Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mt. Snow (Cupsuptic) - 3784 feet

The PVC canister on the Mt. Snow Summit.
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Cupsuptic
DESTINATION: Snow (Cupsuptic)
ELEVATION: 3784 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 10.157, W70 49.607
TRAIL: Logging road, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1080 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes
SEASON: fall
DATE: October 16, 2010
WEATHER: Cool temperatures, overcast skies, fog

PARKING:

From ME 16 west of Rangeley turn onto the graded gravel Morton Cutoff and follow it 3.2 miles to it's intersection with Tim Pond Road. Turn right then bear left onto Burnt Mountain road following it 1.6 miles to a sharp left turn to skirt the base of Burnt Mountain following it a total of 5 miles. At the intersection bear right for 1.2 miles and bearing left at the Y intersection for a total of 3.25 miles to Cupsuptic Tote road. At 1.3 miles continue right and 0.2 miles later bear left driving 2.5 miles to a small parking area just before a logging clear cut area. Refer to the driving map below.


USGS QUAD: USGS Little Kennebago Lake Quad

MAP: (Snow - Cupsuptic)



DESCRIPTION:

The most challenging aspect of this hike is finding the correct route though the maze of unnamed logging roads to access this peak. Mt. Snow is often hiked from the North due to easier navigational access from Wiggle Brook Road. My ascent (shown in red on the map) from the south made for a shorter hike but a much longer driving time. Follow parking directions above to approximately 2700 feet elevation then continue on foot, walking the logging road approximately 1.0 miles to 3100 feet elevation. Find a suitable entry point to begin your bushwhack in the relatively open woods heading almost due north.  During the ascent I hoped to find a herd path as I increased elevation however ended up in a band of relatively thick 5-10 foot tall spruce trees between 3400 and 3600 feet elevation. I needed to skirt east to avoid heavy bushwhacking. Once I broke through the spruce trees the woods opened up and last few hundred feet of elevation was smooth sailing. I encountered a herd path leading 500 feet to the summit canister. The viewless summit contained a PVC canister.

I descended (shown in blue on the map) the herd path leading southwest for approximately 0.25 miles, unfortunately the herd path was curving it's way to the north in the direction of Wiggle Brook Rd bringing me further from my southerly destination. I left the herd path heading south - southeast through very open woods hitting the logging road a few hundred feet lower than my entry elevation. If you intend to replicate this route I would recommend starting the bushwhack between 2900 and 3000 feet elevation and ascending the southwest shoulder of Snow.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
logging road - bushwhack 1.0 miles 1.0 miles
bushwhack - Snow summit 0.5 miles 1.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
logging road - bushwhack 30 minutes 30 minutes
bushwhack - Snow summit 30 minutes 1 hour
Snow summit - parking 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Snow (Cupsuptic) is a trail less peak with no views from it's summit however it is the 24th highest peak in the state of Maine placing it 94th on the AMC list of New England 100 highest Mountains.  The relatively short unidirectional hike requires limited navigational skills and is an excellent confidence booster for my novice bushwhacking ability. 

Looking closely at the blog header picture shows the top of the PVC canister painted green.  The significance of a green top is not for camouflage but signifies a hiker has completed all 770 New England 3000 foot mountains on this particular peak.  After reading the log book I congratulate "Carl" who finished his NE3k list here.

 A moose eyeing me as I bushwhack to Mt. Snow.
 
 A dusting of snow covering the summit area of Mt. Snow.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Mary (E Pilot), Middle Pilot, NW Pilot, Hutchins

a cabin near the summit of Mt. Mary
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Stark
DESTINATION: Mt. Mary (East Pilot), Middle Pilot, NW Pilot, Hutchins
ELEVATION: 3560 feet, 3615 feet, 3520 feet, 3730 feet
Mary SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 31.799', W71 25.760'
Middle Pilot SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 33.034', W71 26.232'
Northwest Pilot SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 32.241', W71 26.721'
Hutchins SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 32.875', W71 27.276'
TRAIL: private trail from Lost Nation, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3035 feet
HIKING TIME: 5 hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: September 14, 2013
WEATHER: Rainy, 55 degrees

PARKING:

From Route 2 in Lancaster, at the center of town turn on to Middle street (also North road) for 2.0 miles. Turn left onto Grange road following it 2.0 miles bearing left on Lost Nation road. Follow Lost Nation road 1.9 miles to Herman Savage road on the right. Follow Arthur White Rd 0.35 miles to the house at it's end.

