Mark and I stayed in Gorham for two nights getting ready for Maine. We did some shopping, cleaning and repairing at the local hiker lodging. Mark and I decided to hitch back to Pinkham Notch and slackpack back to Gorham. Instead, we hung around the Pinkham Notch AMC Center and then hitched back to town. When we got back there was quite a collection of thru-hikers at the Gorham House Inn. The Tortiose Trekkers, Peter and Judy, Night Prowler, Sunshine Daydream, Figgy Newton and Cookie Monster all wandered in while we were there. Everyone was excited about Maine. We finally got out of Gorham on September 4th and the northwoods were already showing some fall color.
Berlin, Hew Hampshire was the home of a major paper mill with that characteristic sulphury stench permeating the forest. It was amazing that the smell could get that deep into the woods. Nevertheless, the air was crystal clear and the views off the low ledges were awe inspiring. The yellows of the birch and hobblebush seemed to glow but the reds of the maples and sumac were just starting to blaze. We walked over Mt. Hayes and Wocket Ledge, lingering about enjoying the beautiful New England autumn woodlands. The forest was teaming with red squirrels and chipmunks. They scurried about, no doubt preparing for the long winter months ahead. Indeed, you could feel that familiar chill creeping towards winter, especially in the morning. On our way to Gentian Pond Shelter, Mark and I got our first look at moose prints. We couldn’t wait to see one!
Our backpacks were swollen with food and the 12 miles from Gorham left us weary. Even though there was a bunch of “short hikers” at the shelter, we were glad to spend the night at such a great place. It was located on a secluded beaver pond with excellent views to the east. We were closing in on Maine and would be there tomorrow. The forest seemed to know this and exuded its own aura of wildness.
We woke to a spectacular day. Mist rose out of the lowlands as the skies brightened with the sun. The air had lost that paper mill scent and was crisp with autumn. Mark and I had a spring in our step as we walked the last miles of New Hampshire. At last the sign proclaimed the inevitable. We were now in Maine, the last state on our northbound trip of the Appalachian Trail.
…continue the expedition, read: Mahoosic Moose and a Speck Birthday [link]