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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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      POST #4: FAVORITE PLACES, PART 2         
"What a great feat you have accomplished with Jim's great support . . . I've enjoyed the website, journal and many pictures as have many of my friends whom I've told of your adventure.  We have all lived vicariously through you."
- journal reader and ultra running friend

Top part of Little Wilson Falls in Maine. 9-17-05.

It brings me great pleasure to receive letters like this from folks who have enjoyed sharing the journey with Jim and me.

For some readers, it brings back happy memories of times they spent on the AT themselves.

Many folks have run or hiked other trails and just love reading about the subject.

Other readers enjoy a fun adventure, with a bit of humor and suspense thrown in.

We've received letters from a wide variety of people: both men and women (more men, to my surprise), teens to retirees (the teens were also a surprise, since I'm a retiree), hikers and runners, non-athletic folks, people from all over the world - what a mix! We're glad the journal has appealed to such a wide cross-section of folks and hope it inspires you to get out and enjoy the beautiful trails this world has to offer.

This is a continuation of my favorite places along the AT. We hope you enjoy them, too!


It's hard to list lakes in order of preference because they were all so beautiful. You'll notice that all the ones here were formed by glaciers.

1. Sunfish Pond, New Jersey - just inside NJ, about four miles north of Delaware Water Gap. It is the first glacial pond encountered on the AT going northbound. Maybe that's why I liked it so much. I was there on a beautiful day and didn't even mind the rocky trail right along the water. The rock cairns at the far end of the lake were a fun touch, especially since some were out in the water. You definitely need to follow the blazes, not the cairns! That's Sunfish below; see Day 89 for another photo.

2. Speck Pond, Mahoosuc Range, Maine - see Day 127 for a photo of this lovely lake at sunset. It lies between Mahoosuc Arm and Old Speck mountains in the Mahoosuc Range. It was a long day and we couldn't hang around to enjoy the lake as much as I would have liked. Jim and I ended up finishing in the dark that night.

3. Carter Lakes, White Mountains, New Hampshire - two lakes joined by a little stream near the Carter Notch Hut. Although the ponds were flooding the Trail on Day 124 when I passed through the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Mountain Range, the water was clear and I could walk through it safely. This is one of lakes looking back on the Wildcats:

4. Upper Goose Pond, Massachusetts - crescent-shaped pond that is popular with thru-hikers because of the enclosed cabin with a caretaker and fresh blueberry pancakes in the morning! Great place to relax along the Trail. See Day 103.

5. Benedict Pond, Massachusetts - jungle-like Trail along the lake with many ferns and bog bridges. See Day 102.

6. The ponds at Roaring Branch, Vermont - lovely marsh ponds where I sat to enjoy the view below on Day 105.

7. Stratton Pond, Vermont - another popular thru-hiker lake. The AT follows it for only a quarter mile, but there is another trail that encircles it. See Day 107.

8. Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Maine - large lake with a terrific view where the AT crosses Hwy. 17 and north from there on the Trail. Lots of moose in this area! See Days 131 and 132.

9. Flagstaff Lake, Bigelow Range, Maine - another very large lake in the Bigelow Range. It looks especially inviting from Avery Peak. See photos from Day 135.

10. Moxie Pond, Maine - very long, slender lake the AT follows a few hundred feet on dirt Moxie Pond Road. The Trail goes over some tricky rocks at the outlet. If you're driving to the trail head you'll follow the lake about eight miles. There are summer homes along the lake that add to its ambiance. See Day 138.


1. Little Wilson Falls, Hundred-Mile Wilderness, Maine - yes, this is the same Little Wilson Falls that scared the bejeebies out of me on Day 141 because I knew I had to cross the river 200 yards below it when it was seriously flooded! But I have to admit it was mesmerizing and gorgeous in its fury as it crashed about sixty feet through high slate walls in the canyon. I think it would be awesome even at its normal rate of volume and flow. See photos at top and on Day 141.

2. Great Falls, Falls Village, CT - scenic bisected falls (below) on the Housatonic River. See Days 100 and 101.

3. Three miles along Pierce Pond Stream just south of the Kennebec River near Caratunk, Maine - lively creek with numerous waterfalls and cascades along its length. See photo on Day 137.

4. Zealand Falls, New Hampshire - popular falls near the Zealand Hut in the White Mountains. See Day 119.

5. Laurel Falls and Laurel Fork Gorge, TN - beautiful rock wall canyon and wide falls shown on Day 28. A blue-blazed high-water trail stays high on the mountain. The much more interesting white-blazed trail goes down (and back up) steep rock steps and follows right at the edge of the creek. In one place you have to carefully squeeze around a protruding rock so you don't fall in!

6. Laurel Creek Gorge between Damascus, VA and Mt. Rogers National Recreational Area - rugged creek you can hear below the Trail better than you can see it. Day 31.


1. Pochuck Swamp, Vernon Valley, NJ - by far the best bog walks and bridges along the entire AT. It cost a fortune and took years to build the Trail across this wide swamp, but the results are worth it. Numerous flowers but not much water when I crossed the "swamp" in late July. I'd love to see it in the spring when it is wet. See Day 92 for another photo.

2. Fourth Mountain Bog, Hundred-Mile Wilderness, Maine - signs warn hikers to stay on the bog boards through this small wetland that is home to numerous insectivorous plants like the Pitcher Plant and Sundew that trap and eat insects. Cool! Unfortunately, I didn't see any activity going on. See Day 143 for photo.

3. Arnold Swamp southwest of the Kennebec River, Maine - located between the Carry Ponds, this swamp was named after Benedict Arnold and his ill-fated 1775 trek to Canada. Colorful fall leaves made the swamp prettier. See Day 137 for a photo and 138 for the history lesson.

4. Numerous sub-alpine bogs all over southern and northern New England - some are above tree line, most are not. The marshy high-altitude peat bogs in New Hampshire and Maine were the most interesting to me. I included several photos in my journal entries from Connecticut to Maine. Beware rotted boards, wet boards, and ones that teeter from front to back or side to side! This photo is on Mt. Franklin in the White Mountains in NH:

Next up: best places to view wildflowers, nicest camping areas we found, most interesting rocks, and best places for scenic beauty.

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil