Get a day of rest for physical recovery? Check. Eat 4,000 calories to ensure plenty of energy? Check. Review the weather forecast to confirm a sunny day? Check. Pack plenty of food for the days ahead? Check. With my checklist completed, I walked out of the front door of the Rattle River Hostel (this is so convenient) to continue my journey on the A.T.
My mileage goal for today was intentionally set low for two reasons. First, the hike was going to start with a 1,775-foot climb to the summit of Mt Hayes. Secondly, the hike was going to start with a 1,775-foot climb to the summit of Mt Hayes while carrying five days worth of food on my back. The trail starts off easy with a one-mile road walk down North Road and Hogan Road while crossing the Androscoggin River on the Shelburne Dam. But then the trail re-enters the woods and the real work begins.
The climb to the summit of Mt Hayes was made even more difficult by the amount of food weight I carried. The trail wasn’t terribly steep, but the higher I climbed, the rockier it became. There were several false summits on the way, but when I reached the actual summit I found it to be overgrown and mostly slab rock.
The A.T. starts following the Mahoosuc Trail down from the summit and there are a few rocky outcroppings along the way with views of the surrounding mountains. After descending a few hundred feet, I crossed a boggy area before starting the short climb up Cascade Mountain. About halfway to the top, there is a nice view looking back at Mt. Hayes.
Throughout the day, I had been leap-frogging with a couple of section hikers named Eric and Michael. They are from southern Massachusetts and are hiking the section from US 2 to Grafton Notch. Shortly after 2:00 pm, we arrived at the Trident Col Campsite where I selected a dirt tent pad to call home for the night. After looking around for a few minutes, Eric and Michael decided that there wasn’t anything special about this camping spot and they decided to move on to Page Pond in the hope of finding a scenic stealth spot there for their tent. I will catch up with them in the morning.
Left by myself to enjoy Trident Col, I experienced one of the strangest evenings I’ve had on the A.T. I kept hearing a noise that sounded like some large panting dogs running up to my tent and then disappearing into the woods. It reminded me of a sound effect you might hear on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Adventure ride at Universal Studios. I finally worked up enough courage to look outside my tent where I discovered that the sound was being made by the wings of a flock of huge birds that were flying around the mountain. I’m not really keen on bird identification, so I’ll just call them pterodactyls. I remember hoping that one of the birds did not dive bomb my tent because it would rip it to shreds. Daenerys Targaryen needs to get her children under control because going to sleep to the sound of dragons circling my tent is going to be a challenge.
Date: August 12, 2017
Starting Location: US 2, Gorham, NH
Ending Location: Trident Col Campsite
AT Miles Today: 6.9
AT Miles To Date: 1,898.4