Crocker Mtn, South Crocker Mtn, Mt. Redington - Maine
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
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.
Fresh wild strawberries
For all the pictures from the hike, just go HERE