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Thread: Maine 4Ks Weekend #2 TR - June 2014

  1. #1
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    Default Maine 4Ks Weekend #2 TR - June 2014

    Crocker Mtn, South Crocker Mtn, Mt. Redington - Maine
    6-28-2014

    Appalachian Trail, Bushwhack, Herd Paths, Logging Roads

    Distance: 10.616 mi.
    Elevation Gain: 2,024 ft (overall) 3,350 ft (total)
    Time: 1:56 (South Crocker) 2:40 (North Crocker) 3:18 (South Crocker) 4:31 (Redington) 6:40 (total)

    After just being in this area, it was back up to Maine for yet another weekend of 4K peak bagging. The first hike of this trip would be the Crocker peaks and Mt. Redington. Having checked out Caribou Valley Road two weeks ago, I knew my car would only safely make it to the parking area at the metal bridge. I was able to get closer to the AT crossing, but large rocks in the road prevented me from getting the last couple hundred feet to the smaller parking area there.

    After a quick walk up the road from the car, I was at the AT crossing (marked by a small cairn and ribbon) and met my first thru-hiker of the day. Heading north, the trail is pretty easy for the first mile making small turns left and right on good footing as it gains a little elevation. After a mile you come to the side trail to Crocker Cirque Tent Site and the start of the real climbing for the day. The trail gets steeper from here, and after a while, a little steeper still. You work through a couple switchbacks and increasingly rocky terrain before coming out onto a small slide on the side of the mountain. The trail easily follows the side of the slide and then goes back up into the trees and straight up the mountain. Soon it levels off some and turns right to go over a small boulder field that seems out of place. It isn't very big and doesn't seems like the area where a slide would occur. From here, the trail gets to be more gradual as it works up to the summit of South Crocker.


    Start of the trail


    Crocker slide

    Knowing I would be back, I skipped the short side trail to the summit/view and headed to North Crocker first. The trail descending to the saddle is a little steeper, but not bad and has good footing. Once into the saddle, there is a brief level section through some nice green areas before heading back up at about the same incline you came down. As you near the top, the trail levels back out some and is mostly straight. There is no actual view from the summit area, but the AT corridor cut comes right to the top and you can walk 50 feet down that to get a partial view. After a break, some pics, and a snack, I said good bye to the swarming (but not biting) flies and headed back to South Crocker. The hike was pretty quick as I knew what I was in for.


    In the saddle between the Crockers


    Partial view from North Crocker

    Back to South Crocker, I took the short side trail to the summit and view. It appears there wouldn't have been a view here if it weren't for the trees being cut in a small opening. Honestly, the way the cut was done wasn't very attractive and took away from the view it created. The "bushwhack" route from here to Redington is pretty easy to see from the high spot of South Crocker. I was able to follow it just fine for the most part except one spot I took the wrong path. I'm pretty sure I went left at a blow down when I should have gone right. I looked right, but left seemed more well worn. I came out onto the AT boundary cut where there was a ribbon, but no discernible path crossing it. I went to my right (based on info from other TRs) and soon came to another ribbon and very small cairn which marked where I should have come out on the cut. I went back into the woods and followed this easily to the clear cut below. The path through the cut was easy too and soon I was on the access road.


    South Crocker view with Spaulding and Abraham in the distance


    On the bushwhack/herdpath

    I took the road to the height of land where the next bushwhack led into the trees. This one was thicker, but still pretty easy to follow. There are a couple places you could turn onto other "paths", but if you just aim towards the summit you will do fine. Eventually you come out onto the "trail" that leads to the summit clearing. The canister is on a dead tree just into the trees on the right as you enter the clearing.


    Bushwhack from the height of land to Redington


    Miles thought about hiding here to scare the next hikers, but didn't want to hike out later by himself

    After my time at the summit I started back down the same route I took up. I kept to the right where the bushwhack enters the trail. The path got a bit steeper, but was still easy to hike. As you get further down, the branches start to get pretty narrow, but what do you expect for not being an official trail. Eventually you come out onto the logging roads. There are a view small cairns or rocks/sticks made into arrows to help you pick the right route down from here. None of these are overly steep, but they do seem to drag on for a while. I've seen someone else say this is the Lincoln Woods Trail of Maine, and it does seem that way. On the logging roads I saw lots of animal tracks (deer and moose), but never did see the animals. I did however find some patches of wild strawberries (and everyone looks for blueberries, pffft). I stopped to grab some for a snack and take a picture. Luckily I noticed I set my pack right next to a big ant mound before they had a chance to notice and come investigate. After moving that, I got a well deserved snack. The rest of the walk out was uneventful and pretty boring. Most of the small brook crossings on the road had no bridges and were steep down into and out of them. This means even with a pickup, you might not make it much past the AT crossing if you wanted to bag Redington by the logging roads.


