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  1. #1
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    Default Shuttling Around Gorham, NH - and itinerary advice?

    My family and I are starting a section hike in Gorham, NH next Friday. We arrive in Gorham Thursday afternoon and my plan was to drive our car to the trail intersection at Andover Road betweekn Upton, ME and Andover, ME:
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Du...4d-122.1721988

    Does anyone know of a good method of getting a ride back from there to Gorham?

    And is it easy to hail a ride for 4 from Gorham to the bridge trailhead?

    Finally, for a 6-day excursion (5 nights) leaving from Gorham, is it reasonable to expect to get to that spot, or should we plan on stopping at Grafton Notch? We're a fairly fit family with teenaged kids, so I'm only mildly scared by the reports of how tough the Mahoosucs are, but I'd like to build in a little margin of error.

    We're looking at 6 miles a day on average, I think, given our intinerary, so I think that's fairly easily doable, but we've never been on this section of the trial, so looking for a gut check on that.

    Thanks in advance!

    The Smiths
    Last edited by dontezuma; 06-21-2019 at 15:10.

  2. #2

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    Your best bet is to go to one of the hostels in Andover, they can shuttle you back - probably. It's a long drive, about an hour, so it will be pricy.

    As for getting there, that is a very rugged section of trail. Camping options are limited to the shelter sites and a couple of tent sites. Your best bet is to simply go shelter to shelter. If the weather is nice there're a lot of above tree line areas to hang out at for a while, eat lunch and enjoy the view. If the weather is not nice, you want to get to the nearest shelter asap.

    You can potentially make the East B Hill road (leads to Andover) late on the 6th day, but you have some killer days in between.

    Grafton notch is a more practical goal, with some time to spare.

    If your comming from Florida, that's one heck of a long drive!
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  3. #3
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    Nah, we're flying in to Boston Wednesday night and driving to Gorham Thursday morning. Should I call the hostels ahead of time, or just show up and find someone at the time? Obviously, an advance plan is preferred.

    For that hike, we're planning to hit each shelter along the way until Bald Pate, which would be night 5, and then hike from there down to East B Hill Road (skipping Frye). That seems like about 7 miles, which we thought was a reasonable day, since it's 'mostly' downhill. We figured that would take about 5 hours. Reasonable? Break camp at 9, down to the car by 2...

  4. #4

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    Okay, flying to Boston makes more sense. Gorham is about a 5 hour drive depending on traffic. Andover is another hour - hour and a half.

    Definitely contact the hostels first and make arrangements. You don't need any surprises and a last minute change of plans. If you need to use a cell phone, do it near summits.

    The climb up Baldpate is a stiff one, but the east peak is even worse. Hope it's not windy or raining. Then after a knee cruncher of a decent, you have a little bump called Surplus Mountain (I guess they had an extra one) to go up and over. That's only about a 700 foot climb in less then half a mile.

    Then it's mostly down, which is no favor. Sure it's only 7 miles, but your going to be beat up from the last 5 days. I bet it takes at least 7 hours, maybe even 10 depending on how often and how long you need to break and rest. At least there won't be too many "How the heck do they expect me to climb up there? or How the heck am I suppose to get down from here?" moments after Surplus Mountain.
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  5. #5
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    That's precisely the kind of insight I needed. Thanks!

  6. #6

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    Please expand on the "bridge trailhead". The closest AT trailhead to Gorham is the AT crossing of RT 2 in Shelburne. It will be tough to get ride for 4 from Gorham, plenty of locals pick up hikers but not many have room for 4. The other AT trailhead in Shelburne is the Hogan Road trailhead on the north shore of the Androscoggin river its about 1/2mile from the bridge over the dam. Just north of the motels in gorham is the railroad trestle that is the beginning of the Mahoosuc trail which at one point was the AT. Its a quck walk north from the motels. It connects up with the AT on top of Mt Hayes. There is outlook ledge near the top of the monuntain that looks west and south.

