I'd been reading about Gulf Hagas for some time and billed as one of the premier hikes of Maine and called the " Grand Canyon of the East". The weather forecast was for clear skies and the morning did bring bright sunny skies. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but the pictures I'd seen of the trail looked gorgeous.
The drive to the checkpoint took almost two hours..ugh. There was only about 20 miles of paved road out of the 50 or so miles to the check point. At the check point we paid our $10.00 each..(.yikes) to get through the gate. This ought to be good. The attendant at the gate gave us a few suggestions on which way to do the loop trail. Part of the trail along the rim is very strenuous; rocky; full of tree roots; and steep. The other part along the ridge was to be easy.
Gulf Hagas is basically a 2/1/2 mile water formed canyon. The loop is approximately eight miles and is a side route off the 100 Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail. The only access to the trail (unless you are already on the AT) is through a section of the North Maine Woods, Inc property. Thus the $10.00 access fee to cross over the North Maine Woods, Inc property ...about 4 miles to the trail head.
The rim portion of the Gulf Hagas trail is approximate 3 miles of steep, slippery, root filled, boggy trail that bumps you out on to view points of wild cascades and waterfalls. I've tried to pick out the best pictures and keep the photos to a minimum. We have been so fortunate to see so many beautiful falls falls recently, that sometimes the "wow" factor wasn't there on this hike where as I'm sure for someone else the "wow" factor would be double.
Oops is Joel stuck? Yep, it was pretty easy to get down to the ledge but just a little more effort needed to get back up.
It was really hard to get a full picture of the gorge from any of the vistas.
These blueberries were delicious and everywhere.
Example of the awful boggy, rocky, rooty, steep trail. Not the easiest trail, or should I even call it a trail. Sneakers and flip flops won't work here. The Maine Appalachian Trail Cub maintains the trail, and I think they could use some help. With all of the wet, boggy terrain and trees it almost feels like the movie set for The Hobbit. Joel sort blends in. He is on the left in the picture.
It was a really long day and we didn't get back to Greenville until dark. We were all bushed so we hit the nearest cafe for a quick dinner and then the 45 minute drive back to camp. Needless to say, I really enjoyed a hot shower and was in bed within an hour of getting back to camp.