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Saturday, June 4, 2022

Lets Talk About Trail Junctions - Day 186

  So, the conclusion to the missing trail story isn't very thrilling. That was just hype. I decided I was going to have to go back and do a roadwalk around this supposed piece of trail I couldn't find.

This was perhaps a sensible decision, but it was a horrible one. I did know that I had someone- Kelli from Vermont- who was going to pick me up at the end of the day. I also knew that the number of miles I would need to hike in the big pack was high.

I put on the sandals and waded through that long puddle yet again. Let's also talk about that little stretch of road/trail between where I camped and the flooded section. I walked this at least 4 times, perhaps 6. I walked it the first time I went through the puddle. I went back to the puddle once with the full pack on loooking for the trail junction to Blue Hill Trail. That's 3 times. I did it the fourth time this morning. I'm not positive, but I think I walked to the puddle and back to my campsite once more after I had the big pack off. But I guarantee you that I walked this- maybe a quarter mile- at least 4 times.

Now it's the morning of June 4, and I am starting this big road walk, but wait. Walking back the other way there is a small sign WAY high on a tree at the top of the hill just past the flooded area. It says "TRAIL" with some faded words under it that I could not read. trail sign on tree

I followed it. It went down the hill, and wandered around, and came back to the road/trail on the other side of the flooded area. It was not the Blue Hill Trail. Then I walked back to the sign. In the big pack of course... I was hopeful it was the missing trail. A hiker need to know that bypass trail is there when coming from the other direction, not this way. When I was able later to blow up a picture of that sign, it says "TRAIL AROUND FLOODING." I have no idea why the sign was on that side of the tree.

I had to walk 7.5 miles that didn't count on the road, all the way around to the Blue Hill Trailhead on Route 74 where I would have come out if I'd been able to find the trail junction. blue hill trailhead

I looked in the register book and there were pages and pages of people who had signed in who were hiking to Crane Pond. Clearly, that trail went through. Should I have walked farther toward Crane Pond to find the other end? I was surely kicking myself for not exploring that option. Since I had heard the paddlers the night before, I knew Crane Pond wasn't far away.

One thing I forgot to put in yesterday's post is that there were 6 full pages in the register at the trailhead for Alder Pond Meadow Trail, and not a single person had written that they were hiking to the Blue Hill Trail. That's another reason I was having doubts about it's connection. Everyone was going to Crane Pond, and beyond that to the south, to Pharoah Mountain. register box

Now, I was at the northern end of that "missing" trail, so the rest of the road walk for this day counted.

I had a nice talk with a guy on Stony Lonesome Road who had also visited with Denali last year. His wife had made a little trail sign! trail enthusiast

Stony Lonesome road fit both of those descriptors. Eventually, it came out on a paved road, and I made it past Ironville, a place I'll need to go back to some day when the museum is open. This is where it was discovered that you could pull the iron out of melted ore with a magnet. That was a huge step of technology in the process of making iron.

Kelli picked me up in another mile. I walked a total of 19 miles, 11.5 of which count toward the NCT total (plus the flood bypass trail twice). But, that's not what I'm reporting below. The link to "Out of Sequence" covers the miles on the elusive Blue Hill Trail.

Here's the kick in the pants. When I got to the end of the Blue Hill Trail, here's what I found. As I was coming down the last hill, I could see the trail/road ahead. It was a curve I recognized. I could NOT believe it! Even more incredible is that there was a perfectly good trail junction sign. trail junction

In my defense, I will say that this was definitely not visible when walking east. That lets me off the hook for 2 or 3 times walking past it, but not for the 2-3 times I walked past it going west. I even remember looking into that opening. But it did not look like a trail to me. Those low hemlock branches completely closed in the pathway, and I discounted it. The post with the signboards is shorter than most. trail junction

I suppose I can beg off for not seeing it in the evening because I was already very tired, and I was annoyed with having to wade that flooded area. I have no excuse for the next morning except perhaps that I was no longer looking, at that point. And I was still annoyed at having to wade.

The mileage reported is the combined 2.7 miles (I tracked it in my app) of the Blue Hill Trail, and the 11.5 road miles that count.

Miles today and on June 10 that count: 14.2. Total miles so far: 2372.5. Miles that don't count: 7.5 plus maybe another 0.3 or 0.4.

See Jones Hill and Beyond
See Out of Sequence

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