    Narrow path


    Fresh wild strawberries


    For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE

  2. #2
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    Spaulding Mtn & Sugarloaf Mtn - Maine
    6-29-2014

    Appalachian Trail, Spaulding Side Trail, Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Mtn Trail, Appalachian Trail

    Distance: 9.853 mi.
    Elevation Gain: 2,119 ft (overall) 3,499 ft (total)
    Time: 3:32 (Spaulding) 5:22 (Sugarloaf) 7:51 (total)

    Today's hike started in the exact same spot as yesterday's. Only this time I would be heading south from the road crossing and not north. The trail starts with a short downhill to the river. The crossing of this was mostly a rock hop aided also by a plank between the biggest gap. The plank is attached to the rocks by a cable so that it can't be easily washed down stream. Safely across the river, the trail mostly parallels it while slowly go uphill as well. Soon, it turns left and starts to climb. The climb isn't too bad, that will come soon. Before long you work across a side hill and the trail then turns to go straight up the hill briefly. You then side hill the other direction before turning straight up again. This part is longer, rockier, and steeper. It's the steepest part of the day.


    River Crossing


    Steepest part of the trail

    After this steep climb, the trail goes back to a more manageable grade. Not too steep, but not too flat either. Walking through here I stopped for a picture of a snack getting some sun. Just as I put my camera away though, a rabbit came hopping down the trail, turning back when he saw me and before I could get the camera back out. You will also come out of the trees and into the scrub for a bit here as you walk along the edge of a cirque in the mountain. There are some nice views from here, including of all the peaks I hiked yesterday. The trail continues as it was and eventually flattens out a bit more. There are some small brooks through here, but nothing tricky to worry about. The only difficult spot has probably the most elevated bog bridge I have ever seen going over it. Soon you get to the junction with the Sugarloaf Mtn Trail. I wanted to save the views for last, so I kept going on the way to Spaulding.


    Part of the trail after the cirque

    The walk along the ridge is pretty easy. Not much up or down until you get closer to Spaulding Mtn. There are a few ups and downs, but I hardly even considered them to be PUDs. At one point, you will come across a large rock next to the trail with a sign about the last part of the AT being cut in this area. Nearing Spaulding, the trail has a short steep section with good footing before it turns to the right some and makes the climb easier. You'll go like this for a bit until you hit the junction with the short and steep side trail to the summit. The summit has a small view at the high spot, but there is a better view back to Sugarloaf if you follow the path to the left (as you come up to the sign).


    Following the ridge


    Plaque


    View to Sugarloaf

    After a nice break, I decided the annoying flies were enough and I headed out. The hike back to the Sugarloaf Mtn Trail was easy and straight forward. Again, this trail starts out a bit steep and rocky as it leaves the AT. Before long though, it becomes more gradual and starts to go across the mountain some as well as up. I was going a bit slow through here because it seemed to be getting warm and a bit humid, but there wasn't much if any wind. After a spring and a couple other wet spots, you come out of the trees onto the edge of the ski area roads. The trail goes straight in front of you with some paint marking and cairns, but you are so close to the summit you can easily head to the high spot. I walked around the summit some and eventually picked a spot in the shade to have a snack and drink some more. While here I met a group that included someone from Maine, another from Texas, and a third from South Carolina. I think they were 3 generations of family, but the home states was quite the collection. While the views from the summit are great, I have to admit the buildings, towers, and roads take away from it some. Maybe it would help if everything looked like it were in nicer shape like on Mt. Washington.


    Bigelow Range from Sugarloaf


    Spaulding and Abraham


    Crockers and Redington

    The hike back down went as expected and was pretty uneventful. The steep section was a bit tricky to navigate, but could easily be done with a bit of care. As I got further down I started looking forward to the river crossing. I was getting pretty warm and was looking forward to splashing some cold water on myself and dunking my head right in. Honestly it would have been a good time for a swim, but I didn't have the right gear with me for doing that.


    Along the edge of the cirque


    Elevated bog bridge

    Once back at the car, I started talking to another hiker that was getting ready to head up to the Crocker Cirque Tent Site. We got discussing where we are both from, and it turns out he lives about 20 minutes from me. I'm 5 hours away from home and run into the one person that actually knows the small town I am talking about when I say where I am from.

    Today I saw one of the more unusual trail snacks I have ever seen, but only because it seemed like an odd combination. I came across 2 southbound thru hikers that were making a peanut butter and peanut M&M wrap. I said something about it and one of the responses was "the M&Ms give it some crunch." It certainly seems like good fuel, but wasn't something I would have thought of.

    I had planned to hike Mt. Abraham tomorrow from Rapid Stream Road, but after this hike I decided I was too tired and the weather was supposed to be even warmer and more humid. I didn't put it into the hike for today mainly due to the extra distance and elevation gain it would have added. It would have made for a bit of a late day doing all three as an out and back. I guess I'll just have to come back one more time to get that one.


    For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE

  3. #3
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    Another great TR and set of photos! Thanks for bringing us along to the beautiful state of Maine. Enjoy Mt. Abraham when you go back.
    Bob

    I never want to see a day
    That's over forty degrees
    I'd rather have it thirty,
    Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

    My Seek the Peak 2014 Photo Set

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