Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 2, 2003.

Route: Appalachian Trail - JoMary Road to West Branch Ponds Road.

Pictures: link to Gallery - Maine Appalachian Trail - Album III - (JoMary Road to West Branch Ponds Road) - Pictures 1-31

Total Distance: 13.8 miles.

Difficulty: This hike works us to a higher elevation as we leave the large lake country behind. Still no really steep stretches other than Little Boardman Mountain (750 feet in 1.4 miles). Total elevation gain for the hike was 2330 feet.

Conditions: excellent

Weather: Sunny, 70.

Participants: Aaron Schoenberg (leader), Dean Gletsos, Alex Lantino & Chris Connolly.

Drive statistics:
0 6:55 AM JoMary Lake Campground
16 7:37-7:42 AT crossing of West Branch Ponds Road (left Alex's car there)
31 8:18-8:34 JoMary Lake Campground (picked up Dean, Chris & Stelios)
38 8:50 AM AT crossing of JoMary Road (Stelios dropped us off and drove my car back to CG)

After hike: The 16 mile drive from the AT crossing of West Branch Pond Road with Alex driving took us from 4:07-4:40 PM.

Due to there being no documentation of the drive to the AT crossing of West Branch Ponds Road, I document this trip in greater detail below. In the Maine AT Guide on map #2- it says "Cross a gravel fork of West Branch Ponds Road. The JoMary gate provides access from the east." In planning this trip, I wanted to get to this location with a passenger car without getting lost. After numerous inquiries, I finally talked to Darryl at the JoMary lumber road gate. He put me at ease, when a month prior to the trip, with phone in hand and Delorme Maine atlas in lap, I went over the detailed directions. The drive went without hitch. This is one of the major reasons why my presence on this trip was a welcomed relief. Let it be noted that the lumber trucks could be scary coming at you where the dirt road is one lane width.

0.0 leave JoMary Lake campsite
0.4 make right on exiting campground on to JoMary Road
0.8 major junction with Johnston Pond Road - go straight up hill. Later we took right fork which is JoMary Road - 7 miles to AT & beginning of hike.
3.5 left turn at snowplow - towards B Pond
4.2 JoMary Pond Camp on left
4.8 junction on left to Gauntlet Pond, bear right
7.2 make left turn on West Branch Ponds Road - turn unmarked
8.4 junction on left, bear right (straight) - road narrows
9.5 junction on left, continue straight
11.1 junction on left, continue straight
15.2 AT crossing - not obvious and easy to miss -
continue past a curve to the left .3 mile to place to park on right and turn around

I saw a moose in the AM drive to the AT crossing in the last four mile stretch.

Hike Statistics:
0.0 600 8:55 AM JoMary Road - start of hike
0.7 670 9:10 Church Pond - seen to left thru trees
3.7 890 10:15-10:30 Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to - on left
6.0 1216 11:15-11:40 Crawford Pond
6.9 1260 12:00-12:05 Kokadjo Road
8.3 2017 12:40-1:05 Little Boardman Mt.
9.9 1630 1:45-2:00 Mountain View Pond
10.9 1540 2:30 view south of Whitecap Range
11.5 1250 2:50 cross East Branch of Pleasant River
11.8 1280 3:00-3:15 East Branch lean-to- on right
13.8 1630 4:05 PM West Branch Ponds Road - end of hike

Hike Report:

This was a dayhike between two lumber roads in the Hundred Mile Wilderness. Remember it is a misnomer to say this is a wilderness as there are lumber roads criss crossing this area which in my planning I utilized. It is called Wilderness because this is the longest stretch of the AT between two paved roads (100 miles). We passed 20 other hikers including 12 thru hikers going northbound.

To start out the day, Alex & Aaron set up the car shuttle, giving the others a little extra sleeping time. We first drove to the end of our hike, which proved that the dirt lumber roads are a slow go but manageable with a regular passenger car. At this point, I want to thank and give special mention to Stelios & Maria. They wanted to see the highlights of the Hundred Mile Wilderness which I promised them. But they became significant support members of our party. Every afternoon they would return my car back to the campground and save us the travel back and forth each evening to retrieve this vehicle and this was alot of mileage and time saved by several weary hikers after some long tough hikes. On this day, Maria realized she left her purse at the restaurant in Millinocket the previous evening. So Stelios got up and drove us to the JoMary Road AT Trail crossing and let us off to do our daily hike. Maria retrieved her purse. I suggested they check out Gauntlet Falls which they said was very pretty and had several nice viewing ledges. They also explored the lake from our campground via canoe.

Our hike was long but relatively easy. I found the Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to to be in a very nice setting, with the falls making it a very nice place to consider camping at. The falls in front of the shelter jumps into a beautiful swimming hole, deep and inviting on a warm summer day. We stopped at a nice spot along the shore of Crawford Pond for a relaxing break. However, if I would have known, I would have gone further on to the spur trail at the sign that said "beach" and stopped there. We did not go down that spur trail. Although the summit of Little Boardman did not have any view, there was a clearing through the trees that had a nice outlook on the descent. The East Branch River ford turned out to be an easy crossing over the rocks. This was a comfortable distance for a dayhike and with the car shuttle was a pleasant day enjoyed by all. We came back to camp, took showers, cooked dinner and enjoyed a campfire and had ample energy to explore the lakeside a bit. We all found using JoMary Campground as a base for these three nights was a very nice alternative to backpacking this stretch of the AT.