USGS QUAD: USGS Stark Quad

MAP: (Mt. Mary) (Middle Pilot) (Hutchins)



DESCRIPTION:

Previous reports describe access from a private trail at the end of Arthur White Drive. The property appears intimidating with no trespassing and no hunting signs however as you get closer it mentions hikers are welcome with permission. I parked in a small parking area below the house, knocked on the door and spoke with the property owner Joe who was extremely friendly and welcome to hikers (as long as you don't have a motorized vehicle or gun) using his land. He described the trail in detail and offered some sound advice. The mowed grassy trail leads up the right edge of the property fields then continues into the woods. At the first Y bear left, at the 2nd intersection bear right. After approximately 1 mile the grassy road ends and impressive trail (that's right I said trail) enters the woods. The trail is unmarked but very easy to follow as it moderately ascends over an easy grade through hardwoods paralleling a stream to your left. At 2700 feet the trail bears right, increases elevation and gains the ridge along a contour of Middle Pilot. The trail continues northeast descending to a cabin and continues past the cabin to the wooded 3560 foot summit of Mt. Mary. There is a wooden summit register box marking the summit.

Return past the cabin to the height of land on Middle Pilot and I made a straight line bushwhack through heavy spruce trees and loose moss footing gaining the Middle Pilot summit relatively quickly. The summit has no views but is marked with a PVC canister very high on a tree.

From Middle Pilot I heeded the advice I received from Joe and descended along the northeastern side of M Pilot bearing in an easterly direction whenever I encountered thicker sections. It was awesome advice and I descended through a very healthy fern glade with an occasional blowdown to the col. My luck continued along the eastern ridge of Northwest Pilot to it's summit. Northwest Pilot doesn't have enough of a col to be counted on most New Hampshire lists and I wondered if there would be any markings or canister on it's domed summit. The highest point was a challenge to find and after wandering in circles performing a drunk bee dance I found a glass jar mounted to a twin white birch tree.

I continued an open woods bushwhack. My only complaint was the excessive rain over the past few days made the ferns strong, tall and healthy causing the inability to see my footing through the fronds and occasionally catching a blowdown in the shin. The blowdowns and terrain pulled me to the east of the col and I had to adjust my bearing to catch the centerline of the col to ascend Hutchins. My good bushwhacking karma faded resulting in very thick whacking along the centerline of the ridge. I attempted to float east and encountered waves of ferns mixed with heavy fir trees and a rare herd path. This continued approx. 0.3 miles before I hit a demoralizing 15 - 20 foot tall band of cliffs. I managed to find a notch to weave my way up and was rewarded with open woods for approximately a tenth of a mile before a very thick section just below the summit. I broke through directly under the PVC canister and found limited views to the east. There is also an open area to the west approximately 75 feet from the canister with directional views to the South.

I wasn't excited about the return bushwhack and descended in a easterly direction much further east than I was comfortable with however found very open woods (avoiding the thick stuff, cliffs and fir waves) all the way to the col. I bypassed the NW Pilot summit following a high contour on the eastern side of the peak and descended to the col ascending Middle Pilot. I made a significant error in judgment to avoid the Middle Pilot summit by following a low contour along the western side of M. Pilot. It was a huge mistake and I encountered very difficult terrain. The steep western slope of Middle Pilot was littered with blowdowns and mossy covered boulders with insecure footing slowing my pace to a screeching halt. I would highly recommend returning back over the top. I exited the woods about 100 feet from my height of land entrance point and enjoyed following the well defined trail back to civilization.

Joe was in his barn as I passed and I stopped to thank him for allowing me to cross his property, complimented the excellent condition of his trail and expressed my thorough appreciation for his advice "Stay to the east of the ridge". Round trip was 5 hours and 15 minutes.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

*NOTE** - All trail distances below are approximate

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
mowed grass path - start of private trail 0.75 miles 0.75 miles
private trail - Cabin 2.0 miles 2.75 miles
Cabin - Mt. Mary summit 0.25 miles 3.0 miles
Mt. Mary summit - Middle Pilot summit 0.5 miles 3.5 miles
Middle Pilot summit - NW Pilot summit 0.45 miles 3.95 miles
NW Pilot summit - Hutchins Mtn. summit 1.0 miles 4.95 miles
Hutchins summit - private trail 1.5 miles 6.45 miles
private trail - parking 2.55 miles 9.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
mowed grass path - start of private trail 15 minutes 15 minutes
private trail - Cabin 50 minutes 1 hour 5 minutes
Cabin - Mt. Mary summit 15 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
Mt. Mary summit - Middle Pilot summit 25 minutes 1 hours 45 minutes
Middle Pilot summit - NW Pilot summit 25 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
NW Pilot summit - Hutchins Mtn. summit 1 hour 3 hours 10 minutes
Hutchins summit - private trail 1 hour 4 hours 10 minutes
private trail - parking 1 hour 5 minutes 5 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS: 

After arriving at the end of the road on Arthur White Dr. I was a bit apprehensive to chat with the land owner after seeing several no trespassing and no hunting signs. I found the courage to get out of my car and take a closer look and found the property owner welcomes hikers and is extremely friendly.  He described in detail the trail leading all the way to the Mt. Mary summit and suggested I stay to the east along the ridge.  His advice and tutelage made this a very easy hike and bushwhack. 

