The Maine Appalachian Trail is a tough, tough place to hike. There are lots of mountains and mud and rocks and roots, but the weather is just so unpredictable and nasty!
I got a taste of that (again) when I backpacked from Stratton to Rangely for 4 nights and 3 days, last week. This is a very tough section of the trail with a lot of above treeline exposure and steep climbs up North and South Crocker, Spaulding Mountain, The Horn and Saddleback Mountains.
I’d hoped to go even farther than Rangeley on this hike and finish all of the remaining 79 miles of the AT I have in Maine, but I got off the trail after 32 miles due to violent thunderstorms, hail, high winds, rain, and a possible tornado. Being a section hiker, I had a hard deadline (my wife’s birthday) to finish this hike by and there was no way I was going to make it with a 2 day bad weather delay. That’s basically what it boiled down too.
Rangeley turned out to be a good town – basically the only town – to get off the trail and get a ride back to my car down in Grafton Notch, something that only happened because of a little trail magic.