backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful views, especially on the first day hike out of the gorge. You get lots of beautiful highlands after that. Aside from the very beginning and end, the elevations are fairly mild.

I can't overstate how wet it was. The entire landscape is boggy and absorbs the frequent rain like a sponge. You will constantly be in ankle-deep water. As such, lots of bugs. It also get quite cold (like 4°C in August at night).

Navigation is the real challenge. As they tell you, don't rely on foot paths to show you the trail, you'll need to be on your GPS pretty frequently. Note that there are multiple routes: I had the official route, the one from here, and another on my garmin. They're all somewhat different (a fact I didn't appreciate at first, to my own detriment).

The official trial is the black-track in AllTrails. It tends to go over hills, whereas the AllTrails route goes around those hills, making for a longer, flatter, and wetter trail.

I would STRONGLY suggest following the official trail on the route between Harding's Pond and Green Island Pond. We started with the AllTrails route then turned back and did the official one for this section. The two routes split right as you leave Harding's Pond, with the official trail taking you more northward into the hills. You'll get much nicer views on the official trail; the AllTrails route will be flatter, but will take you through difficult tuckamore and over a cliff right before Green Island Pond that's quite dangerous if its wet.

I would also follow the official trail on the last day's descent. The trails are a bit confusing here. I didn't see the AllTrails descent, but given the cliff it took me down the previous day, I wasn't gonna trust it.

In any event, this was a challenging hike. Not so much physically, but more because of the wetness and navigation issues. It's well worth it, though. Gorgeous.