 A mowed grassy path leading to Mt. Mary
 
 The end of the mowed path and trailhead ascending Mt. Mary

 A property marker.  I suspect this is the upper left corner of the red square on the map above.

 Mt. Mary summit register
 
The very high summit canister on Middle Pilot

 Healthy fern bushwhack from Middle Pilot to NW pilot

 Northwest Pilot summit jar

3730 foot Mt. Hutchins summit sign and canister.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mt. Katahdin - Baxter and Hamlin Peaks

Mt. Katahdin
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Baxter State Park
DESTINATION: Mt. Katahdin - Baxter Peak, Hamlin Peak
ELEVATION: 5268 feet, 4756 feet
Baxter SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 54.268', W68 55.311'
Hamlin SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 55.452', W68 55.640'
TRAIL: Helon Taylor trail, Knife edge, Saddle trail, Hamlin Ridge trail, Baxter cutoff, Abol Slide
DISTANCE: 12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3170 feet
HIKING TIME: 6 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 2, 2005

PARKING: Entrance to Baxter State Park currently requires a $14.00 day use fee (for out of state guests) which can be paid at a main entrance gatehouse.  A limited amount of cars are allowed in each parking area and it is recommended to arrive very early to ensure you are "on the list".  From the Togue Pond gatehouse follow the Park Tote road northeast about 8 miles to Roaring Brook campground.  Parking is available for approximately 50 cars.

USGS QUAD: Mount Katahdin Quad

MAP: (Katahdin - Baxter Peak) (Katahdin - Hamlin Peak)



DESCRIPTION:

From parking at Roaring Brook campground head towards the ranger cabin and follow the Chimney Pond trail 0.1 miles to the Helon Taylor trail junction.  The Helon Taylor trail climbs moderately through a mixed forest 0.5 miles to the crest of a ridge. The trail levels off for a short distance passing some large boulders providing great views and passing through scrub trees. At 2.0 miles you reach tree line before an exposed, ruthless and relentless climb of Keep Ridge eventually reaching 4919 foot Pamola Peak after 3.2 miles.  A narrow ridge with jagged peaks  known as the Knife Edge leads 1.1 miles to the Baxter Peak summit. The knife edge is a precarious hike where, in places the trail is only 2-3 feet wide with thousand foot drops on both sides of you.  It's intimidating, scary and one of the most spectacular mountain trails I've ever experienced. Take your time over this extremely challenging 3/4 mile of trail and enjoy the height, cliffs and exposure reaching Baxter south peak then turning northwest following the ridge another .35 miles to the highest point in Maine - Katahdin, Baxter Peak. The summit is marked with a well worn triangular KATAHDIN sign.

Descend the well worn Saddle trail over gentile slopes following cairns 1.0 miles to the saddle between Baxter and Hamlin Peaks and the junction with the Northwest Basin trail.  Ascend Northwest basin climbing 500 feet vertical over 1 mile distance to a junction known as Caribou Spring.  From Caribou Spring follow the Hamlin Ridge trail a short 0.2 miles to Hamlin Peak, the second highest point in Maine.

There are several trails that descend in an easterly direction towards Chimney Pond and the Roaring Brook parking area.  I had the benefit of a car spot and the ability to traverse the mountain descending the Abol Trail to Abol Campground on the West side of Katahdin. I would not recommend this route unless you have a more than your feet as a means of transportation.

