Due to an emergency at work I didn't leave the office until 8:30 on Friday night. I got home, packed, and left for Maine around 10:00PM, not much traffic. The drive up to Auburn was uneventful, but rainy for a time and I did see some cool lightning while passing by Portland. I got to the Econo Lodge in Auburn around 12:30 AM checked in, but still wired from work and the drive it took me a while to get to sleep. I took a somewhat leisurely morning and got on the road around 9:00, headed for the car-friendly Caribou Valley Road, which has a sign saying "Caribou Pond Road" and caused some confusion. The Outback did a fine job getting me to the trailhead, I only bottomed out twice due to bad driving choices. There were several cars there, including a Plymouth Neon, none looking the worse for wear. I headed up the AT around 11:30 with 3 liters of water and a smile on my face.
On the way to South Crocker I saw 1 hiker and her dog; blissful isolation. I paused for a snack at the summit (#65) view and listened to the birds. It occured to me that I could record their songs using the voice memo feature of my digital camera, so I'm now attempting to catalog them as I go. I think I'm now up to three birds that I can regularly identify by sound. The drop down to the col was quick and relatively painless, and I loved the climb to North Crocker. Some nice wildflowers and a soft trailbed makes for good hiking.
At the summit (#66) I dropped my pack and enjoyed the solitude. There's an odd path cut to the southwest from the summit, trees cut off around 8" off the ground, in a straight line. Anyone know what that is about? I followed it for 100' or so but it didn't seem to go anywear directly. I got out my Crazy Creek chair and commenced lounging. The VftTLLT lives! After 20 minutes of rest I took some macro photos of flowers and the insects flitting about them, then packed up and headed back.
The hike back was enjoyable, the climb back up South Crocker went much quicker than I'd expected. I saw two more hikers, with another dog, bringing my total count for the day to 5. I barely paused on South Crocker, just touched the sign as I passed, then started the descent to the road. The views back to the Bigelows and Sugarloaf were quite breathtaking. Since I was on the way home, I paused a lot. Got back to the car in 4 hours, had no trouble driving out the CVR this time. I decided to Rangley via 17 and was rewarded with some fantabulous view of Saddleback and the Horn. After an ice cream break in Rangley (Moose Tracks) and a lupine photo stop, I got to Pat and Audrey's rental on Mooselookmaguntick.
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