    There is no cell coverage in Grafton Notch but reportedly there is on top of Mt Speck. The hostels in Andover do drop offs for slackpacks from Grafton Notch so they travel there on occasion.

    The shuttle from Andover is expensive as the shuttles are based in the Berlin Gorham area of the Andover area. Here is local firm in Berlin NH that has a good reputation. They list $135 for the shuttle to Andover https://www.trailangelshikerservices.com/

    Plan on bugs.

  7. #7

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    Lots of bugs and try not to slip off any of the bog bridge puncheons or you could go knee deep into the mud.
    You'll probably see snow or ice in the notch, or at least the temp will drop by about 20 degrees going through there. Wild flowers are out. Just hope the spat of bad weather is over. Rain makes this section a lot harder. Also keep in mind this section of trail is poorly maintained and very overgrown. Blazes are scarce. Pay attention to trail junction signs. I wonder if anyone has gone up there to clear blow downs? If not, there could be a lot of them. Lots of trees came down this winter.

    The Mahoosuc's are my favorite section of the trail, but man, does it kick butt. Which is why I like it so much. You have to plan where to put your feet every step of the way. I just wish it didn't get longer, steeper and harder each time I go there
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Please expand on the "bridge trailhead". The closest AT trailhead to Gorham is the AT crossing of RT 2 in Shelburne. It will be tough to get ride for 4 from Gorham, plenty of locals pick up hikers but not many have room for 4. The other AT trailhead in Shelburne is the Hogan Road trailhead on the north shore of the Androscoggin river its about 1/2mile from the bridge over the dam. Just north of the motels in gorham is the railroad trestle that is the beginning of the Mahoosuc trail which at one point was the AT. Its a quck walk north from the motels. It connects up with the AT on top of Mt Hayes. There is outlook ledge near the top of the monuntain that looks west and south.
    I'm gald you asked - I saw the railroad terstle, but assumed it was impassable. We're staying at the Mt. Madison Inn, and I'd LOVE to get across the river and pick it up there and save the 2 extra miles from Shelburne.

    There is no cell coverage in Grafton Notch but reportedly there is on top of Mt Speck. The hostels in Andover do drop offs for slackpacks from Grafton Notch so they travel there on occasion.

    The shuttle from Andover is expensive as the shuttles are based in the Berlin Gorham area of the Andover area. Here is local firm in Berlin NH that has a good reputation. They list $135 for the shuttle to Andover https://www.trailangelshikerservices.com/
    Yeah, she found trail angels, but I was wondering if there were other services that might be a little cheaper. But we knew it was going to be a cost.

    Plan on bugs.
    I thought they were gone by Father's Day? Or is it just the black flies that are gone, but the skeeters are still out? We've got deet and my wife bought what I think are full beekeeper outfits. LOL. I told her they won't be any worse than here in da swump.

  9. #9

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    It's a short walk from the Mt Madison to the RR trestle, which is used to cross the river with a foot bridge built into the lower level. You can't miss it. It's a bit confusing on how to get to the Mahoosic trail though. For one thing, the approach trail is shared with ATV and dirt bikes, so be careful not to get run over. The trail used to cross over a hydroelectirc dam, but 9/11 changed that and forced a re-route around the dam. PITA for no good reason. I haven't been up that way in a while. It could be in rough shape, it's not too popular a route anymore.

    All in all, it might be better to make your way to Shelburn.
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  10. #10

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    Sorry to say, the forecast is for rain Wens thru Sunday next week. Better hope the forecast is wrong. A lot of that trail is a car wash when the trees are wet.
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  11. #11