Return via Hamlin Ridge to Caribou Spring and follow the Northwest Basin trail descending to the Saddle trail junction.  Ascend a few hundred feet to the Baxter Cutoff and follow the elevation contour around the cone of Baxter Peak 0.9 miles to a junction known as Thoreau Spring. Descend Abol Slide down the Southwestern side of Katahdin. The slide is dangerous due to loose gravel, extreme steepness and sore legs after a long day of hiking, use caution. Steeply descend a huge boulder field then continue descending a bare slope 1.3 miles to the foot of the slide.  The trail enters the woods and follows Abol stream to a old carriage road distributing you at the back of Abol Campground. 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Chimney Pond trail - Helon Taylor trail 0.1 miles 0.1 miles
Helon Taylor trail - Tree line 2.0 miles 2.1 miles
Helon Taylor trail - Pamola Peak 1.2 miles 3.3 miles
Knife Edge - Baxter Peak 1.1 miles 4.4 miles
Saddle trail - Northwest Basin trail 1.0 miles 5.4 miles
Northwest Basin trail - Hamlin Ridge trail 1.0 miles 6.4 miles
Hamlin Ridge trail - Hamlin Peak 0.2 miles 6.6 miles
Hamlin Ridge trail - Northwest Basin trail 0.2 miles 6.8 miles
Northwest Basin trail - Saddle trail 1.0 miles 7.8 miles
Saddle trail - Baxter cutoff 0.8 miles 8.6 miles
Baxter cutoff - Thoreau Spring junction 0.9 miles 9.5 miles
Abol Trail - Abol Campground 2.8 miles 12.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Chimney Pond trail - Helon Taylor trail 5 minutes 5 minutes
Helon Taylor trail - Tree line 55 minutes 1 hour
Helon Taylor trail - Pamola Peak 1 hour 2 hours
Knife Edge - Baxter Peak 45 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Saddle trail - Northwest Basin trail 30 minutes 3 hours 15 minutes
Northwest Basin trail - Hamlin Ridge trail 40 minutes 3 hours 55 minutes
Hamlin Ridge trail - Hamlin Peak 5 minutes 4 hours
Hamlin Ridge trail - Northwest Basin trail 5 minutes 4 hours 5 minutes
Northwest Basin trail - Saddle trail 20 minutes 4 hours 25 minutes
Saddle trail - Baxter cutoff 20 minutes 4 hours 45 minutes
Baxter cutoff - Thoreau Spring junction15 minutes 5 hours
Abol Trail - Abol Campground 1 hour 30 minutes 6 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Baxter State Park is over 200,000 acres of wilderness land donated to the State of Maine to be preserved for wildlife and woodland related activities.  Baxter State park is a unique and fascinating place that I recommend using a long weekend to explore the vast wilderness. It contains several picnic areas, almost a dozen campgrounds, the highest two mountains in Maine, Mt. Katahdin - Baxter Peak and Hamlin Peak and arguably the best hiking experience in New England.

I spent the weekend at Abol Campground and enjoyed the benefit of driving the park Tote road before the Togue Pond gatehouse opened for the day.  This amenity also allowed me the benefit of a non-hiking partner who willingly dropped me off at Roaring Brook in the morning allowing me to fully explore Pamola peak, the Knife Edge and the summit proper of Katahdin.  I conveniently descended the Abol trail directly to my campground.

The trail junction with the Helon Taylor trail
 
 A view up Keep Ridge from the Helon Taylor trail

 Baxter Peak from 4919 foot Pamola Peak

Views from Pamola Peak
 
The Knife Edge
 
 The highest point in Maine, Katahdin - Baxter Peak
 
Katahdin, Hamlin Peak
 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mt. Coe, South Brother, North Brother, Fort Mountian

South Brother and North Brother from Mt. Coe
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Baxter State Park
DESTINATION: Mt. Coe, South Brother, North Brother, Fort Mountain
ELEVATION: 3795 feet, 3970 feet, 4151 feet, 3867 feet
Coe SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 56.020', W69 00.544'
South Brother SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 56.649', W69 00.112'
North Brother SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 57.435', W68 59.134'
Fort SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 57.730', W68 58.496'
TRAIL: Marston trail, Mt. Coe trail, South Brother spur, Mt. Coe trail, Marston trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3985 feet
HIKING TIME: 7 hours
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: September 18, 2010
WEATHER: Cool, crisp, 60 degrees, clear

PARKING: Entrance Baxter State Park currently requires a $14.00 day use fee (for out of state guests) which can be paid at a main entrance gatehouse.  A limited amount of cars are allowed in each parking area and it is recommended to arrive very early to ensure you are "on the list".  From the Togue Pond gatehouse follow the Park Tote road northwest past Abol campground, past Katahdin Stream campground continuing 6 miles to Slide Dam picnic area.  The Marston trailhead has parking for 10-15 cars on the right.  

