, Mount Abraham, Sugarloaf, Spaulding, or the Crockers. We often travel to Four Ponds and Spruce Mountain at he famous Height of Land overlook near Rangeley, and every winter we try to climb Caribou Mountain in Evans Notch. But wait! There’s more! The Bigelow Preserve in western Maine is another favorite area. The 36,000-acre preserve contains entire the Bigelow Mountain Range, with six high peaks, almost all of which we manage to hit once a year, most of it along the A.T. In fact, our last hike of the fall season is to Little Bigelow, the eastern-most peak on the range. A moderately strenuous hike, the trail offers several outlooks with beautiful views looking down the range and out to the ski slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Sign me up! The Maine A.T. Land Trust website lists our hikes, contact information and a place to sign up. Someone from the organization will contact hikers to arrange for carpooling, discuss the weather conditions, go through essentials, finalize details and, of course, answer any questions. We also make sure all hikers are experienced enough and in good shape to participate, as most of these hikes are moderate to very strenuous.
So - if you are an avid hiker and are yearning to hit the peaks in Maine come check us out! Many of our hikers are repeat participants who loved the experience so much they became trip leaders themselves - just like me!
A-Hiking We Will Go!
By Louise Jensen
White Brook Trail Reroute and Upgrade
Diagram of potential re-route
The Maine A.T. Land Trust is currently working with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands on rerouting the White Brook Trail, which for many years was the quickest and shortest way to access the A.T. to get to the summit of White Cap Mountain. Unfortunately, due to deterioration in road conditions getting to the trail, the trailhead itself has been almost inaccessible for a few years.
In 2017, the Maine A.T. Land Trust worked with conservation partners to protect this area via the Gulf Hagas Whitecap project. This year, the landowner will be harvesting timber on the abutting property and will be upgrading the logging road which leads to the White Brook Trail. In the process, the State of Maine (who holds a conservation easement over the timberland area) helped to scout the trail area and decided that, in order to protect the trail, the lower section needed to be routed off the logging road and into the nearby woods. At the same time, the landowner agreed to create a small trailhead parking area and allow for signage to direct hikers to the trail. All of this will be much easier to get to with the improvments to the road.
White Cap Mountain ((3,655 feet) is the highest mountain in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, and contains an alpine area of several dozen acres. The White Brook Trail will be the only trail up the south side of the White Cap Range, enabling hikers from the south to access the trail via Brownville Junction rather than by heading over to Greenville.
We are very excited to share this news and hope to have a further update in the next issue of Maine A.T. Magazine!
Bald Mountain Pond with Moxie Bald Mountain in the background.
To get to Bald Mountain Pond, you first have to figure out what you're going to do when you get there. Are you hiking on the A.T.? Are you canoeing? Are you swimming? Are you canoeing then hiking? Fishing? Swimming and fishing? Hiking and swimming?
Bald Mountain Pond is the kind of place were you can do all of this and more. Moxie Bald Mountain, over which the A.T. passes after the Kennebec River crossing, is a sneaky-good candidate for one of the finest views from the A.T. in Maine. Bald Mountain Pond is not the biggest or deepest or most fish-filled lake, but there's probably nobody around you to get in the way!
What Bald Mountain Pond, and the A.T. along its north shore, gives you is an encapsulation of everything that makes the Maine Woods such a special place.
After driving north past Bingham and turning down a logging road - nothing unusual when you're trying to get somewhere in the outdoors in Maine - you keep going. And going. After twenty minutes you turn onto Bald Mountain Pond Road. After half an hour you pass Austin Pond, another gem that is well-known locally, on the eastern shore. A full forty-five minutes after leaving the blacktop state highway, you reach a parking area at the southern end of Bald Mountain Pond.
Here you can launch your canoe for a paddle across the pond to the northern shore. In a small protected bay you'll find the Moxie Bald lean-to where you can stash your canoe. Thru-hikers might be passing by as you head up the A.T. to Moxie Bald. The trail is steep and rugged but not for very long, as it's just 2.1 miles from the shelter to the summit. There, you are treated to views from Maine's High Peaks in the west to Baxter State Park in the north. Surrounded by an eerie deadfall forest, you can stop for awhile and pick blueberries in the sun.
In less than an hour you are back at your canoe, where curious thru-hikers ask where you came and how far it was to get there. On the way you can stop on the rocks that dot the pond surface and throw a line in the water. Sometimes the breeze runs north to south in the morning and south to north in the afternoon, so you might have to paddle hard over open stretches of water. Still, you can get back to the boat launch, load up and get home just after dinner.
Bald Mountain Pond will be permanently protected by the Maine A.T. Land Trust and partners by the end of 2019. There will be public access for all of these activities and more! We hope you enjoy visiting as much as we do. For more information on how to get there, stay in touch!
"Like the End of the Earth"
New A.T. Communities Maps!
There are new maps for different A.T. Communities from Virginia to Maine! The reverse side has information about regional hikes for all abilities which connect to the Appalachian Trail. We have a limited stock of the Maine High Peaks (shown below) and Monson map & guide. To request a free copy as a member, write to us here.
Maine A.T. Land Trust Community Hikes Season Ending October 19th
The summer hike season is drawing to a close! Our last hike will be on October 19th up Little Bigelow. You can sign up on our website here or by calling 207-808-2073. Space is limited and this hike is filling up! But don't worry, we will have winter hikes listed in a few months.
Maine A.T. Land Trust Receives Grant from Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Wild East Action Fund
We are pleased to announce the award of $30,000 from this fund, which seeks to accelerate the pace of conservation within the A.T. Landscape. This grant will go a long way towards helping us complete our strategic conservation priorities from 2020 and beyond to protect the A.T. here in Maine!
News & Notes
Book Review: The Trail by Meika Hashimoto
The mission of the Maine Appalachian Trial Land Trust is to preserve and protect the land within the Appalachian Trail region of Maine for public benefit.
A rich, interconnected system of land, water, flora, and fauna within the Appalachian Trail region in Maine, that inspires individuals and communities across time.
Wilderness: a landscape minimally impacted by the development pressures of humans;
Ecological Richness: an ecosystem that is strong in biological health,interconnectivity, and the ability to adapt to a changing climate;
A Well for Humanity: preserving human access to the sources of life so that present and future generations may fill their spirits;
Culture: a celebration of our nation’s strong and unique outdoor heritage;
Recreation: enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities that are unrivaled on the East Coast;
Community: these public lands are a cherished natural endowment to the people of Maine, and visitors from around the world.
Aesthetics: the natural views, sounds and sensory experience along the Appalachian Trail that inspires individuals and communities across time
Editor's Note: A film production company has bought the rights to this book and will be creating a film version.
By Jonah Rucker, Ten Year Old Boy
The Trail is a book about a boy whose friend Lucas died and they were going to hike the Appalachian trail, so the boy named Toby hiked it on his own and as he went along he discovered he was too young to hike it. While he was hiking Toby met thru hikers going to all different destinations, he met Wingin’ it, Sean and Denver who he saved from the bottom of a cliff they fell off of. His parents divorced when he was young and he lives with his grandma. Finally, Toby ran out of food many times and had to get food from the huts along the way. I think the book was very sad and exciting, I would rate it 5 stars. It is good for 10 year olds and up.