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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at

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Posted: June 10, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: James River to Punchbowl Mtn a big grind

Written by: Carey Kish

Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Virginia. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.

May 30, 2015: US501 to Punchbowl Mountain Shelter, 10.5 miles, 9:30am to 5:30pm.

A big day that took a long time to go not very far. Hot and humid, mid-80s. Well over 3000 feet of tough climbing, up most of the day.

Broke camp at Otter Creek Campground on the BRP and jumped in Tim’s truck for a lift back to the AT at the James River footbridge. We sure had a blast last night, with a great campfire, cold beers, wine, cigars, hot dogs and a slew of veggies. Now the piper must be paid.

Got a good send off from Tim and headed out. Feeling homesick already. It will pass.

My good buddy Tim provided some pretty awesome trail magic. Carey Kish photo.

My good buddy Tim provided some pretty awesome trail magic. Siobhan Sheridan photo.

Easy going in the shady woods to Johns Hollow Shelter for a snack and a nap. Nearly all of the rest of the day was spent climbing. James River is at 680 feet, the shelter is at just over 1000, and the peak of Punchbowl Mtn is at 3500 feet.

Good grind mostly on switchbacks to first of the two peaks. High up enjoyed great views of James River, the foot and rail bridges, and the mountainous terrain above the river valley. Could even see south to Apple Orchard Mtn with its FAA tower on top.

James River from high on Punchbowl Mtn. Carey Kish photo.

James River from high on Punchbowl Mtn. Carey Kish photo.

Hot, humid, buggy. Nasty biting gnats. Got stung by a yellow jacket near the ridge. Nice long walk over the mountain on nearly level trail below the crest. Then another big grind to the peak of Punchbowl, which is signed as Bluff Mtn. Go figure.

Old concrete fire tower stanchions on top in grassy cleared area. Nice views west to what I think is Buena Vista. Short 45-minute hike to Punchbowl Shelter, set in nice woods near a farm pond and some fields. Beat, really beat.

Noodles and tuna for dinner. Revived somewhat. Lots of flies around picnic table. Writing this at 7 and ready for bed. Into BV tomorrow, 11.3 miles ahead. Peepers are peeping and the bullfrogs adding to the chorus from over at the frog pond.

Bluff Mountain vista. Carey Kish photo.

Bluff Mountain vista. Carey Kish photo.

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