USGS QUAD: Doubletop Quad, Mt. Katahdin Quad

MAP: (Mt. Coe) (South Brother) (North Brother) (Fort)



DESCRIPTION:

The Marston trail starts off gradually but soon becomes steep climbing almost 1000 feet during the first mile segment.  The grade lessens and after a total of 1.3 miles merges with the Mt. Coe trail junction.  I planned to hike a loop counter clockwise climbing the steep and precarious Mt. Coe slide early in the day while my muscles were still fresh and descend the loop directly from the Marston Trail. At the trail junction bear right on the Mt. Coe slide trail.  After 0.2 miles the base of the slide is reached and views of the shoulder along Mt. Coe begin. The trail climbs moderately before turning north and heading directly up the granite slab face of the slide. The slide is extremely steep however with every step in elevation the spectacular views of surrounding mountains including OJI and Doubletop only got better and better. The trail typically follows the left edge of the slide allowing supporting hand holds in the krumholz. Nearing the top, the trail precariously crosses the slide and continues along the right perimeter and enters the scrub fir trees. From here it's approximately 0.3 miles to the 3764 foot Mt. Coe summit where you are rewarded panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The western flank of Mt. Katahdin can be seen to the east, Doubletop mountain and it's 3 slides aptly named the seahorse, the cat and witch is to your south. The ridgeline showing your destination of South Brother and North Brother lies ahead.

The Mt. Coe trail condition deteriorates during the 1.1 mile traverse to the South Brother spur trail. The spruce are heavily overgrown making the trail seem more like a Maine herd-path. Follow the South Brother spur 0.3 miles as it makes a short ascent exiting the fir trees to the beautifully open summit of 3970 foot South Brother Mountain.  A large boulder sits on the summit and the 360 degree views of the highest point in Main, Mt. Katahdin are absolutely breathtaking.  I could have stayed here for hours however two peaks and several miles of hiking await.

Return the 0.3 miles to the Mt Coe trail and continue north 0.7 miles over polar opposite trail conditions than the 1.1 miles from Mt. Coe. This section of the trail had little elevation gain or loss and provided great footing over a wide path to the junction with the Marston trail. Continue north following the heavily eroded Marston trail. The Marston trail seems to follow a riverbed making footing rough and insecure for this steep 0.8 mile pitch to the top of North Brother.  North Brother is another spectacular summit with panoramic views that I could absorb for hours.  Fort Mountain is a short 1 mile bushwhack.  Look for a series of small cairns descending to the left of the North Brother summit sign (facing the sign).  The cairns descend into overgrown spruce trees however the herd path can be easily followed by watching the worn foot path transcending the ridge. The herd path exits the trees and ascends the northwestern side of Fort Mountain.  Fort Mountain appears to have 3 bumps which could be the summit. The peak to the right (east) is marked at 3856 feet and mapped at 10 feet lower than the northwestern 2 bumps.  I visited both left (northwestern) bumps and the right peak seems to be a few feet higher than it's nearby counterpart.  Fort Mountain also has amazing views of the cliffs and the Northwest basin of Mt. Katahdin but the most interesting aspect is the wreckage from a plane crash strewn about at various locations along the Fort Mountain ridge.   Return via herd path to North Brother and descend the Marston trail 0.8 miles to The Mt. Coe trail junction and another 3.7 miles to parking at Slide Dam.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Marston trail - Mt. Coe Slide trail 1.3 miles 1.3 miles
Mt. Coe slide trail - Mt. Coe 2.0 miles 3.3 miles
Mt. Coe trail - South Brother spur 1.1 miles 4.4 miles
South Brother spur - South Brother Mtn. 0.3 miles 4.7 miles
South Brother Mtn. - Mt. Coe trail 0.3 miles 5.0 miles
Mt. Coe trail - Marston trail jct. 0.7 miles 5.7 miles
Marston trail - North Brother Mtn. 0.8 miles 6.5 miles
North Brother Mtn. - Fort Mtn.1.0 miles 7.5 miles
Fort Mtn. - North Brother Mtn.1.0 miles 7.5 miles
North Brother Mtn. - Marston trail0.8 miles 8.3 miles
Marston trail - Parking 3.7 miles 12.0 miles


HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Marston trail - Mt. Coe Slide trail 30 minutes 30 minutes
Mt. Coe slide trail - Mt. Coe 1 hour 1 hour 30 minutes
Mt. Coe trail - South Brother spur 30 minutes 2 hours
South Brother spur - South Brother Mtn. 15 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
South Brother Mtn. - Mt. Coe trail 15 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Mt. Coe trail - Marston trail jct. 30 minutes 3 hours 15 minutes
Marston trail - North Brother Mtn. 30 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
North Brother Mtn. - Fort Mtn.45 minutes 4 hours 30 minutes
Fort Mtn. - North Brother Mtn.45 minutes 5 hours 15 minutes
North Brother Mtn. - Marston trail30 minutes 5 hours 45 minutes
Marston trail - Parking 1 hour 15 minutes 7 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Baxter State park is a unique and fascinating place that I recommend using a long weekend to explore the over 200,000 acres of wilderness. It contains several picnic areas, almost a dozen campgrounds, the highest mountains in Maine and arguably the best hiking experience in New England.