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    There is a walkway under the trestle in Gorham. There are cross braces on either end that require a duck under that may require you taking off you packs or go down on your knees. Once you get on the island there is a very steep gravel path that goes up to the top of the railbed. The railbed is shared with ATVs. (if you dont like ATVs you can avoid them by not going up the railroad track and following the dirt road to the fenced off power house, then taking a left and following the road along the canal until you encounter the railroad track again (its longer but far more pleasant) Follow the railbed until you cross another bridge over a canal (the dam is to you left and the power house is way down to your right. Now once you cross the bridge immediately take a right turn into the woods. It was signed as mountain bike trail last time I went. Follow the path through the woods staying straight at any trail intersections. You will quickly come out on a power line right of way. Take a right onto a dirt road which is the dead end Hogan Road (a private logging road), follow this road paralleling the river until you see a powerhouse spanning the river. The Mahoosuc trail will take a sharp left up a banking to your left. If you stay straight on Hogan road eventually it encounters the AT trailhead in Shelburne. this skips the walk along RT2 but few hikers use it. A word of caution is that the the railroad bed and the lowlands along the Androscoggin river is loaded with wood ticks. Its best to stay out of the brush.

    Some trivia about the original route of the AT. The original route ran through Gorham and went down a side street. Hikers were told to knock on the door of the house at the end of the street and the owner would row them across the river to the Hogan Road. If you decide to take the left up the slope and take the non AT part of the Mahoosuc trail, its a nice woods walk well graded (for the whites). There is a short spur trail to Mascot Pond which is a nice mountain pond with moose on occasion around dawn and dusk that was the site of leadmine in the late 1800s. The old tailing slope from the mine operation above the pond is real obvious. There are a couple of beautiful campsites at the pond but the water source is the stream back on the main trail before the spur. Following the main trail you will eventually cross an out of use gravel logging road. If you want a good view you can take a right on the road and walk past a large old log landing in about 100 feet. Look carefully to your right and you will see a rough path going up a steep slope. Head up the slope and you will top out on a large ledge with great views west and SW to the presidentials and south to the Mt Moriah. If you miss this view you will have an even wider one in a few miles. At some point after a long climb up a slope through the hardwoods you will see a sign for Popsy Spring. This a good spot to tank up on water. This is the last reliable year round water between here and Trident Col. Note most springs in the Mahoosucs are from shallow drainages, you should treat all water.

    Soon after Popsy Spring, the trail turns right and slabs up through softwoods. You will quickly come out on a broad open ledge. The sparsely blazed trail bears left skirting the ledge but most folks head out on the ledge to checkout the views. From there the trail runs back in the woods occasionally coming out on ledge where you have to be careful to stay on the trail as there is no footbed to follow. Eventually you will come out on a second more open area with views to the north and then you will intersect the AT (Centennial trail). There are no official campsites until Trident Col but some folks dry camp in the saddle between this intersection and Cascade mtn. There is usually wet area down in saddle but it can be stagnant and dried up later in the summer. It could be used for drinking water but it could be hard on a filter. From then on you will start to encounter a few hints of the very steep slopes and scrambles that will get more prevalent later on. There are wet spots between Dream Lake and Gentian Pond. Once the trail heads up Success Mountain its far drier.

    If you need to bail out along the trail realize that Gentian Pond is the last easy bail out point. The trail will run down to North Road in Shelburne where there are rural homes and its usually easy to catch a ride back to Gorham from the residents who are driving to town. Anywhere past that point things get more difficult as the side trails end up on Success Pond Road. Its a lightly used logging road and not easy to hitch. Its hard on passenger vehicles so if you need a pick up, you may pay a premium and its going to take awhile to get picked up. The Wright Trail that runs off Goose Eye ends way at the end of a old dead end logging road several miles to the nearest house. The road eventually ends up in Bethel Maine.

    Some more trivia is the Mahoosuc trail is the longest stretch of the AT North of the Smokies with zero public or active private road crossings. The 100 mile wilderness actually has more road crossings.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-22-2019 at 07:27.

