Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crockers(2) & Redington, Maine

5/30/13. Maine: Crocker(4,228'), South Crocker(4,050'), and Mt Redington (4010')

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Trip stats - as best as I can recall: Drive up from RI ~ 300 miles, 7 hours (traffic in Boston, fog in Maine) Slept in truck 2300 Wednesday - ~ 0500 Thursday a.m. Hike distance ~ 10 miles, 0530-1630, 11 hours (bushwack was slow and I took my time enjoying the day and the woods) Drive back to RI ~ 5.5 hrs

This turned out to be one of my more interesting hikes.

First, the 6 mile drive into the woods via the winding narrow Caribou Pond Rd (CPR)  [also called the Caribou Valley Rd not sure which is correct]  in pitch darkness and fog at 2300 over narrow wooden bridges was a bit of an adventure - do not attempt this without 4 wheel drive and at least nine inches of vehicle clearance (big rocks sticking up out of the road). The trek up to Crocker (sometimes called North Crocker) and South Crocker wasn’t particularly different than dozens of NH trails and the views were sparse and fogged in. But, from S. Crocker to Redington is what is called a Heard Path. No formal maintained trail but just enough traffic that you can pretty much follow the path of others (the heard). A lot of downed trees on this route and the spruce is closed in from both sides. Thankfully I was warned about this and wore a jacket and gloves that prevented me from getting cut up. Down from Redington I had decided to do a loop that I had downloaded a GPS track for. I thought the loop back down to the CPR. was all open logging roads but I hadn’t read its description close enough and the last mile or so is strictly a bushwhack through woods, soggy marshland, thick spruce, overgrown logging trails and narrow moose trails. This was actually the best part of the hike. I hadn’t really done any significant bushwhacks in the Whites. The bushwack (BW) was slow and I had to maneuver around a bit to avoid too much water or really thick spruce areas but I was rewarded by stumbling upon a shed moose antler which I carried out with me (see pics). Actually the bushwack can be avoided by following an alternate logging roads (marked with cairns) that leaves you with a longer road hike back down the CPR, but I’m really glad that I did the whack.
Pictures & Trip Notes (time stamps are 1 hour early)
Tail gate breakfast after sleeping in my back cab. time is actually 04:43. there is a side parking spot big enough for 4 vehicles 20 ft before the start of the trail.
The trail up to the Crockers is along the Appalacian Trail (AT) and starts were it crosses Caribou Pond Rd.  going west.   This is also were I may start (going East) for Sugarloaf, Abraham, and Spaulding, hopefully in 1 hike.

Views along the trail up to N. Crocker. Notice there are still a few patches of snow:


This sign is at the split of thee trail for N. and S Crocker, its only 30 ft from S. Crocker but I continued on to N. Crocker first.
a fairly new blow-down
a a US geographic survey marker, strangley not at the peak. I was told later (in the below coments) thatit is an AT boundary marker.
Summit Pic for N. Crocker
N. Crocker

Views of Sugarloaf on the way down N. Crocker  to S. Crocker.
When I first snapped this pic I subconsciously was thinking , Oh there is Mt Washington, forgetting where I was. Duh! I shouldnt admit it but it wasn't  until i saw her after Redington that the "Duh!", came out.
S. Crocker Summit Pic, the wind was picking up some, but the skies were clearing.
Start of the Heard Path to Redington

Views along the Heardpath to Redington.

My contribution to trail clearing , I was able to  push down this hard step-over or duck-under blowdown (2 pictures up) to make it an easy step-over (above)
Clearing at the top of Redington. There are steel anchors around the area that were for shrouds for an weather tower that was erected ~ 2006 in preperation for a wind farm that got canceled.
Does anyone know when the tower was removed.  I'm guessing just last fall because  I found an expensive looking electronic wind vane still in bubble wrap right on the trail.  I'm guessing it was buried in snow all winter until just before I came along.

Redington Summit Pic. 1130 a.m  - it took 4 tries to get myself in the frame for the time delayed shot.

Views of N. Crocker (left) and S. Crocker (right) from Redington

Views along the logging roads(below), lots of running and standing water, but still very managable.


logging road more like a logging super highway

This is the split in the logging road where you should go right (marked with a cairn) if you want to follow the logging road to Caribou Pond Rd.  instead of the BW.  I went left.

Another split in the logging road, going right is the only good choice here.

View of Sugarloaf (next planned hike)

Along the a clear section of the logging Rd. The surface looks sandy and dry, until ... walk on it and go ankle deep in mud, could almost have used snowshoes here.

This is where I got off the logging road and started the real bushwhack. The road (and the gps track I had) goes left but I followed a river bed then went on a near straight path to my next GPS waypoint.

The Moose Antler (they call them "sheds") I found in a section of the wack loaded with moose tracks and skat but no actual moose sightings - I probably make too much noise. I should have looked around the area for the other antler, but my knee had just gone out on me and I was in some serious pain waiting for my Aleve to kick in.

Some kind of wild flower that hasn't quite bloomed quite yet. I think its some kind of trillium.

varius views of fairley open areas on the wack. I didn't take any pictures in the really dense sections,- too busy wacking through.

Lots of signs of moose traffic in the mud.

 Finally broke through to the Caribou Pond Rd. (CPR) 1-2 miles of road hike back to my truck

Numerous narrow wooden bridges across streams on the CPR,


Just before I reached my truck 3 border patrol officers came screaming down he tCPR on 3 souped up ATV's, they stopped to check out my moose shed and we talked a while, then they hung around to make sure I could start up my truck. I didnt think to get a picture until they drove off. What a job! We give them top of the line snowmobiles in the winter, fast ATV's in the summer, cool guns, and knives, and then let them bomb along the back wood roads and trails  in Maine and still pay them on top of this. Where do I sign up??  This area is still 30 miles from the border. The gave me some story about having to install an antenna on some mountain, but you know they are just goofing off racing down the logging roads in the area.

Self photo with my moose shed. 

This is the barrier on CPR just before the steel bridge.  I think they close it in the winter. Either way, don't go beyond this point without a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. the AT crosses the CPR 0.5 miles further up.

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