I've wanted to complete this ridge traverse for several years and was glad to have the opportunity to experience this trek with perfect weather conditions. The cool temperatures and bluebird skies provided optimal conditions for this 13 mile hike.  4151 foot North Brother is the highest peak on the ridge and 6th highest in Maine. South Brother, Coe and Fort mountains elevation put all three of them on the AMC list of 100 highest peaks in New England.

 A hiker traversing the Mt. Coe slide

 Doubletop Mountain and slides named seahorse, cat and witches hat.
 
 Mt. Katahdin from the South Brother summit.

 North Brother from the South Brother summit

 Mt. Katahdin

4153 foot North Brother
 
 Mt. Katahdin's northwest basin.

 Fort Mountain

 Plane wreckage on Fort Mountain
 
North Brother from the Fort mountain summit

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Riley Mountain - 1443 Ft - Hillsborough NH

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Hillsborough
DESTINATION: Riley Mountain
ELEVATION: 1443 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 05.554', W71 56.300'
TRAIL: Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 0.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 510 feet
HIKING TIME: 45 minutes
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 25, 2007

PARKING: From route 202/9 in Hillsborough turn onto 2nd NH Turnpike and follow it for 0.40 miles. Just after the stone arch bridge turn right onto Barden Hill road and follow it 1.1 miles to Inchscape circle. Park at the cul-de-sac between houses.

USGS QUAD: USGS Hillsborough Quad

MAP: (Riley)


DESCRIPTION:

From the cul-de-sac on Inchscape circle enter the woods and ascend in a southwesterly direction 0.45 miles to the summit. The woods were relatively open (in November) with a easy to moderate incline. The summit isn't marked however did contain a small stone fire ring.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
parking - Riley summit 0.45 miles 0.45 miles
Riley summit - parking 0.45 miles 0.9 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
parking - Riley summit 25 minutes 25 minutes
Riley summit - parking 20 minutes 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Riley mountain is less than a mile from my previous home and my first bushwhack. It's 1443 foot elevation isn't substantial for NH standards but the 550 foot prominence makes it the 17th highest mountain in Hillsborough county and the 465th highest in New Hampshire. The summit was marked with a man made fire ring and I found no other markings.

Mt. Sugarloaf, Spaulding Mountain and Mt. Abraham - Rangeley Me.

Spaulding Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain from Mt. Abraham
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Rangeley
DESTINATION: Sugarloaf Mountain, Spaulding Mountain, Mt. Abraham
ELEVATION: 4240 feet, 4000 feet, 4040 feet
SUGARLOAF SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 01.902', W70 18.786'
SPAULDING SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 00.186', W70 20.010'
ABRAHAM SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 58.362', W70 19.578'
TRAIL: Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Spur, Spaulding Spur, Mt. Abraham Slide Trail
DISTANCE: 14.75 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3100 feet
HIKING TIME: 8 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 2, 2005
WEATHER: Overcast, hot, humid

PARKING:

From ME 27 exactly 1.0 miles north of the Sugarloaf USA access road turn left onto gravel Caribou Valley Road. At the time of my journey the only road signage was a paper plate marked Caribou Pond Road. Carefully follow Caribou Valley (Pond) road 4.5 miles to the trailhead. The road hasn't been used by logging companies in several years and the road condition has deteriorated rapidly. There is parking available at 3.9 miles just before a rickety wooden bridge. The 0.6 miles to the trailhead is slow going over muffler damaging rocks and potholes. Use caution if you dare to attempt driving the entire distance to the trailhead.

USGS QUAD: USGS Sugarloaf Mountain Quad, USGS Mount Abraham Quad

MAP: (Sugarloaf) (Spaulding) (Abraham)



DESCRIPTION:  From the Appalachian Trail head on Caribou Valley Road (sometimes named Caribou Pond Rd) follow the AT south crossing a branch of the Carrabassett River. The trail parallels the stream then begins a moderate ascent which quickly transitions into brutally steep terrain.  At higher elevations the trail crosses open areas providing excellent views of the Crocker Mountains to the north.  At 1.9 miles the AT bears right and the Sugarloaf Spur trail leads 0.6 miles to the open summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf contains a ski area on it's northern slope and houses a inaccessible communication tower. The summit has breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Descend 0.6 miles to the AT junction and continue south towards Spaulding Mountain. The AT traverses the ridgeline with occasional views and some steep cliffs to the east.  You'll pass a CCC monument marking a N-S connection point of the AT where the southern builders of the trail met the northern builders. After 1.5 miles the AT begins it's ascent of Spaulding mountain rising steeply then becoming more moderate as you reach the summit cone.  A short, 0.1 mile, blue blazed spur trail leads to the 4000 foot summit of Spaulding mountain marked with a sign. There are no views from the summit.

