ME AT - Cloud Pond lean-to to North Pond tote road - 9/6/03


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  1. #1

    ME AT - Cloud Pond lean-to to North Pond tote road - 9/6/03

    Date of Hike: Saturday, September 6, 2003.

    Route: Appalachian Trail - Cloud Pond Lean-to to North Pond tote road.

    Pictures: link to Gallery - Maine Appalachian Trail - Album III - (Katahdin Ironworks Road to Cloud Pond Lean-to) - Pictures 92-119

    Total Distance: 16.0 miles.

    Difficulty: This was the second day of a two-day backpack. It was a very long day (longest mileage of the trip) with many short ups and downs. Total elevation gain for the hike was 3340 feet.

    Conditions: excellent

    Weather: Sunny, upper 70s.

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg (leader), Dean Gletsos & Chris Connolly (parted company at winter logging road crossing at 8.1 miles into hike).

    Hike Statistics:
    0.0 2409 7:05 AM Cloud Pond Lean-to
    0.9 2670 7:40-8:00 Barren Mt. - fire tower
    2.7 1980 8:40-8:55 Barren Ledges - spur trail to left
    2.9 1920 9:00-9:10 Barren Slide - spur trail to left
    4.0 860 9:45-9:50 Long Pond Stream lean-to - on right
    4.1 780 9:55-10:00 Slugundy Gorge - on right
    4.9 630 10:30-11:10 Long Pond Stream
    5.4 640 11:25-11:30 Vaughn Stream & falls
    --- 940 11:50-11:55 rest stop
    7.5 1300 12:50-1:00 ledges
    8.1 1200 1:10-1:35 winter lumber road crossing (where Chris left us)
    8.7 1020 1:55-2:10 Wilson Valley lean-to
    9.1 940 2:20 Canadian Pacific RR crossing
    9.4 550 2:35-2:55 ford Big Wilson Stream
    10.0 650 3:05-3:10 bear right off of Big Wilson tote road
    ---- 1080 3:40-3:45 rest stop
    11.4 1220 4:00-4:05 high point along slate ridge - view
    12.0 990 4:20-4:25 cross beaver dam
    12.5 960 4:45-5:00 Little Wilson Falls
    13.9 1090 5:45-6:00 Mud Pond
    14.9 1140 6:25-6:30 North Pond tote road
    16.0 880 6:50 PM End of hike

    Hike Report: Alex was two shelters and 8 miles ahead of us and hiked to ME 15 and hitched a ride into Monson. Stelios & Maria: left the JoMary Lake Campground and did a day hike into the Gulf Hagas. This time the woman at the KI lumber road gate did not charge and honored the JoMary Lake CG pass - very inconsistent. After their hike they drove my car and theirs which was parked at the Gulf Hagas Parking area around to Monson.

    My day started, to find a mouse scampering up my arm when I pulled my pack off the hanging nail in the lean-to. I was fortunate that upon inspection there were no holes in my pack, but he did eat a hole into a Yoo Hoo drink I had and obviously it leaked all over. We woke up to glorious blue skies and sunshine and admired the beauty of Cloud Pond. But we knew we had a long day and wanted to get going. The first climb up Barren was easy and gradual with the trail in great shape and well maintained. Most of the ascent was done late yesterday. The views from the rickety fire tower ladder were spectacular of lakes, mountains and swamp 360 degrees around. On the descent we started passing numerous northbound thru hikers that got early morning rides with Shaws to Bodfish Intervale and thus were beginning their traverse of the Barren-Chairback range with their 1800 foot ascent of Barren. After viewing the Slugundy Gorge which Long Pond Stream flows thru I made the biggest blunder of the trip. According to the map, parallel to the AT on the other side of Long Pond Stream is a tote road. The road, stream and AT all run parallel to each other for 1/2 mile and so any place that looked good to cross I recommended taking advantage of since this was supposed to be a ford that required the removal of boots. Dean found a place to cross pretty soon. I found a place a bit further down that I called to Chris to follow me. I slipped and and my leg fell into the stream, but the worst part was I banged my knee into a rock. I have been in pain with this since and it swelled and I took some advil to reduce the pain, but I was determined to keep going. Chris also fell into the stream but didn't get too wet. But to top it off the tote road was up a significant distance on the other side. I sort of angled to it but Dean did not know what Chris & I were up to and we were separated when we came upon the AT crossing of the tote road. After a bit of examining upstream of the AT crossing, I finally came upon Dean, who could not imagine where we went. I figured he would go downstream till he intersected the AT, but instead he floundered wondering where we went. I would say we wasted about 30 minutes in this episode. (ironically the AT crossing of the stream would have been easy not requiring removal of our boots - should have asked a northbounder what the ford was like).

