Here's another Hamlin Garland quote about a hundred lovely lakes. I still
don't know which trail he's talking about (most likely not the Appalachian
Trail, from what I've read about him), but his comments about the sights and
sounds he enjoyed on his trail are very apropos for the AT.
I regret that I saw few sunsets and sunrises from the AT because I was either
at our camper then or in transit between the camper and Trail. That's a
disadvantage of being crewed.
Backpackers who spend their nights on the Trail have the opportunity from
numerous vantage points from Georgia to Maine to observe the sun rise and set
over beautiful mountains, valleys, and lakes. Many of the shelters and tent
sites are located on ridges or mountainsides with gorgeous views.
This is why you've seen so few sunrise/sunset photos in this journal.
best dawn and dusk photos we took are below and near the end of this essay, taken from a
campsite in the Hundred-Mile Wilderness with a marvelous view across Jo-Mary
Lake. The Trail passes by on the other side of the lake. So it's the same lake,
just a different perspective than what I saw while running.
During my trek I decided that Mainers are masters of understatement.
They deliberately do the opposite of
exaggerate when they name their bodies of water. They minimize
Is this reverse one-upmanship, or what?
Creeks and rivers, regardless of
width and depth, are called "streams." That's OK, according to my dictionary.
What amused me is calling some large lakes . . . ponds. (The very
biggest are "lakes," though.)
I grew up in Ohio, where a pond is a little, bitty lake, often
man-made, to water livestock on farms or to decorate a landscape. I always thought ponds were a couple acres, max, and
anything bigger was a lake. I've traveled in every state in the Lower
Forty-Eight, and this is the first time I've seen such huge "ponds."
Even New Hampshire's "ponds" aren't this huge.
Whatever you want to call them, Maine's ponds and lakes are simply
outstanding along the Appalachian Trail. It was such a pleasure to run and hike
right next to them, or to see them from high vantage points.
I've shown many of these photos in the journal before, but not in one spot.
Eight or nine pictures will be new to you. As in the previous essay, I'll give the name of the lake, its
location, and/or the day I was there so you can see the trailheads I used.
I hope you enjoy the picture show and develop a strong urge to go see these
"ponds" for yourself.
HERE WE GO . . .
Speck Pond near sunset, on the south side of Old Speck Mountain,
my first day in Maine (Day
Surplus Pond, located in a sag between East B Hill Road and Wyman
Day 130, taken from the Trail where it
crosses the outlet to Burroughs Brook:
Close-up of dock and old camp building across Surplus Pond:
Lake Mooselookmeguntic (Abenaki/Native American name for "portage to
moose feeding place") as seen from Highway 17 on
(And you can see the photo of the real, live moose that Jim took the
next morning about a hundred yards away.)
The thirteen-mile section between Highways 17 and 4 on
132 was chock full of "ponds" right next to the Trail: Moxie,
:Long, Sabbath Day, Little Swift River, and South Ponds, with nice views of a
second "Long Pond" off in the distance (several miles from the first one and
not even connected by the same stream). I passed a third "Long Pond" on Day
Here's an interesting fact I didn't know until I wrote this essay: on
the AT maps nearly every pond has a number to identify it. So the first "Long Pond" on whose
shore I trod is Pond #2330 (I told you there is a lot of water in Maine!). The
one I could see from higher ground is #1729. And the third one is #1112.
I wonder how may other "Long Ponds" there are in Maine??
I believe this is Moxie Pond (which means "dark water"):
That's the little Moxie Pond near Highway 17. Would you believe there was also a much larger Moxie Pond on Day 140 in the
Hundred-Mile Wilderness?? Oddly, neither Moxie Pond has a number on my maps.
Apparently Maine has so many lakes, not only do they have to number them, they
also have to repeat
the names. Or maybe they lack creativity.
Or they were named long ago and folks in different parts of the state didn't
know they were repeating the names (the most likely reason).
