Sunday, June 23, 2013

Take a Hike


on the Gulf Hagas trail.  The trail system to the Gulf Hagas uses the AT as an approach and we hiked it as far as Gulf Hagas Brook which is a tributary to the Pleasant River to get to Screw Auger Falls, our destination this day.

The area is managed by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club in cooperation with Katahdin Ironworks Jo-Mary, Inc.

Our plan was to maybe camp out in our tent, so we went prepared.  However, the tent sites there did not appeal to us.  This time being our first time to explore the area, our main goal was to hike some of the trail.

We drove for about two hours to get there and the first stop was at the checkpoint


where you have to pay a fee to travel the roads (being 70 years of age, the fee was waived---otherwise it's $20.00).  Directly across the road is the HUGE Katahdin Ironworks.


The site houses the remains of a blast furnace in the above photo, and a charcoal kiln.


This picture shows you how massive the furnace is...Wallace is playing peek-a-boo.  



There were several kilns when it was originally built in 1843, and it was in operation for 25 years.  During its operation, nearly 2000 tons of iron was produced here.  There was a thriving village with a large hotel.  It is a national landmark today.

The roads are called "tote" roads, meaning they are ROUGH roads used for hauling supplies, especially into lumber camps.  They are full of potholes and rocks and we drove it 6 miles to arrive at the first parking lot for the trail.  Ah...undeveloped wilderness!!!

We crossed several wooden bridges.


And signs were helpful.


The parking lot was full.



There we are next to the red vehicle.


First line of business to take care of was to empty the bladders.  There was a separate one for the ladies and it was very nice and clean...even smelled okay.






Looking over the information at the trail head, we are now ready to start our hike.


  

We crossed the Pleasant River which was only knee deep and is 150 feet to cross, with the aid of a stick.  The rocks were slippery.


This section of the trail we found to be boring in the fact there was no wildlife (a few birds singing) and no unusual plants, but I did spy this pretty little oxalis.


And a portion of the trail went through this grove of huge white pines, some being 150 years old, and is part of the Hermitage owned by the Maine Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.


Next we had to cross a narrower stream, Gulf Hagas Brook, where the stream was moving faster, and where I took a tumble!!!  I fell on by back and my head took a whack creating a big goose egg.  Did I mention the rocks were slippery?  I take our little Kodak camera with us on trips like this, and thank goodness because it went in the stream with me.  This little camera is much like the Timex...it keeps on clicking.  No pictures of my graceful fall though as I had the camera.  But, Wallace got me after the incident.


You can see my wet backside.  Actually, the dip was quite refreshing.  Screw Auger Falls was just around the corner.


After that, we turned around and backtracked...without incident.  The hike was about three miles long and really easy.

The name Katahdin means "Greatest Mountain" and is Maine's highest peak at 5,267 feet.  It is located inside Baxter State Park, and it is the terminus for the AT.  In our blog from the summer of 2011, you can find out more about the park from that trip there.

Our future plan is to return, camp out at another nice place we found, and do the full nine miles when we know we won't be rained on...and Wallace's feet can recuperate.

You can bet we will find a great place to eat... in Millinocket and as you can see, the parking lot was full.


I had the chicken parmigiana and Wallace had the haddock.  This restaurant gets a 10.

Driving over, we did see a fox, a moose and a grouse.  When we got back to the refuge, a bear crossed the road in front of us.  A great ending to another great adventure.

I commented on Judy's blog that I would show my photo of the Lady's Slipper of the Queen...here it is.


There are about 15 flowers in this bunch, and I check on it each year we are back.  It is still there!!!

Until next time...





6 comments:

  1. Did you know ahead of time that you would have to wade through those streams? I could just see myself taking a flop like you did. :)

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    1. Yes, we knew there were stream crossings...I just did not realize how slippery they could be. We had our water shoes but that did not help!!!

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  2. Glad you weren't hurt in your tumble... also that your camera wasn't either ;-) Beautiful Lady Slipper!!!!

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  3. Glad you weren't hurt. Eastern trails are, I think, often rougher than ours in the west. That is what we found when we hiked in Vermont and New Hampshire. You found a really interesting trail this time.

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  4. Ouch!! Glad that you escaped unharmed. When we were in Maine we were surprised at the fees to get into the North Maine Woods. Since we don't meet the age requirement and are from out-of-state I think we had to pay $24 ($12 per person) just to get into the area. We looked into camping, and found out that the (out-of-state) fee for a single night was an additional $12 per person!! So $48 for a single night of camping. Geez...

    I guess that we'd rather camp in the National Forests here for free!!

    It is great to see all of those green plants and trees!

    Mark

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    1. Yeah, the fees are exorbitant for those areas!!!

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