Appalachian Trail Cheat

Hanover, NH to Rockland, ME

Appalachian Trail Cheat
Be honest with yourself: You're not taking the summer off to hike the Appalachian Trail. The next best thing? Drive it. Start in Han­over, New Hampshire, where the AT begins to trace the White Mountains, drive to Lincoln, and follow the 37-mile Kancamagus Highway through scenery that's more Rockies than New England. In Jackson, avoid the line of cars ascending Mount Washington. Instead, take a real climbing lesson with North Face–sponsored guide Mark Synnott, who leads multi-pitch climbs up 700-foot Cathedral Ledge ( Crash at the Wildcat Inn and Tavern (doubles, $80;, unless it's Tuesday—open-mike night—in which case you'll want to stay in nearby North Conway. July is prime feeding time in Maine, and blueberry stands are ubiquitous as you make the 80-mile drive up the coast on Route 1 along Penobscot Bay. Stop in Rockland for the Maine Lobster Festival (, in late July. Once you've overdosed on crustacean, head five minutes south to the 183-year-old Owls Head Lighthouse. From the tower, look out on the rugged coastline; from the rocky beach below, kayak out to the Muscle Ridge Islands, where seals play in the shallows (rentals at Water Walker Sea Kayaks; Miles: 305 Days: 3 Theme Song: "The Party's Over," Willie Nelson

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