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 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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Winter Hike: North Crocker

Trail Report

In my plan to hike all of the New England 4000 Footers I still had a bunch of peaks to do in the Carrabassett Valley area of Maine. So, in late January I decided to tackle a few from Route 27 just north of Sugarloaf Ski Resort. The plan was to hike the Appalachian Trail from the road to North Crocker Mountain and South Crocker Mountain, and if the bushwhack was broken out to Redington Mountain (and I felt up to it) do it as well. I chose to do the Crockers from the north because they were accessible from a major road that I knew would be open. I could find very little information on trail conditions and road closures online.

I left home at 4:30 am for the two and a half hour drive north. As I approached Carrabassett Valley the full moon was setting just above the ridge line of Mount Abraham. I looked for a good place to stop to take a photo of it from Route 27, but failed to find one and didn’t want to take the time to explore side roads for a better vista.

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Hike: The Bigelows

Trail Report

After hiking Sugarloaf and Spaulding the previous day, my ankle was sore and I wasn’t positive it would be up for another day of hiking. Not wanting to sit around camp all day, I wrapped my ankle tight and Michael, Jeff and I headed to the Bigelows.

The Bigelows are a long range of mountains found south of Flagstaff lake in the Bigelow Preserve. The range has two New England 4000 Footers and a New England Hundred Highest, all of which we planned on tackling. To get to the standard route for hitting all of those peaks, we took Stratton Brook Pond Road off Route 27 and parked at the last lot before the road turned left toward Stratton Brook Pond. The standard route was a lollipop loop up the Fire Warden’s Trail to Avery Peak, then west across the Range Trail to West Peak and The Horns and at Horn Pond Shelter taking Horns Pond Trail back down to the Fire Warden’s Trail. The hike was nearly 14 miles and 4000 feet of elevation gain and by the end I wanted to amputate my left ankle.

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Hike: Spaulding/Sugarloaf

Trail Report

My hiking friends and I had plans for doing a multi-day hiking trip traversing the Great Range in the Adirondacks, but after some difficulty with the coordination of the hike we cancelled the trip. Instead we made plans to hike from Saddleback to Sugarloaf over three days. A trip that would have included Saddleback, The Horn, Abraham, Spaulding and Sugarloaf, some of the premier mountains in Maine.

As we closed in on the first weekend in October I was unsure if I would be able to do such a hike. On my previous hike traversing the Sandwich Range in New Hampshire I had hurt my ankle. After some discussion with my friends Michael and Jeff we decided to base camp at Cathedral Pines Campground in Eustis and do dayhikes around the Carrabasset Valley instead. That way if my ankle hurt too much I could take a zero day without ruining everyone’s trip.

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