Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hiking in Maine, a taste of the Appalacians

This past weekend I hiked a piece of the Appalachian trail with friends.

We started near Stratton, ME after leaving our car about 17 miles
South on the trail (at the 2000mi mark of the Appalachian trail) and
hiked up the Bigelow range, stopping at Horn Pond on the first night
and then at the Bigelow shelter on the second night.

The first day's hike was around 5.6mi and we enjoyed spectacular views
of some of the distant fall foliage in Maine. This part of the
Appalachian trail is at the bottom end of what is known as the 100
mile wilderness.

The second day was almost 11mi and I had made the mistake of taking my big 100-400mm lens, 1.4x teleconverter and my monopod along with us. Their combined weight must have been around 7lbs. The truth is that hiking for photography has to be geared around very leisurely walking and long stops at places where wildlife might be found. A regular hike is more geared towards getting from one milestone to the other and given that I was hiking with people who have knocked off all the 4000 footers in New Hampshire and one of whom had hike the Appalachian, their notion of leisurely and mine are quite different.

I found myself struggling to keep up with them for most of the time and eventually, on the second day, more or less gave up trying. So next time I'll leave the camera gear behind if the objective is hike.

We finished off with a 3mile walk, some of which was along a lake to the north of the Bigelow Range. We did two of the Maine 4000 footers in the process (West Peak and Avery Peak in the Bigelows).

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