Day 106: Whitefield to Newry ME - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2021

Day 106: Whitefield to Newry ME

Presidential Rail Trail

“This is the section Jen said not to miss,” Patrick says as we are at the wildlife viewing area overlooking Cherry Pond. And this was an excellent suggestion. 

We sleep well on the back porch. After we pack-up we have some coffee with Jen and Micah, and then continue our trip. We have to make our way around the regional airport and find the trailhead to the Presidential Trail. For some reason this trail is not properly shown on Googlemaps, but it turns out to be one of the best rail-to-trails we have done so far. After a few miles we reach Cherry Pond. To our north are forest covered mountains; to our east are some of the peaks of the White Mountains, including Mount Washington. This peak is recognizable by the observation station on its peak. We were told the most severe measured sustained winds occurred up there. 

We follow a wide valley, sometimes through marshes, then along corn fields. Jen told us which sections of the trail are the best and we make sure to catch all of those. Other sections are pretty rough and when there is a good road alternative right next to the trail we take it. For example, after crossing Owls Head Hwy, we go left a short distance to Valley Road from route 115 until that one swerves north to connect with US2. At Jefferson Notch road, we get back on the trail until the Castle Trailhead. There we get on US2 which has a very nice shoulder and goes downhill. We coast for a couple of miles. To avoid a big hill into Gorham we leave US2 at Dolly Copp Rd and pick the trail back up. This section is beautiful. It follows a pretty stream through dense hardwood forests. The trail takes us all the way to Gorham. 

Our plan is to get a second breakfast, even though it is getting late. First try is Dunkin Donuts, but their dining room is closed. How do you know which donut you want without seeing the choices? We are not interested in ordering at the drive-through and sitting on the curb. So we backtrack to McDonalds. They stopped serving breakfast…… What the heck! Next try is a coffee-shop / bookstore. Good coffee, breakfast sandwich and a cookie to get us down the road.

We need to go a couple more miles down US2 before we can pick-up a secondary road at Rattle River. This section is no fun, as the shoulder is narrow and traffic heavy. We turn onto North Road that is beautiful though not as flat as we’d like it to be. There is very little traffic and runs through nice forests. There are a lot of homes tucked into the trees. The disadvantage of such a quiet road is that there is no sign when we leave New Hampshire and enter Maine.

We have picked-up a Subway sandwich in Gorham and planned to eat it along the way, but we push on to Bethel and stop first at a gas station for cold drinks. Our host for tonight lives about 7 miles out of town. We know that she only offers a spot to camp and a shower, but beggars cannot be choosers. We pitch our tent behind Ann’s house and after a shower crawl in to get away from the pesky gnats. With our late lunch we dine on some cheese, salami and peanut butter crackers.

 

Leaving Micah and Jen's house around the airport
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Onto the Presidential Rail Trail
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Wildlife Refuge viewing area
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Patrick taking the picture
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The picture
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Old telegraph pole
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Valley Road parallels the trail
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The bridge in the background is the trail
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Back onto the trail
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Off the trail onto US 2
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At the bottom of that hill we turned right on Dolly Copp road to a trailhead to get back onto the trail
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Joanna HanselmannThat looks like a good idea!
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1 month ago
Rachel and Patrick HugensTo Joanna HanselmannThanks Joanna, we thought so too...nothing better than looking a hill that you don't have to climb.
Racpat
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1 month ago
Dolly Copp Road
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The trail in one direction
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The trail in the other direction
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Gorham
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Gorham
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Gorham
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Joanna HanselmannFall colors have begun!
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1 month ago
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Somewhere here we crossed into Maine
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Somewhere here we crossed into Maine
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Bill ShaneyfeltBeautiful garter snake!

https://birdwatchinghq.com/garter-snakes-in-maine/
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1 month ago
Joanna HanselmannWow! Impressive photo!
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1 month ago
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Bethel Bikepath
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Camping in Ann's backyard garden
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Ann, warmshowers host in Newry
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Today's ride: 55 miles (89 km)
Total: 4,165 miles (6,703 km)

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