The practice of repeating names of landmarks reminds me of all the "Brush" and
"Brushy" mountains in Virginia, and the groupings of town names in Vermont that
are variations on a theme.
As far as I know, there is only one Little Swift River Pond,
and this is it. The canoe is provided for hikers to use while staying at the
campsites nearby - a nice touch!
There is also a photo of a unique table with benches beside one of the ponds
the same day that I showed in
Photos 12 - another nice amenity
next day in the Saddleback Range I
passed two small lakes named "Ethel" and "Eddy." I wonder who they
were named for?
This is Ethel Pond with the low morning sun shining on
the water (and in my camera lens):
In this view from Saddleback Mountain, you can see Eddy Pond in
the foreground below and either the Sandy River Ponds or Long Pond in the
Small pond below rocky traverse of Crocker Mountain on
The Horns Pond, Bigelow Mountain Range,
The Horns Pond from higher up Bigelow Mountain on South Horn Peak:
The views of large Flagstaff Lake were just gorgeous
that day from Avery Peak:
West Carry Pond just north of Roundtop Mountain on
137 (another photo at top of this page):
There is a photo of East Carry Pond , a few miles up the Trail, in
Remember I mentioned there was a second Moxie Pond? This is the south
end of this eight-mile-long "pond" (AKA "lake" in any other state) at its outlet
to Baker Stream. Tater is enjoying a swim near the trail head where I
stopped in the afternoon on
Lake Hebron near Monson,
Jim took this photo of the fall colors reflected in East Chairback Pond
north of Chairback Mountain on
And now here are two views of the third Long Pond you can view
from the AT in Maine. This is Pond #1112 and it lies between the Barren-Chairback
Range and Gulf Hagas. This view is from Barren Mountain:
This view of Long Pond is from Third Mountain:
Mountain View Pond south of Little Boardman Mountain
in the afternoon mist on
Crawford Pond on a clear morning (Day
We camped on the shore of beautiful Lower Jo-Mary Lake for three
nights and had great views of Mt. Katahdin across the lake.
Here are several
photos Jim and I took right outside our camper on
Days 145 and
146 at various times of day. There is also
another sunset picture near the top of this page.
This is a photo of Lower Jo-Mary Lake early in the morning on
146 as I walked on the AT at the other end of the lake:
Cody got to run with me that day. This photo shows him enjoying Sand Beach
on Jo-Mary Lake a few miles later:
Jo-Mary was an Abenaki chief renowned for his hunting and swimming abilities, so
it's appropriate that a large lake is named for him.
Nahmakanta Lake ("lake of the largest fish") south of Nesuntabunt Mountain
("three summits"), also on
There is another photo of Nahmakanta Lake at the top of the journal entry on
146, with Mt. Katahdin in the background.
One of the best views of the massive Mt. Katahdin ("greatest mountain")
that I saw was over this little unnamed and unnumbered pond a little north of Abol Bridge on
Day 148, my final day on the Trail:
From that point, it is about ten miles to Katahdin Stream Campground and the
beginning of the five-mile Hunt Trail, the official route up the mountain to the
northern terminus of the AT.
The views from the top of Mt. Katahdin on a clear day are simply
awe-inspiring, even if you haven't just completed the entire Appalachian Trail.
The day I summitted saw the largest crowd of 2005, per the rangers. Although
perhaps twenty were AT thru-hikers, most weren't. It's a very popular place on a
nice summer or fall day. See the entry on
148 for the full story, with other information about the mountain
This view from the summit of Mt. Katahdin shows some of the numerous
lakes in the valley below. You can see them in every direction, shining like
mirrors in the sun:
I hope this preview of Maine's many ponds and lakes inspires you to hike there
some day. This is only a fraction of the bodies of water near the Appalachian
Trail in Maine.
If you're luckier than me, you might even see a big 'ole moose feeding near
shore in one of them!
Next up: creeks along the Trail from Georgia to Maine