  12. #12

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    Peakbagger, I'll have to print out your directions to the Mahoosuc trail so I don't get lost again next time I try to go that way!
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  13. #13

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    Unfortunately the owner of the hydro dam and the island have refused over the years to allow the trail to be officially marked and blazed from RT 16 over the island to the "official" trailhead on Hogan road. AMC tried but there was a legacy of mistrust of the AMC by some of the prior dam managers as AMC had tired to blackmail the prior owner pf the dams and succeeded in killing the proposed Pulsifier Rips project long ago. They did allow a mountain biking club to put their own trails a few years ago but expect AMC had given up. The dam owners did put some big "AMC trail" signs to route people away from the powerhouse (the old route) but did not put in any additional signs so folks miss the right turn just past the bridge over the canal. The original route went directly over the powerhouse dam. You could look down in the windows at the turbines in the powerhouse. As soon as Brookfield bought the dams, fences went up to block the trail across the powerhouse. II think it adds about a mile to the route.

    Its too bad, its nice hike up to Mt Hayes with the Mascot Pond and the ledges above it.

  14. #14

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    Thank you peakbagger for all of the great info! I am hoping you could help with a few questions:
    1) Where do we look for the White Blazes along this trail and where might finding them be particularly tricky?
    2) What is the water availability like along this section?
    3) Would you know how the bugs are like now?
    4) How are the shelters along this section?
    5) Any beacons or locators you recommend?
    6) Any other advice for us? We are experienced hikers but it's been awhile since we hiked and are coming from FL so we are feeling... well anxious about this time of year, the strenuousness of this stretch.
    Thanks again for all of the great help!!
    (BTW - I'm hiking with Dontezuma - my hubby )

  15. #15

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    1) you look for them painted on trees - and occasionally on rocks if there are no trees. If taking the AT from Shelburne, the blazes will become very sparse after the first mile or so. You will just have to trust you are on the trail. Last time I did this section (about a year ago) my buddy started to wonder if we were still on the trail. My comment was "we must be as it's not possible to go any other way. Due to poor maintenance, the trail is overgrown and very narrow in places and can be hard to tell your really on the trail. Pay attention to trail signs, the AT is not explicitly noted, it is called by it's local name, the Mahoosuc trail.

    2) There will be water in a lot of places, but pottable water can mostly only be found at shelter sites. The Gention pond water supply is the pond, and that should be treated or filtered.

    5) The Black flies are in their prime right now. You will be eaten alive. Pray your not allergic. Have plenty of Benadryl. "After Bite" or "Sting Ease" can help with the itching. Tics are out too, so treat your clothes. It looks like the weather for the upcoming week is ideal Black Fly weather. Hot and humid with afternoon showers or thunder storms.

    4) The shelters are great and most have tent platforms.

    5) Be real careful on the slippery rocks (green ledge = danger), the steep descents and rock climb scrambles. Give yourself plenty of time to go through Mahoosuc notch. It can take up to 5 hours to do that mile. 3 hours is fairly typical. There is an unofficial campsite about a 1/4 mile from the end of the notch on the north side. The rain predicted can make a lot of this hike very, very wet and dangerous.
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  16. #16

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    For recent trail conditions, you could look at Hawk's YouTube videos, here:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEs...OgXuilWtEXGQKg
    days 104 -106 would cover your itinerary.

  17. #17

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    Well if you are asking about shelters and campsites this late in the game this implies you may be in over your head. One of the 10 essentials that all hikers should carry is a map and now how to use it. Sure AT hikers now claim an ap is good enough and I will let them debate that with NH fish and game. You need a map with enough scale to show the blue blazed side trails in case you need a bail out. My guess is Gorham Hardware (which sells hiking supplies) will have the AMC North Country Mahoosuc map or since you are driving up from the south if you are on RT 16 you drive right by the AMC Pinkham Notch facility that has a store and a couple nice displays of Mt Washington. Its worth a stop and they definitely have maps. If you are coming up I93 then RT3 to RT 115 and then RT 2 to Gorham (past Slo-goem's and my house) its a 20 minute drive south on RT 16 to Pinkham Notch. If you go that way, just after the Wildcat ski area take the curve and look up and to the right up at Mt Washington (there is green historical marker on the other side of the road) and you will be able to the see the still large snowfields in Tuckerman's Ravine. Note my slightly dated AMC map stops right at Baldpate Shelter so it doesn't cover all the way to East B Hill road.

