Maine also had several days with bright blue skies and fluffy cloud patterns
that rivaled the drama of the White Mountains in New Hampshire (Photos
23). In this essay I'll feature scenes from six beautiful
in Maine along the Appalachian Trail.
Included are some of the very few sunrise and sunset photos we took on the
adventure run. Most days we were either at a campground or in transit at dawn and dusk,
not on the Trail, so I missed a lot of opportunities for great photos at those
times. That's one advantage backpackers have: they can camp along lakes
and on ridges that afford marvelous views of colorful clouds during sunrises and
I'll take you south to north again, starting pretty close to the New
Hampshire-Maine state line and ending at Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park.
THE MAGICAL MAHOOSUCS
I encountered the Mahoosuc Mountain Range - and the infamous Mahoosuc
Notch - my first day in Maine. It was one of my three longest days on the entire
Trail, ending an hour or two after dark. I didn't have time to take as many
pictures as I would have liked. I was focused on RFM (relentless forward
The sky and clouds were the most
dramatic around noon, when I ran and hiked over Mt. Carlo and the various
peaks of Goose Eye Mountain, as shown in the three photos below from
Some of the most dramatic white-cloud action during my trek was on
133 in the Saddleback Mountain Range between Maine Hwy. 4 and Oberton
There are four peaks, including Saddleback Mountain, The Horn, Saddleback
Junior, and Poplar Ridge. Although none of the summits is higher than 4,120 feet
in elevation, enough of the Trail is above tree line to be really interesting.
When I started this run there weren't very many clouds in the sky. As I climbed
about 2,500 feet up the first mountain I became aware of low clouds
approaching from the southwest, over the lakes I'd just passed:
Now watch what happens on top the ridges as the clouds dance among the
The clouds almost enveloped me on top of The Horn . . .
. . . but blew on by as I made my way down The Horn
and up to the next peak,
Saddleback Junior, shown in the photo below and at the top of this page:
THE BARREN-CHAIRBACK RANGE
There were no more "puffy white cloud days" again until Day
143. I have some dramatic valley
and storm clouds to show you in another essay from the intervening days, however.
Even though there were expansive vistas from the other mountains
in the Barren-Chairback Mountain Range, Third Mountain was the only place
Day 143 where I saw
We lucked out with four clear-weather days as we approached Mt. Katahdin, the end of our long journey. Interesting clouds gave us some nice
shots for our memory albums.
Jim and I were so mesmerized by the sight of Mt. Katahdin that
we took numerous photos of it from two camp
sites where we stayed the last few nights. Both had outstanding views of the
mountain. We also enjoyed watching the sky change from early morning to evening at
these vantage sites.
The first campground was at the south end of Upper Jo-Mary
Lake. When Jim parked the camper there on
144 it was overcast and we couldn't see the far side of the lake. It
was cloudy when we woke up on
145 but as the clouds blew over, they revealed this distant view of Katahdin:
We had no idea we'd be able to see Katahdin from there and we were thrilled to be
after so long a journey!
Jim and I both took several photos of
the mountain, lake, and clouds that day and the next. We're not sure whose photos
Day 147 was our last red-letter day on the
Trail for great blue sky/white clouds photos. And what a day it was! The morning
was foggy so I wasn't expecting the awesome views I got in the afternoon as I
approached our last campsite at Abol Bridge.
My first view of Mt. Katahdin that day was from Rainbow
Ledges. It was partially obscured by the tall pines and white clouds,
but still a thrill to see the mountain that close:
As with the campground on Jo-Mary Lake, we initially saw the campground
at Abol Bridge in overcast weather
on a rest day (Day 142) when we drove up there to check it out.
We had no idea until
Jim moved the camper there while I was running on
147 what a fantastic location it was.
Jim discovered that we were virtually in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin before I arrived
off the Trail and he knew I'd be excited.
Indeed I was! I came out of the woods, ran a bit on the
highway over the Penobscot River, and beheld this gorgeous sight from the
Katahdin!!! I was excited to be so close that I could see some of
the trails going up the mountain! The campground is on the right, and
I spotted our white camper right away (unfortunately, the green sea plane isn't ours).
Do clouds come any prettier than those??
Jim and I took a bunch of photos that afternoon. There we were,
camped right next to the wide Penobscot River, with views not only of Katahdin
to the right but also gorgeous reflections of the trees and clouds in the water
only a few feet away:
As the sun began to set, we interrupted our chores to take more
photos as the clouds and mountain began to turn various shades of pink:
Although we don't remember exactly which of us took which sunset photo above, I do
know Jim took this great silhouette of a man fishing in the river at dusk, about
feet from our camper:
It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
The weather was also clear the next day when we summitted Mt. Katahdin and our
journey drew to a close. I took very few photos on the way up because my camera
battery was low (what a day to forget to change the batteries!). The one cloud
photo I took isn't that great. We mostly used Jim's camera on top when he
arrived, but by then the clouds had dissipated.
Hence, no dramatic clouds the last day, just infinite blue sky. That's OK. It
was so clear that Jim joked about seeing Springer Mountain in Georgia, the
beginning of our adventure run four months earlier!
Next up: storm drama in the sky.