September 15, 2016.
With everything all dried out from yesterday's soaking rain it's time to start beating up the Mahoosucs (or the Mahoosucs beating me up). This is my first trip up Success Pond Road located in Berlin just past the old landfill. The first mile is the most chewed up and I think that is due to the four wheelers sharing that portion of the road. After that they are not allowed on the gravel road so the traveling is a bit more "smoother", well at least not as slow. It's a long drive in to the trailhead at 8 miles and being the first time on it seems longer. There are a lot of side roads along the way which get a mental check for future explorations. Soon enough I am at the beginning of Carlo Col Trail which is just off the road with a small parking spot in the brush.
It's ten minutes before ten o'clock as I start up the trail which was once a logging road or probably still is. I'm excited about finally making a dent on the Mahoosucs as it carries the AT over the backbone of the range. It's a bright and beautiful day as I make my way up and get the first glimpse of Goose Eye from the road.
The turn off on my left for Goose Eye Trail is not far up and drops down into the woods. Across a fairly low water brook then through some recently cut woods where the new growth is encroaching on the trail. Another brook crossing that is also fairly dry and then the trail pops out onto another graveled logging road. It doesn't last long as the trail heads back into the woods. Through some pretty easy walking where the trees have not been stripped and then I come across some rocks on the trail that looked like someone purposely put there.
They might have something to do with the state line between Maine and NH as I look up and ahead of me are diamonds on a tree signifying it. There are a couple of trees in this spot with the markers and it is a small milestone for me personally to see this.
Continuing the mellow walk and finally the trail begins the ascent up to Goose Eye. It is a continuous climb but nothing thigh burning steep.
Eventually the birches are left behind as I get higher up and are replaced with the all too familiar spruces. Soon the steepness increases where a couple scrambles await bringing me to a spot where I get the first views for the day.
From this vantage point I can see across the valley to where I was two days ago, Cabot with The Bulge and Horn. To the left of that are Weeks and the Terraces where I was getting drenched just yesterday.
Success Pond is clearly visible from up here and I am surprised that there are camps lining the shore. A confirmation with Google Earth and it is indeed developed. I kind of thought that it might be a quiet secluded lake due to it's location. Looking north and I can see Magalloway all the way in Pittsburg where I hiked three days ago.
Just ahead is the summit and only takes a few minutes to climb reaching the top of Goose Eye a few minutes after noon. In the background is Goose Eye East where I'll make a short detour before heading south along the AT. Looking south and the Mahoosuc Trail is visible heading across the plateau leading to Mt Carlo.
The views are abundant as I hunker down out of the wind so I can take it all in and have a food and water break. Fifteen minutes later and as much as I hate to leave this spot it is time to move along. Goose Eye Trail leads down to Mahoosuc Trail which is also the AT. It only takes a couple minutes to reach and my next destination is still visible at the junction. Dropping down into a sag as I head north I pass by another trail I haven't done yet, Wright Trail. Through the col and then back up as I make my way to Goose Eye East.
On top of Goose Eye East and a look back at Goose Eye with the Presi's way in the background. Behind me the trail heading north to Old Speck and the Baldplates to the right.
Back to the junction and the trip south continues. Just beyond is a wooden ladder leading down a steep section of trail. A steep rock scramble after that and then the iron rung section to get down a shear section of trail.
In the distance I can hear some voices of the first people of the day. Soon enough I cross paths with some north bounders as we stop and chat for a couple of minutes. Into some scrubby trees before breaking out onto the open plateau and this is the perfect way to hike. Nothing like being on an open ridge with the surrounding views and pretty much complete solitude. It's a combination of slabby granite,bog bridges and dirt as I make my way across while turning back to see how far I have gotten so far.
It's like heaven up here. No crowds, no noise but the wind and a bright sunny day. Back into the woods and then back out again. Popping out into a small opening and it looks like Carlo is right there but it would turn out to be a false bump. At another opening and this time it is Carlo still a bit away.
Breaking out of the trees once again and there is the small bump ahead of Mt Carlo. I pause at the summit geo marker to sit down for another break to keep the energy level up as I still have a lot miles to go. Behind I can still see the two Goose Eye's and ahead is Mt Success with Mt Washington and Adams right behind. I'll be hiking to a col just below Success before heading back later this afternoon.
Moving along and I make the short trip down to Carlo Col where my exit trail is located on my right as I pass by it. The trail drops down even more into a mini ravine and then...
...I am surprised at what I see. It is a jumble of broken off boulders that the trail leads up through. A very small and short version of Mahoosuc Notch if you will. The clambering begins as I carefully pull myself up placing each step so I don't slip down into the many openings and holes that lay beneath me.
I have never read anything about this section of the Mahoosucs nor does it show up on the elevation maps. I was more shocked than nervous as it caught me off guard but then again these are the Mahoosucs. Some more clambering and I make it to the top with a small sigh of relief until I remind myself I have to come back this way to get out...oops!
At the top of this climb there are views over to Nash Stream Forest up in Stark with the almost twin Percy's easily recognizable. Back into the trees for good and fifteen minutes down the trail I reach a milestone for the thru hikers that I had forgotten I would see today.
The infamous Mahoosuc Trail with its varied terrain continues as I make my way south. Another ladder, another ravine but this time a slabby exit out of it. These aren't actual ravines but a low point, not on any map, along the ridge where the glaciers must have carved out a groove. A short distance away and one more a bit like the one back at Carlo Col.
Some more woods walking and then one last little scramble as I reach the junction for Success Trail which is my turnaround spot. It's just before 4:00 when I start retracing my steps back to Carlo Col. The ups and downs of the Mahoosucs can be tiresome but for some reason I don't let them get to me today. It takes about an hour to get back to the col and from there it is a left hand turn down the Carlo Col Trail for the trip back down to Success Pond Road. A short distance down is a side spur for the shelter where some thru hikers are setting up for the night.
The beginning is a bit rough but overall the trail down is in pretty good shape. Someone has spent quite a bit of time on this trail maintaining it with log cribbing and stepping.
Time moves by fairly quickly as I make my out which is unusual as it seems to drag on exits. I reach one of the many logging roads in this area but this one is also part of the trail. Back at the spot where I got my first look at Goose Eye in the morning I get another this time with the setting sun.
A fantastic day hiking in two states and another section of the AT done. Not sure what that means other than I have very little left of the NH portion left to do. Now where to go tomorrow?
Final numbers: 11.9 miles, 8 hours and 35 minutes.
Redline Miles: 9.6, Total to Date: 1195.9