Maine Appalachian Trail Day Hike 16: The Mountain Goat Man

Okay, so I understand that my credibility may not be the best it could be right now after the whole bear hoax, but today we truly saw something you don’t see every day. While going over one of the mountains in the Barren Chairback Range we crossed paths with a man who was hiking with two pack goats. The man had a small pack on his back while the goats had rather large packs slung over theirs.

The catch: I didn’t get a photo. I know, I know…I’ve been taking and posting loads of photos of Brad and I making stupid faces in front of altitude signs, which, if you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all — I get it. And then something of genuine interest comes along and I get shutter shy. What can I say? I was in a state of shock and awe. I promise that I’ll take a photo of the next mountain man with pack goats that comes along.

The ironic part is that the man advised one of the other hikers we’ve been yo-yoing with on the trail about not camping in a certain area because it is illegal. Apparently he missed the part about pack animals being prohibited.

Today we hiked a little over 15 miles covering the Barren Chairback Range. To be completely honest, we under estimated this range. The highest peak is only 2670 feet, but there are so many elevation gains and losses over the five peaks that it is roughly equivalent to a 4000 foot mountain. The terrain was an interesting mix of wooded forest, alpine bog, and rocky ridge lines. Emphasis on rocks, there were a lot of them, including a particularly challenging boulder field as we came off Chairback Mountain.

(Side note to Philly Mike and Jeff: Apparently those SoBos had done some tough stuff after all. Think of it as Little Bigelow on a 15-mile scale. Assuming you guys plan to do the whole range in one day, make sure you pack extra snacks for this leg. We couldn’t get enough to eat today, and you’ll likely need the calories too. And make sure you get your electrolytes. Lots of electrolytes. Whatever an electrolyte is.)

Also worth noting that we had some great Trail Magic today, which is when a friend of the trail leaves goodies trailside for hikers. Thank you to the Pine family, whoever you may be, for the sodas and whoopee pies. They were awesome.

So now we’re into the 70-mile wilderness with roughly 200 miles logged so far. Tomorrow we have Gulf Hagas and White Cap on tap. Once we get over White Cap, it is mostly smooth hiking until Katahdin. At least that’s the way it looks on the map, even though everything always looks easier on the map.

The view from the Barren Ledges.

I believe this is the Pitcher Plant. There are hundreds of hairs inside the plant to trap insects in the water that pools within the pitcher. The plant also secretes enzymes to help it digest the insects (yes, I’m getting all this from the guide book). So, to recap, no mountain goats, but I do have carnivorous plants.

As Garage Man told me, “If you can’t take the up and down, might as well stay in town.”

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