August 10, 2014.
A special day and some new territory. Peaches and Cream, the couple I gave their trail name to on Clingmans Dome, have crossed the border into NH. They hiked north until Harpers Ferry and then flipped and starting hiking south from Katahdin. I have not seen them since my gall bladder attack in Hot Springs. So the plan is to meet them up on the Mahoosuc Trail just north of Gorham and show them a little trail magic.
The usual summer early rise and just before the Hooksett tollbooth I pulled over for the morning full moon.
Reaching Gorham and a short ride further north then over the Androscoggin River by the dam and a left onto Hogan Road to the trailhead. At the very small lot I am the only one there until I just start out on the trail at 7:15 and another car pulls in.
The trail has a mild beginning to it and then starts to climb steadily for the remainder until reaching Mt Hayes eastern ledges.
Along the way I run into the first of many red squirrels that act like they are the guardians of the trail. They chatter a lot as I pass and are in the trees right next to the trail.
Stopping about a half hour after starting to delayer at a grown in viewpoint and the peaks of the Moriah and Carter range are visible.
I wait a little bit on this spot for the other guy that pulled in at the trail head to pass me as I am in no hurry today since Peaches and Cream are only about twelve miles away from the trail head at Gentian Pond. Remembering they are late starters I could have slept in a little bit later but I do like the peacefulness at this time of day. Just up the trail and I pass the guy who stopped to take a break and right after there is a clearer view down unto the valley so I go out onto the ledge. A look at the Androscoggin River and the railroad track that separates the river and Reflection Pond. Looking southeast are Peabody, Gammon and Caribou Mts. located in Maine and another area I have not been to yet.
Back on the trail and another encounter with a red squirrel.
Catching back up to the same guy and I decide rather than keep leap-frogging each other I strike up a conversation with him and we hike together to the east summit of Mt Hayes. It's almost like being back on the AT, actually the Centennial Trail is the AT, hooking up with another hiker and having some good conversation along the way. It also helps to shorten the time as soon we reach the east summit.
It's a nice fairly open ledge and not having been in this area before I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at. Eventually I figure it out as the familiar towers of Mt Washington become clearer.
Beside Washington are Madison and Adams.
It is here where I part ways with the other hiker as he has reached his objective for the day. I continue up the trail and reach the junction with the Mahoosuc Trail and there is another hiker there taking a break. I pass by and head over towards Mt Hayes and stop at the ledges for the views.
How many weeks are in a picture? Three Weeks of course! Also a look at Cabot.
Back to the trail and it is easy walking to the summit of Hayes. It is just hard trying to figure out which ledge outcropping it is and after a few of them I am satisfied I have found it. Returning to the junction and the other hiker is leaving heading down the Centennial Trail. I ask him if he has seen two other hikers coming from the north and he says two just went by. I ask if it was a guy and a girl and another yes. Crap I missed them I think to myself and then ask if they where a young couple in their late twenties or early thirties and finally get a no. Great they have not passed so off I go on the Mahoosuc Trail in search of Peaches and Cream.
Down in the col between Hayes and Cascade and I start running into AT hikers. A few of them stop and I ask about Peaches and Cream and evidently I am a little famous on the trail as they ask if I am the one who had to get off the trail for the gall bladder. They confirm that they were still in camp when they left so I definitely have not missed them yet. Up the crumbling slabby ledges to a viewpoint on a shoulder of Cascade looking back at Mt Hayes. Also there is a clear shot of Washington, Madison and Adams behind the small Pine Mt.
Up further and the trail keeps hitting bumps making it a challenge to determine the high spot for Cascade Mt. Right at the hairpin turn and I have reached the summit. I stop to relax and eat and figure I'll wait here for them to arrive. I relax and after a little bit figure I might as well make use of the time I have and keep on going to get some more trail miles. The trail descends and soon reaches a recently devastated birch grove area. Most of the tops have been broken off which usually means an ice storm came through here.
Another encounter with a squirrel before heading up to the next high spot on the trail.
At the next ledge I meet up with another thru hiker and after asking about Peaches and Cream decide to wait for them here. His name is Spicy Chili, so named by Peaches, and he has hiked with them off and on through Maine. We have a good conversation as we wait and I offer to give him a ride into Gorham if he wishes. A view to the Moriahs from the ledges while I wait.
An hour or so goes by and finally Peaches and Cream pop up from the trail, a welcome sight for someone who misses the trail and the comradery that goes with it. We gather up our stuff and off we go back down the way I came. Along the way the rain starts to come in and it is off and on but nothing too heavy, more of a sprinkle. Making good time we get back to the trail head just before the skies open up. All four of us head into down and stop at Mr Pizza for some food and great conversation catching up on things. A trip over to WalMart so they can all resupply and then a drop off at the Hiker Paradise. A late goodbye and it is time for me to head home. While going thru the town of Carroll I notice a few people pulled off to the side of the road and they are looking up at the sky. UFO? Naw, forgot it is the super moon tonight. So I present to you to the last shots of the day, the same as I started the day.
Final numbers: 12.4 miles, 8 hours and 55 minutes.
Redline Miles: 6.2, Total to Date: 539.9