Yesterday was our first hike of the 2008 hiking season. Our hope was to get out and backpack a section of the Appalachian Trail, but the word on the street, is that there is snow most places above 3000 feet. This didn't really bode well for an AT attempt since most of the hikes we have left involve some peaks over 3000'. Either that, or they can only be reached by still impassable roads. With all that in mind, we had heard that the Baldface Circle Trail was free of snow, even though it reached the summit of North Baldface at 3610'.
After weaving our way across Maine, we started hiking at around 9:30. The black flies were aggressive. guh. I hate black flies. The first 2.5 miles of the trail were fairly mellow, and we cruised right along. We stopped for a break at the Baldface Shelter, and then began our ascent up the ledges. We had hiked this trail about a 1000 years ago, so we knew there were ledges. Somehow, we had forgot how rugged and difficult the trail really was. There is no way I would want to do this trail in the rain. I'm not sure it would be possible. Anyway, we scrambled and tussled our way up the ridge. At one point, I climbed up ahead, and D had to use my outstretched foot to pull herself up. Like I said, it was tough. That being said, the hike was beautiful, and it only got better as we went along. Once we finished the ledges, we spent the next few miles on open ridgeline above treeline over the summits of South and then North Baldface. It's a really great loop. We hit a little bit of snow on the way down from North Baldface, but it waseasily navigable. In last couple miles w ran into a number of blowdowns, a lot of debris in the trail and hobblebush that was blooming and taking over the trail. We have a few cuts and scrapes to go along with the black fly bites. The strangest moment of the day came when I stepped off the trail to pee. I spotted something red and shiny a few yards away. I found a treasure! Yeah, that's a balloon. You can't really tell, but it has a horse on it. It floated from somewhere.
All in all, a great day, and a great way to kick off the season. Here are the photos.