The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust’s latest community hike was a good one: a partnership outing on the Arnold Trail with both the Arnold Expedition Historical Society and the Maine Historical Society. In the fall of 1775, Colonel Benedict Arnold led a detachment of 1,100 American soldiers through the Maine and Canadian wilderness in what was intended to be a coordinated, secret attack on the British army fortified in Quebec City. The overland route would follow a Native American trade route along the Kennebec and Chaudiere Rivers, using the Great Carrying Place Portage Trail through the Carry Ponds. About 600 soldiers made it through the wilderness, encountering horrendous storms, flooding, disease and starvation before reaching the St. Lawrence River across from Quebec City.
The area between the Carry Ponds, between Flagstaff Lake and the Kennebec River, is home to both the Appalachian Trail and the Great Carrying Place Portage Trail. Both string the ponds together like a necklace and both use the original route of the Arnold expedition as a footpath in places.
We headed out at 10am, planning to reach the area between East Carry Pond and Middle Carry Pond. It was a beautiful day with temperatures of about fifty degrees at the start and warming up throughout the day. Most of the group participants were members of the Maine Historical Society but there were a few A.T. attendees. Norm Kalloch, AEHS board member and a resident of West Carry Pond, has been gracious enough to lead a hike for us annually, providing great insight into a landscape that in some ways has changed, but in many remains as it was in the time of the American Revolution. Norm’s knowledge of the area and the history is amazing and he truly makes this hike the great event it is.
The group made it to the AEHS cabin on Middle Carry Pond by lunchtime, and after a quick stop at the hospital site, headed back to the cars. It was a great day out in the field to see all that the Maine Appalachian Trail region can offer – not just the A.T., but history, partnership and dedication to Maine!