    Onward, the temperature was rising and it was getting very warm, especially since the hike was now at mostly low elevations, mostly in the woods without breezes. I still felt we could complete the hike but definitely not in time for the 5:30 PM dinner at Shaw's. Chris started fading and his pace slowed. He needed an energy break and I waited for them at the 8.1 winter logging road crossing. Here, I showed Chris & Dean the map and said if you choose to, this is a good exit point. It would be good downhill and road walking vs. several ups totaling approximately another 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Distance would be about the same. Chris decided to part company at this location. (This is where I would recommend breaking off and completing the two day backpack.) On his own, where Elliottsville Road crossed Big Wilson Stream, Chris took a nice refreshing swim (dip). He then leisurely continued to his car and drove to Monson.

    Dean and I continued on passing several nice spots for breaks and pictures, but at a leisurely and steady pace, making it out to our cars before dark, but certainly not in time for dinner. The fording of Big Wilson Stream required the removal of boots, but was shallow, refreshing and no problem. The slate ridge was the only open viewpoint during this stretch and was picturesque. The AT crossed a beaver dam which was a bit interesting especially for its length. The gorge and the trail approaching Little Wilson Falls was cool and went thru a pleasant wooded glade en route. The Falls themselves was flowing very nicely with abundant water, making this a nice stop. Dean made a refill here. All these places I would like to have spent more time at if I had an extra day and would break the trip up the way I recommended. Anyway, I finished with painful knee and drove to Monson. It was tough climbing the stairs at Shaw's Boarding House to our bunk room as in the late evening I was limping around in considerable pain. Dean, must have been tired and hot as he finished his water supply and he never drinks much and usually has plenty of water to spare. The combined two day backpack was grueling, long and much tougher than I imagined on initial inspection of the map and guide. I was very pleased that I accomplished it, especially since I have not backpacked in 30 years. It was quite an experience.

    Driving statistics:
    0 6:56 PM - End of hike
    5 7:06 PM - Shaw's Boarding House in Monson

    If there was a time I was so glad that Stelios & Maria were on the trip it was then. With my knee swollen, I was so glad I did not have to drive 130 miles round trip back to Gulf Hagas Parking Area to retrieve my car.

    Shaw's Boarding House:

    The order of our arrival to Shaw's was Alex, Chris, then Stelios & Maria who all made it in time for the scheduled dinner. Lastly, Dean & I arrived. Alex was glad to get his car back. It was nice for all of us to rendeszvous for our last night together on the trip.

    I also contacted Shaws Tourist House in Monson, Maine for the last night reservations. This hostel has been given high reviews by AT thru hikers as a must-stay for your trail experience. The hosts are genuinely friendly and accommodating. Since we made reservations in advance, they even heated our dinner up for Dean & I even though we did not sit down to eat till close to 8 PM. For accommodations on Saturday evening 9/5 for one night, the rates here are $18 for a bunk in the bunkroom (sleeps 6), much smaller thus quieter than Whitehouse Landing. Free showers are included as well as clean linens. A private room with double bed was supposed to be $35 with shared bath on floor, but they charged Chris & Stelios $27.50 each. They serve an all you can eat dinner (family style) at 5:30-6:30 PM for $12 per person and an all you can eat breakfast for $6 from 6-8 AM. The food was good and filling. Going hungry here is an impossibility. Alex, Dean & I reserved bunks in the bunkroom, as we were the only occupants in the bunkroom. However, all the private rooms were occupied.

  2. #2
    Askus, thanks for posting the reports. I enjoyed them.

    If I understand you right, Shaws charged 20 dollars more than expected for the private room? Did you complain? If so, how did they respond? It's funny, I had always heard only good things about Shaws until this year. While I was on the NH AT, I heard a couple complaints about Shaws charging more than advertised for private rooms. One southbounder told me that he was told that the adverts were obsolete, but then discovered that the Shaws were still the "obsolete" cards.

  3. #3


    We were quite satisfied with Shaw's. We were expecting to pay $35 for a private room and got away at $27.50. A private room should be more than a bunk. The bunk was $18 and Chris by himself paid $27.50 for a private room. Stelios & Maria paid $27.50 for a private room and if they were in the bunk room they would have paid $36, so they came out ahead and got privacy to boot. I think the confusion is that I wrote "but they charged Chris & Stelios $27.50 each", but that was for separate rooms. Hope that clears up any confusion. Stelios was with Maria.

    Shaw's also heated up the dinners for Dean & I without making us go out when we arrived after 7 PM. I have no complaints about our stay there. Next year, I am strongly considering staying the first three nights of my Monson to Flagstaff Lake Trip at their place, but we shall see. Just for variety, I might check out Pie Lady.

    Also, I am glad you enjoyed my entries and look for the accompanying pictures in a week or so. Hope you found the reports informative for any future planning that you might do for a traverse of this region.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the clarification. You're right I was thinking 2 X 27.50 for a private room, not for two rooms. So maybe the story I heard was more of a fluke misunderstanding. I'd heard good things about Shaws if I hiked the 100 mile wilderness again (I'm already fantasizing about next summer's main backpacking trio: Cohos? 100 mile wilderness + Katahdin?, Long Trail? Vt AT?).

    I have stayed at the Pie Ladies. She was fine, but a little unpredictable. I have heard rumors she was getting out of the business.

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