Hike: Tumbledown Mountain

TRIP REPORT

At work I was part of a hiking group and although I ‘d planned several hikes I hadn’t actually attended one. So in June I put together a hike of Tumbledown Mountain and lead the hike. We met at work shortly before 7:00 am and took a couple of cars up to Weld, Maine. There were five of us from work as well as a couple of our kids, including both of mine.

We arrived at the parking lot for Loop Trail on Byron Road at 9:30 am. There were plenty of cars at both lots, but neither were full yet. We dropped everyone off and returned to the parking lot at Brook Trail in order to plant a vehicle at the end of our hike. Once it was secured we returned to the others waiting at the Loop Trail.

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Hike: Sandwich Dome

TRIP REPORT

When I did my Sandwich Range traverse I stuck to the central part of the range where all the 4000 footers were. I knew that I would return to the Sandwich Range eventually to hike Sandwich Dome. I had seen it from the ledges of Welch and Dickey and thought that it looked interesting, as well as a sharp rocky knob standing near the mountain. On top of that, Sandwich Dome was a New England Hundred Highest, falling just 40 feet short of making the 4000 Footer lists.

So on a Sunday morning in June I left my house at 4:00 am to get to trail head around sunrise to be done before some forecasted rain descended upon the mountains. On the way I stopped beside a swamp to take a photo of sunrise.

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Bushwhack: Mount Abraham

TRIP REPORT

I knew when I hiked Mount Abraham in May I would want to return to explore the alpine area more thoroughly. It boasted the second largest alpine area in Maine by square acreage after Mount Katahdin. What I didn’t was that it would be less than two weeks later when I returned.

A friend and I drove up to Mount Abraham after work on a Friday evening. We got to the trail head clearing at 8:35 pm as daylight was fading. The temperature was mild and the sky mostly clear as we started up the Fire Warden’s Trail by headlamp. We made the mostly easy hike to the Abraham tent site by 10:35 pm. After setting up camp we ate dinner by a campfire and retired for the night at midnight. I remembered drifting to sleep as my hammock slowly swayed below the glittering stars.

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Hike: Mount Moosilauke

TRIP REPORT

In 2011, when I rediscovered my love of hiking, I knew nothing of this New England 4000 Footer list. My older brother and I hiked Franconia Ridge in clouds, gale-force winds and horizontal rain. Since Mount Lincoln wasn’t marked aside from a large cairn (which were plentiful on the ridge), I wasn’t even sure when we’d hit it. It wasn’t until the following year that I discovered the list and decided it would be the fuel to burn my hiking desire.

I was thrilled when my brother said he’d be there to hike Mount Moosilauke, the final 4000, with me as well. He had had a couple of kids in the last few years, so it had been hard for him to keep up with his crazy younger brother who’d seemingly hit the mountains every weekend. My kids were older and either went with me or were able to fend for themselves for eight hours while I trekked to New Hampshire and the more distant reaches of Maine. We made plans to hike and camp out the night before the big hike.

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Hike: Mount Abraham

TRIP REPORT

Since seeing Mount Abraham from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain last October and after hearing it hosts the second largest alpine zone in Maine (after Mount Katahdin), I’d been hankering to hike it. I was a little put off by the difficult access to the mountain though, so I waited until Spring was mostly over to avoid high water. I had read online that the road to the Fire Warden’s Trail was awful at best and that a bridge had been washed out a few years ago forcing you to make a deep water crossing.

In late May I left home fairly early in the morning and got to River Road around 9:15 am. Reusing a trick from my previous hike, I marked the turns I needed to make in Google Maps and even though I lost signal, the GPS was still working. Much to my surprise I came around a turn in the road (which had a handmade sign for the AT) and found two new, concrete bridges crossing the river. I later learned that they had been replaced the previous summer, so spread the word. I took a right after the bridges and drove up the narrow ATV road to the trailhead. There were two other cars parked at the intersection of two ATV roads. I pulled in behind them and hopped out.

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Bushwhack: Mount Redington

TRIP REPORT

On a rainy day in May I decided to take the long trek up to Carrabassett Valley to do the Mount Redington bushwhack. I figured there weren’t going to be many views from Redington, so it would be a good day to hike it. I awoke fairly early and planned on getting to the parking area on Caribou Pond Road by 8:00am. Those plans were thoroughly smashed when I got to Kingfield, Maine, the finish line of the Sugarloaf Marathon.

It took me an hour to go the final 10 miles of my drive, but I couldn’t complain. Four years previously I had made the Sugarloaf Marathon my first marathon. Seeing the utterly exhausted runners brought back fond and painful memories. I wish it had been cool, overcast and drizzly on my marathon day. Instead it had been sunny and in the 90s.

The Caribou Pond Road was a hot mess. The gravel was soft as if from a recent thaw and water was puddling up all over. That was on top of normal conditions of the logging road, sketchy wood bridges and all. Along the way I passed a mountain biker going the opposite direction and arrived at the trailhead at 9:00 am.

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Side of the Road: Profile Lake

Profile Lake

For our three year anniversary my wife and I spent the weekend in North Conway at the Buttonwood Inn on Mount Hurricane. I remember that it was 2003 because it was just before our older son’s first birthday and it was our first time away from him. We went shopping at the outlet stores and we drove up Crawford Notch, and drove down Franconia Notch and the Kancamagus Highway. It was a relaxing weekend and it encouraged my love for the White Mountains.

On our way through Franconia Notch we stopped at Profile Lake to see the Old Man of the Mountain. As far as I could recall I had never seen it, so I was excited to get a glimpse of the rugged profile. Unfortunately clouds were shrouding Cannon Mountain so we couldn’t make out his face. We continued on our merry way not realizing that it had been our last chance to see the Old Man of the Mountain. Less than a month later, on May 3, 2003 between the hours of midnight and 3 am, the Old Man’s face crumbled from Cannon Mountain despite decades of reinforcing the structure again erosion.

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