“Hey Tom! I think it’s supposed to be nice out tomorrow. Want to explore the Camden Hills trails a bit?”
That’s all I needed to take half a day off today and join Guthook (AT GA->ME 2007, PCT 2007) for an 8 mile roller coaster training hike where the Maine mountains meet the sea.
So at 1 PM today we met at the Route 1 parking lot and immediately headed up to the top of Mt. Battie (800’). I wore my backpack with about 8 pounds of gear in it. Guthook was hyped up about working on his latest project involving his new Garmin Etrex GPS–way pointing all the trails in Camden Hills State Park, with the hopes of transferring his knowledge to somehow develop an iPhone App. If anyone can do it, he can.
After we hit the top of Battie, we descended the Mt. Battie Road until we hooked a left onto the 0.8 mile Tableland Trail, and then slabbed the side of Mt. Megunticook on the 1.7 mile Jack Williams Trail, where we encountered Bill Gifford, storming right up to the sound track of The Cure, a most excellent choice.
Guthook and I agree that these Camden Hills are prime training grounds for getting in shape to hike big boy trails. If fact, many of the sections we walked today are virtually identical to the venerable, but rigorous, Maine Appalachian Trail. They are always rooty, mostly rocky, uneven, slippery when wet, punctuated by blow downs, and sometimes also lung-bustingly steep. Guthook’s GPS tracked us scaling up 2,200 vertical feet this afternoon, and clocked us moving at a 2.5 mph pace. We then veered back on the 1.2 mile Ridge Trail when we eventually reached the viewless top of Mt. Megunticook ( 1385’).
Then we went down, sometimes over sections of snow that were icily treacherous. We passed Ocean Lookout, then hooked into the Mt. Megunticook trail back down to the lot.
Something like 8 or 9 miles, definitely feeling beat. Back real soon, though.