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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Hike: Franconia Loop 2016

TRIP REPORT

In late April I took my older son on one of the classic hikes in New Hampshire, a traverse of the Franconia Ridge Trail. The weekend prior I went camping with both my boys and we hiked Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff. From that vantage point we had a great view of Lafayette. It looked like most of the snow and ice had melted from the ridge, so I had asked my son if he’d like to hike it the next weekend. He said he did.

We got up early (for a teenager) and drove to Franconia Notch State Park, getting there at about 8:30 am. Getting out of the car was a practice of tempering ourselves against the frigid temperature and gusts of wind from the northwest. With it being a clear day, the parking lot at the Falling Waters Trail head was fairly packed with like-minded hikers. We set off up the trail to get our blood pumping and fend off the cold penetrating our layers.

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Hike: Mount Cube

TRIP REPORT

After a quick hike up Mount Major for a sunrise that never really showed its face, I headed to Orford, New Hampshire to meet a couple friends and hike Mount Cube. I thought that Mount Cube would have a square shape to it, but in fact its name is a local corruption of Mount Cuba. As legend has it, the mountain was named after a dog that fought a bear on its summit.

I first caught sight of the mountain as I drove around Lower Baker Pond on Route 25A, its rocky north summit stood high above the water. I passed by our starting point, the roadside parking for the Appalachian Trail and hooked around the northern side of the mountain. I was meeting my friends on the dirt Baker Road on the west side of the mountain at the Cross Rivendell Trail head, where we would be completing our hike.

They arrived soon after I go there and we headed back to the Appalachian Trail in my friend’s truck. We got to the start of our hike at 9:15 am. There were two other cars parked off the road and the weather was in the 40s and overcast. We started up the trail following a couple with a dog, and we were followed by a guy and his dog. We soon lost the trail and we all convened in a clearing slightly befuddled. In short time we discovered that we were on a logging road, not the Appalachain Trail. We headed back out to the road and found the trail on the western end of the parking area. It was signed and pretty obvious once we looked for it.

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Sunrise Hike: Mount Major

Trail Report

A friend of mine and I made plans to hike Mount Cube the first weekend in April, but one mountain was (of course) not enough for me. So I left home at 3:30 am in order to hike Mount Major for sunrise before meeting him and his brother at Mount Cube.

I arrived at the Mount Major parking at 5:15 am and there were already two cars in the lot. I was slightly concerned about doing the hike in the dark as I had never been to Mount Major. This hadn’t stopped me in the past, but then I’d had the descriptions from the AMC White Mountains Guide to help me. I started up Boulder Loop Trail anyway.

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Hike: Southern Presidentials

Trail Report

Since March 2015 I had been commuting to work via my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Final, in March of this year I put a down payment on a Toyota RAV4 which gave me and my whole family a lot more flexibility around commuting and other activities. I also bought a THULE Spare Me spare tire bike rack, which I was excited about as it provides a lot of flexibility in my hiking. Bringing my bike with me on solo hikes allows me to do traverses rather than always doing a loop to hike. I decided to put this to the test by doing a traverse of the Southern Presidentials. Additionally, a few weekends prior I had wanted to hike Mount Washington and bailed on the idea because of the ice conditions. But this time I borrowed crampons from a friend to make it happen.

After leaving home at an incredibly early time, I swung by the parking lot on Clinton Road in Crawford Notch at 6:00 am. I ditched my pack in the woods and clambered back into my car. There were only two cars in the parking lot, so that was good.

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