Hiking and Bicycling Greeneville & Greene County Tennessee
New England Trip
Seven members of the Greeneville Hiking Club recently August 6 through 17, 2003, in New England hiking and touring the countryside. The group flew into Boston’s Logan Airport and spent Saturday touring downtown Boston.
They took an elevator to the top of the Prudential Building for a panoramic view of the city then went by train to Boston Commons for a Freedom Walking Tour of the historical district which included the Capitol Building, graveyards, churches and monuments to the founding fathers of America and heroes of the Revolution.
The next two hours were spent on a Duck Tour, which is a modernized Army vehicle which took the participants both on the downtown streets and into the waters of Boston Harbor and the St. Charles River. Upon leaving Boston, they drove to St. Johnsbury, Vermont for the night.
On Sunday, they drove 65 miles into New Hampshire to Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center, which is at the base of Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern U.S, at an elevation of 6,288 feet above sea level, and is located in the Presidential Range at the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. The mountain is a world-class peak in terms of its weather which can be life-threatening to the unprepared hiker.
The Tuckerman Ravine Trail was chosen for their ascent of Mt. Washington and the four-mile, one-way climb took nearly five hours due to the steepness and very rocky footing. Notorious for its frequent bad weather conditions, Mt. Washington’s climate can rival that of Antarctica. Twenty-eight persons have died in Tuckerman Ravine alone and the mountain has been the site of over a hundred and thirty fatalities through the years. It was here where the world’s highest wind speed was ever recorded: 231 M.P.H..
After their hike, the group drove across the state of Maine to Acadia National Park where they stayed for three nights at the seaside resort town of Bar Harbor.
On Monday, the morning was spent driving around Acadia National Park, which is the second most visited national park after the Great Smoky Mountains. The park road runs along the beautiful, rocky seacoast with exposed granite topped mountains just inland from the sea. These barren peaks gave the island where the park is located its name, Mount Desert Island. The afternoon was spent biking the carriage trails built in Acadia by John Rockefeller and in the evening, the group sea kayaked around the islands off Bar Harbor. The evening was capped off by a gorgeous sunset.
The next day, the group got up at 4:30 a.m. to view the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard and the first spot in the United States to see the sun each day.
They then took the Cat Ferry to Nova Scotia and toured Yarmouth and the surrounding seacoast. The Cat is the fastest car ferry in North America and can carry up to 900 passengers and 240 cars across the Gulf of Maine.
The tour began with a drive through John’s Cove which is the heart of Yarmouth’s lobster fishing industry. Then they made a stop at Cape Forchu Lighthouse where they had a picnic lunch, and visited the lighthouse museum. Traveling along the coastal route, they followed the Chebogue River and its extensive salt water meadows and visited an early English cemetery. After a short stop at a lobster fishing boat factory, the tour continued to the Acadian community of Wedgeport, with a visit the Sport Tuna Fishing Museum. There they had an authentic Acadian meal, featuring rapure’ or “rappie pie,” a traditional dish made of chicken and grated potatoes.
On Wednesday, they headed north into Central Maine and hiked Gulf Hagas, which has been deemed the “Grand Canyon of the East” and offers hikers some fabulous views into a 200 foot gorge and ending in Buttermilk Falls. After the hike, they drove on to the Big Moose Inn just outside of Baxter State Park.
On Thursday, the group arose at 4:00 a.m. and made their way to Roaring Brook, one of the trailheads for Mt. Katahdin, arguably the single most outstanding peak in all the Appalachians. Katahdin is a magic word to Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who walk over 2,200 miles to reach it. For their climb to the summit and descent, the group hiked eleven miles on the Chimney Pond and Saddle Trails, a nearly 4000 foot vertical climb over boulders and loose rocks known as “scree!” The summit, Baxter Peak, was very windy and almost totally fogged in. Because of the steep climb and rocky footing, the total hike took over twelve hours.
Mt. Katahdin consists of several peaks and ridges, surrounded on almost three sides by a ring of lower summits. This concentrated group of mountains stands alone in the otherwise flat Maine north woods, and the southern face rises from the Penobscot River to the highest summit in the entire state.
On Friday, they drove along the Maine seacoast and enjoyed a lunch of lobster and other seafood in the seaport town of Belfast. Later, a stopover at the L.L. Bean Original Factory Store in Freeport was made.
On Saturday, the group took a trolley and boat tour of Portland, Maine’s largest city which has a very impressive seaport and visited the Portland Headlight, the nation’s most photographed lighthouse. They then returned to Boston for the flight back to Knoxville.