As the sun rises over Mt. Chase and Shin Pond Village, I am reminded of the particular advantages to older hikers of the IAT. My walk began on the international boundary and, had I walked three more miles to Mars Hill, I could have stayed at the Bear Pond Inn, just across Rt. 1 from Al’s Diner on my first night. We stayed there often in 1995 and 1996 when we were working on the trail over Mars Hill Mountain.
The Bear Paw Inn used to be the Midtown Motel, one of many “cheap motels” that Dick Anderson knew about after decades of working in Maine. At every opportunity, Walter Anderson chides Dick about his choice of words. “It’s inexpensive, Dick, not cheap.” Every once in awhile, however, during one trail-related journey or another, we’ve landed in a cheap place, and we’ve let Dick know that the distinction is — in fact — occasionally apt.
Heading south of Mars Hill, there is a nice B&B in Bridgewater, if memory serves. Ten or so miles south of the Monticello Trestle lean-to, the Stardust Motel has placed a sign on the multi-use railroad bed just outside Houlton; you can walk right to the back door on a convenient side trail. The Blue Moose Restaurant is not too far back up Rt. 1, and the owners allow IAT hikers to camp behind the building, with evening and morning access to the bathrooms.
To read more of Don’s blog about his hike on the Maine IAT visit Wandering the IAT Trail Blog.