In early November 2016 a friend and I camped out near Grafton Notch in western Maine. The next morning we hiked the two peaks of Baldpate Mountain. Baldpate was supposed to be a great hike above treeline, so we had to check it out.
We parked at the Old Speck parking lot and crossed the street to follow the Appalachian Trail north. We took the side trail to Table Rock and rejoined the Appalachian Trail to both peaks of Baldpate Mountain. We returned along the Appalachian Trail with a short side trip to see Baldpate lean-to. The hike was just short of 8 miles with 3800 feet of elevation gain and took us a little less than 6 hours.
Map of hike
At around 9:30 am we pulled into the parking lot along the Appalachian Trail on Maine Route 26 at the Old Speck Trail head. It was mostly cloudy, 30 degrees and there was only one other car in the lot.
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.
A couple of friends and I took a day off work just before Thanksgiving to do a loop of two New England 4000 Footers in New Hampshire. The mountains of Hale and Zealand can be accessed by trailheads off Zealand Road, which is found just north of Crawford Notch. Two days prior I hiked Mount Waumbek and afterward drove up Zealand Road to confirm it was still open. There is a road status page online, but I’ve been burned by out of date government pages before.
We drove up early Tuesday morning, found the road still open and arrived at the Hale Brook Trail parking at 7:45 am. The weather was cold and cloudy and it was spitting snow. The Hale Brook Trail was a consistent, moderately steep hike up to the summit of Mount Hale, though it switchbacked through the steeper grade to alleviate the climb.