These two mountains can be hiked as a typical day hike however Mt. Abraham is another 2.75 miles away and for a determined hiker can be included as part of a long day.  To include Mt. Abraham continue south along the AT descending the steep cone of Spaulding Mountain. The trail levels and passes the Spaulding lean-to site at 0.6 miles.  After another 0.5 miles you'll reach the Abraham Slide trail junction. Turn left (east) and begin climbing through hardwood trees then steeply emerge into a field of rocks leading to the summit of Mt. Abraham.  The summit contains the remains of a fire wardens tower and several wind break shelters at the summit. The views from Mt. Abraham are panoramic.

Return the way you came. The most difficult section of the return is the brutally steep 0.6 mile pitch over Mt. Spaulding. 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
AT trailhead on CVR - Sugarloaf spur trail 1.9 miles 1.9 miles
Sugarloaf spur trail - Mt. Sugarloaf 0.6 miles 2.5 miles
Mt. Sugarloaf - Sugarloaf spur trail 0.6 miles 3.1 miles
Sugarloaf spur trail - Spaulding spur trail 2.0 miles 5.1 miles
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding summit 0.1 miles 5.2 miles
Spaulding summit - Spaulding spur trail 0.1 miles 5.3 miles
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding lean-to 0.5 miles 5.8 miles
Spaulding lean-to - Abraham slide trail 0.5 miles 6.3 miles
Abraham slide trail - Mt. Abraham summit 1.7 miles 8.0 miles
Mt. Abraham summit - AT Trailhead on CVR 6.7 miles 14.75

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
AT trailhead on CVR - Sugarloaf spur trail 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Sugarloaf spur trail - Mt. Sugarloaf 15 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Mt. Sugarloaf - Sugarloaf spur trail 15 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Sugarloaf spur trail - Spaulding spur trail 45 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding summit 2.5 minutes 2 hours 32 minutes
Spaulding summit - Spaulding spur trail 2.5 minutes 2 hours 35 minutes
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding lean-to 15 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Spaulding lean-to - Abraham slide trail 15 minutes 3 hours
Abraham slide trail - Mt. Abraham summit 1 hour 4 hours
Mt. Abraham summit- AT Trailhead on CVR 3 hours 30 minutes 7 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Sugarloaf Mountain is the 3rd highest peak in Maine, Spaulding the 14th and Abraham the 10th.  All 3 mountains are above 4000 feet tall and on the AMC list of peaks above 4000 feet in New England.

Sugarloaf Mountain offers panoramic views from it's summit, Spaulding Mountain is much more remote and has a semi-open summit however the surrounding trees prevent any views.  The Mt. Abraham summit houses a former fire tower and provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

A branch of the Carrabasset river crosses the AT near the trailhead and a dip in the cool refreshing water is an awesome way to relax after a long day of hiking.

 Saddleback mountain and the Horn

 The Spaulding mountain summit

The Sugarloaf summit

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lyndeborough Pinnacle - 1703 ft, Rose Mountain - 1730 ft, Lyndeborough Mtn. - 1650 ft

The 1730 foot Rose Mountain summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Lyndeborough
DESTINATION: The Pinnacle, Rose Mountain, Lyndeborough Mountain
ELEVATION: 1703 feet, 1730 feet, 1650 feet
THE PINNACE SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 55.659, W71 47.550
ROSE MOUNTAIN SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 55.940, W71 48.308
LYNDEBOROUGH MTN SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 55.693, W71 47.934
TRAIL: unnamed trail, snowmobile corridor, summit spur paths
DISTANCE: 3.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 470 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: September 2, 2013
WEATHER: Rain, hot and humid

PARKING: From route 31 take Center road for 2.5 miles to Lyndeborough. Turn left onto Mountain road and follow it for 2 miles.  The trailhead is on the left side of the road. There is room for 3-4 cars along the side of the road.