    I dayhiked the AT section from Gentian Pond to Hogan Road in the last year and I didnt find the trail hard to follow. Yes it could be blazed better but the trailbed is very beat down. On rare occasions the trail will go over mostly ledge so the trailbed is not apparent but usually there will be a small discrete pile of rocks that are visible. I did do the section from Dream Lake to Gentian this spring and there were several patches of blowdown. Obviously as a family group you need to work out reasonable rules on when to stop and wait for the group. I suggest all trail junctions, stream crossings and obvious sharp turns in the trail.

    Officially there is no camping on this section except at designated shelters and tentsites. The official sites are Trident col tentsite, Gentian Pond Shelter and tentsites, Carlo Col Shelter (a short way down Carlo Col trail. Full Goose Shelter, an unnamed tent site encountered just after Mahoosuc Notch which is mentioned as a site in most trail guides, Speck Pond Shelter, and Baldpate Shelter and finally Frye Notch lean to. Note shelters and leantos are interchangeable words for the same thing. There is a water source that needs to be treated and a privy. Once you head up Mt Success past Gentian Pond the odds of finding a good place to camp other than shelters is real tough as you are on on the ridgeline surrounded by dense Spruce fir woods. Some folks camp up on the open rock ledges but if you insist stay on the rock rather than the surrounding alpine vegetation that takes decade to recover form a footprint. You will need to haul water up and if a thunderstorm comes in overnight it (happens frequently in the summer you will wish you hadnt.)

    Note the Mahoosuc trail that isnt part of the AT is blazed in blue.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-23-2019 at 22:27.

  18. #18

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    Watch the video One Arm linked. That thru hiker Hawk got lost and wandered down a logging cut for a mile. And here's a guy who apparently has hiked through here before and as been hiking for over 100 days. The trail between from Gentian pond to Success looked a lot more grown in then I remember from last year and it was pretty thick a year ago. Some twists in the trail aren't obvous, especially when it suddenly goes up a rock enscarpement and you think "that can't possibly be the way to go", but it is.

    From the video you'll see there are a lot of exposed areas which have unbeatable views if the weather is nice and is not a good place to be when the weather is bad.

    The weather forecast has been way off lately, so lets hope you have some good days next week.
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  19. #19

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    Looks like he hit the Notch early enough in the day that the snow was firmed up which filled in a lot of holes. Most folks stay at Full Goose shelter so they hit it early in the morning. When the snow gets rotten or later in the day it can get nasty until it finally melts down to just lumps of ice down in the caves in mid to late July.

    The first days video illustrates a misconception that thruhikers have once they leave Gorham. They trail is far less distinct than it is south of there. For someone trying to go at a fast pace its easy to miss turns and rationalize they are still on the trail. This is where the group needs to stay close enough together so that one doesnt get lost and the other walk by. Also notice his comments about ticks, lot to be said for treating the clothing with Permethrin. Add on DEET on the skin and a hat for the flys and hope for a breeze. Note I didnt go through the entire video but I think he skipped the short spur trail to the summit tower on Mt Speck.

    By the way the nearest Applebees is in Oxford Maine, a bit of a drive from Grafton Notch.

    Lot to be said for ending the hike at Grafton Notch and arranging a pickup with a hostel owner in Andover and then doing the last day from RT 26 to East B hill road as a slackpack. The Baldpates have similar views to the west side of Grafton Notch but it goes in the woods for the rest of the day after you go over them.

  20. #20
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    That's all fantastic info. We will make sure we have the right maps. I do know how to read them (trained in orienteering), so that's good. I do think it will be important for us to heed the advice regarding taking it slow as being sure of the directions. Ditto about the permethrin treatment. Sounds like that's clutch. I'll be watching the video with great interest...

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