Maine’s Appalachian Trail
by Harvey A. Dennenberg
Of the fourteen states traversed by the Appalachian Trail (AT), Maine is considered the most difficult to hike because of its rugged, steep terrain. So, how were “GrandPa Walking” and his fellow seniors able to hike Maine’s treacherous peaks? With proper planning and resources, it is possible for seniors, even those in their seventies, to hike the AT in Maine.
In this book, GrandPa Walking shares the specific gear and creative routes he and other younger seniors used in order to day hike and limit their overnight backpacking stays. He also provides directions and GPS coordinates for little-known access points. The author has hiked the entire AT over thirteen-seasons of which Maine’s AT was hiked during part of June and July for eight of those seasons. Even those not looking to hike the AT will enjoy this account of the author’s journey through rugged Maine’s AT.
About the Author
Harvey A. Dennenberg was born and grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Marquette University in 1963, then was commissioned Ensign U.S. Navy. He spent the next nine years on active duty, earned nine campaign stars on his Vietnam Service Ribbon, and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon. Later, he earned a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before moving to Maryland. There, he worked as a Software Sales Executive for twenty-seven years.
Since childhood, Harvey has enjoyed hiking in parks and the woods. As an adult, he and his wife Madeleine, have visited National Parks in both the Continental U.S., Hawaii, Canada, and Croatia. Harvey has been a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Appalachian Mountain Club, the Mountain Club of Maryland, and Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, ALDHA for many years. In addition to hiking, Harvey enjoys traveling in his free time.
(2022, paperback, 124 pages)
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Review from Serena B Ryan, Owner Notch Hostel in NH
A unique perspective on hiking one of the Appalachian Trail's most rugged section. I run the Notch Hostel in North Woodstock, NH, and serve thousands of AT thru- and section-hikers every year, including a growing number of senior hikers. I will be referring these folks to Harvey's guide for information and trip planning advice. I had the privilege of meeting and hosting "GrandPa Walking" during a section of his journey, and I can say without a doubt that when it comes to hiking, this guy means business. He is organized, efficient, and knows how to work within his personal physical abilities to have an enjoyable, successful long distance hike. Highly recommend this book!
"Maps and trail guides are essential for safely and successfully hiking the Appalachian Trail. So is talking with those who have hiked the trail. Harvey Dennenberg’s book Maine’s Appalachian Trail provides such needed advice for anyone hoping to hike the trail in sections that are manageable for senior and not so senior hikers. The diligent preparation of how to approach the trail has allowed GrandPa Walking to reach his goal; this is reflected here in the exact hike notes including the crucial information about access locations and frank sharing of experiences. Of all the states the trail traverses, why focus on Maine as a first publication? Because “nothing is easy in Maine”. Highly recommended for anyone attempting this"
"While this book focuses on the author's experiences in Maine, which is extremely valuable for anyone preparing to hike the Appalachian Trail in that state, the book has lessons and cues for anyone, especially those of us of a certain age, who want to get out on the trail. But more about that later.
The focus of the book is hiking on the AT in Maine. The author, a 2000-miler, opines that the AT in Maine is the hardest of all of the thirteen states that the jAT passes through. Based on my limited experience I can only agree with him. There are no "easy" states, but Maine is the hardest. In order to make the journey a slight bit easier (emphasis on the "slight") the author uses the strategy of choosing the direction for the section that he is hiking, usually one day, but sometimes two or three days. By using shuttles and hiking with partners, he is able to select the direction for the section that is being hiked. A section will be as short as five miles and sometimes 20 or 30. By careful examination of the topography, and the availability of trailheads, he is able to choose the best direction for a given day or three. Sometimes that will be heading north and sometimes heading south. Section hikers have the luxury of being able to do this since they will be hiking for a week or two at a time and then coming back in a few months or maybe again in a year. This is different from a thru-hiker who is time constrained and usually hiking alone or with a small group who doesn't have cars for shuttles. Both hikers have the same goal: to hike the complete Appalachian Trail.
The book goes into great detail about exactly how the author broke his Maine AT hiking into sections or "hikes". To complete Maine took 29 hikes over a 8 season stretch. Most of the time the author was still working so had to juggle time off. Like most of us!
Lots of hints through out the book about equipment. Good reading to get ready. And preparation. Young guys and gals who are in decent condition might be able to get in "hiking shape" on the trail. That's not recommended for us older folks. Pre-conditioning including walking with a fully weighted pack for a few months before starting on a trail hike is a necessity."