The Maine A.T. Land Trust hosted one of our semi-monthly Maine Hikes on the Appalachian Trail this past Sunday, up Goose Eye Mountain. This peak in the Mahoosucs – the second highest in the area to Old Speck – is reached via the Wright Trail and the Appalachian Trail, and then a short spur from the A.T. to the West Peak (the highest of three peaks on the mountain). According to the excellent Mountains of Maine, the Wright Trail was named for a local writer who contributed a number of articles on the region to AMC’s journal Appalachia.
The weather looked like it would hold, but the day started with one attendee getting lost on the way to the trailhead in Ketchum, north of Newry, near Sunday River Resort. Even for Maine, the Mahoosuc Public Reserve Unit lands have confusing and/or non-existent signage which makes it difficult for hikers to find the trailhead. The trailhead itself has no sign indicating which trail it is for!
Our group hit the trail just after 10am and proceeded up the Wright Trail. Before reaching the final crossing of the beautiful Goose Eye Brook, two members of the group were stung by some kind of bee or hornet right on the trail (more on this later). At the final stream crossing, the old north branch of the Wright Trail can still be seen with faded blue blazes on the trees, but the group continued on the main branch of the trail. The northern branch of the Wright Trail has been closed for a few years.
The trail continues steeply from the brook until coming out at treeline on the mile-long ridge of Goose Eye Mountain. The group was heading for the highest peak which is furthest to the west, at approximately 3,860 feet. Along the way, we encountered three thru-hikers including Legs. The ridge traverse is spectacular (and there were some blueberries left) but we were looking forward to lunch and it was with some relief that we reached the summit at 2pm. After lunch, the group headed down and made good time all the way to the Goose Eye Brook crossing at the old junction. Shortly after, yet another member of the group was stung by a bee/hornet near the same location as the others. If you are allergic to insect stings, please be aware that there are bees/hornets on the Wright Trail between the big rock and the stream crossings.
The group reached the parking area at 5:30pm, making it a total time out of 7.5 hours. The weather actually improved along the way and everybody had a great time!
Join us next month for our NPS 100th Anniversary hike!