USGS QUAD: USGS Greenfield Quad

MAP: (The Pinnacle) (Lyndeborough Mtn.) (Rose Mountain)



DESCRIPTION:

From parking on mountain road follow the unnamed trail as it ascends a knob then drops steeply to a stream crossing, turns and ascends over an easy grade to the junction with Helen's trail. Continue on the named trail as it ascends a short and steep pitch through hardwoods soon emerging to the 1703 foot, The Pinnacle summit proper. The summit is marked with a cairn. The summit is mostly open and provides views towards Lyndeborough Mountain and Rose Mountain. Follow the snowmobile corridor as it winds it's way around the pinnacle summit area drops to the eastern side of the col, makes a sharp turn to the west and continues through the col. The snowmobile corridor makes a sharp right, merges with another corridor and passes the spur path to Lyndeborough Mountain. The spur path ascends a short pitch to the open summit where good views to the Pinnacle can be seen. Continue following the looping snowmobile corridor as it winds it's way towards the eastern side of Rose mountain, turns left and follows a contour on the southern slope winding it's way west to a merge with the Rose Mountain spur. The summit is a short 0.2 miles away. Rose mountain is the highest peak of the three and offers the best views of the area. The summit highpoint is a obvious rock bump that stands a few feet taller than it's surrounding.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - The Pinnacle 0.4 miles 0.4 miles
The Pinnacle - Lyndeborough Mtn. 0.5 miles 0.9 miles
Lyndeborough Mtn. - Rose Mtn. 0.8 miles 1.7 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - The Pinnacle 15 minutes 15 minutes
The Pinnacle - Lyndeborough Mtn. 10 minutes 25 minutes
Lyndeborough Mtn. - Rose Mtn. 15 minutes 40 minutes
Rose Mtn. - Parking 30 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Rose Mountain is the 9th highest peak in Hillsborough County and 374th highest peak in New Hampshire. It is typically accessed from Mountain Road where a unnamed trail leads over "the Pinnacle and a snowmowbile corridor continues across the nearby Lyndeborough Mtn. summit and leads to Rose Mountain. 

Trailhead on Mountain Rd.

 Cairn at the Pinnacle summit - 1703 feet

 Snowmobile corridor trail junction leading to Rose Mtn.

 Fire pit at the Lyndeborough Mtn. summit.

Crotched Mountain - 2066 feet

The Crotched Mountain summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Francestown
DESTINATION: Crotched Mountain
ELEVATION: 2066 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 59.896, W71 52.436
TRAIL: Gravel road, Shannon's Trail
DISTANCE: 3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 760 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
SEASON: summer
DATE: September 2, 2013
WEATHER: Overcast, low clouds, rain, humid

PARKING:

From Route 31 in Francestown turn onto Crotched Mountain Rd (look for signs leading to Crotched Mountain rehabilitation clinic) and follow it 1.5 miles to a parking area on the left.

USGS QUAD: Greenfield Quad

MAP: (Crotched Mountain)

 
DESCRIPTION:

Several trails disperse from the parking area at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation clinic. I would recommend following the Gregg Nature trail to the start of Shannon's trail leading to the summit. If you want a more direct route follow the gated access road 0.2 miles to a wooden "summit" sign pointing right. Shannon's trail dips a bit with the Gregg nature trail paralleling both sides of the grassy trail. Cross the nature trail and ascend to a large open field. Shannon's Trail is challenging to follow through the field and I had to look for the discolored and padded down grass to determine it's direction. The trail continues along the eastern edge of the field and enters the woods soon reaching a junction with "the link". Continue north on Shannon's trail as it descends to a stream crossing then moderately ascends to a merge with the Bennington trail. Shannon's trail ascends steeply over granite ledges providing several outlooks along the way. You'll eventually reach a picnic area which is the nicest spot on the entire hike and the summit a few hundred feet away. The summit is marked with 2 benchmark disks, one is a golden color the other is illegible. 4 concrete footings are the only remains from a former fire tower and there is a fenced in communications facility with cell tower. There are 2 bumps that could be the highest point, one contains the golden benchmark the other high point contains the illegible benchmark and the fire tower footings are at the slightly lower 3rd bump.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Shannon's trail 0.3 miles 0.3 miles
Shannon's trail - Link junction0.35 miles0.65 miles
Shannon's trail - Bennington Trail junction0.75 miles1.4 miles
Shannon's trail - Summit0.4 miles1.8 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Shannon's trail 5 minutes 5 minutes
Shannon's trail - Link junction10 minutes15 miles
Shannon's trail - Bennington Trail junction20 minutes35 minutes
Shannon's trail - Summit10 minutes45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 2066 feet, Crotched Mountain is the 3rd highest peak in Hillsborough county (Pack Monadnock and North Pack are taller) and the highest point in Francestown. It is the 284th highest peak in New Hampshire and home of Crotched Mountain ski area. It's summit contains a communication tower and facility, 2 benchmark disks and the remains of a former fire tower. The fire tower was built in 1915 and stood 45 feet where it remained in service until the early 1970's. It was removed in the early 1980's. Views are limited from the summit however an excellent viewpoint and picnic area can be found a few hundred feet away.

The gravel road leading to Shannon's Trail

 The start of Shannon's Trail

 A picnic spot outlook near the summit.

 Remains of the former fire tower