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
Many folks have run or hiked other trails and just love reading about the
Other readers enjoy a fun adventure, with a bit of humor and suspense thrown
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!
PRETTIEST LAKES AND PONDS
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
5. Benedict Pond, Massachusetts - jungle-like Trail along the lake with many
ferns and bog bridges. See
6. The ponds at Roaring Branch, Vermont - lovely marsh ponds where I
sat to enjoy the view below on Day
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
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
9. Flagstaff Lake, Bigelow Range, Maine - another very large lake in
the Bigelow Range. It looks especially inviting from Avery Peak. See photos from
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
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
2. Great Falls, Falls Village, CT - scenic bisected falls (below) on the Housatonic River. See
Days 100 and
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
4. Zealand Falls, New Hampshire - popular falls near the Zealand Hut
in the White Mountains. See
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.
BEST SWAMPS AND BOGS
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
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.