Kristen and I went to Greenville last weekend to snowshoe into Little Lyford Lodge for the night. For anyone who doesn’t know, Little Lyford Lodge is a historic logging camp established in 1873 on the edge of Gulf Hagas and a 5.2 mile hike from the Appalachian Trail’s famed 100-Mile Wilderness. A few miles away from Lyford is Gorman Chairback Lodge which is another full service lodge run and maintained be the AMC. With the vast network of trails you can easily do a multi-day trip between the two.
After about a 3 hour drive on mostly back roads with an additional 11 miles on dirt roads we finally arrived. I was hoping there would be snow since there was nothing in Portland. Luckily there was, about 3 feet in fact. We parked at the AMC winter lot on the Katahdin Iron Works road and packed up our gear. Since the lodge was full service we didn’t have to carry food, sleeping pads, or cooking equipment which meant our packs were relatively light. Because of this we opted to skip the bag shuttle (that’s for wimps anyway) and carry them ourselves. We had 7 miles of trail ahead of us so we grabbed a map and took off hoping to get there before dark.
Full service felt luxurious compared to the huts I’ve stayed at in the whites. This place had a sauna, hot showers, three meals, and a commercial kitchen all of which was in the middle of nowhere. It was impressive. We stayed in the Trails End cabin which the caretaker had warmed up for us before arriving. I can’t tell you how nice it was to hangout by the wood stove. We kept that thing cranking all night.
I got up early and snowshoed across one of the ponds hoping for a sunrise. Lately it seems every time I go outdoors with a camera its gray outside. No sunlight anywhere. Breakfast was at 8:00am sharp. Everything was served family style so we ate our pancakes with 20 other people. It was great. We loaded up our packs and cleaned up the cabin. We had a 7 mile hike out so we left around 10:00 hoping to be out of the woods by 1:00. That didn’t happen. We opted to take a different less strenuous way out that seemed easy to navigate. Unfortunately the amount of times the trail split was confusing and the map (which was nice) didn’t correlate to what we were seeing. We ended up hiking further than we thought and doing an additional 3 miles. We didn’t get back to the car until 2:00. After snowshoeing 16 miles in two days we were both spent, Kristen probably a little more than I was. Next time we will stay a couple nights so we can spend more time hunkered down by the wood stove!