Monday, October 13, 2014

Maine Six-Pack Plus One Hikes

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Maine SIX-PACK PLUS Hikes Oct 2014:          

Recently I spent four days in Maine attempting to finish as many of my remaining 8 New England Hundred Highest (NEHH) peaks as weather and my legs would permit. I drove up from Rhode Island Tuesday night Sept. 30th and returned Saturday Oct. 4th after completing 7 of the 8. I probably still had the time and legs to finish off my last peak, Baldpate, but I was pretty drenched after completing Elephant on Saturday morning in the morning drizzle and bushwhacking through dense wet spruce trees. So, I called it quits and left Baldpate for another trip. This trip leaves me with 11 peaks from the NEHH list (1 in Maine, 3 in NH, and 7 in VT.) None of these hikes were particularly long or physically challenging (even for me), mostly because of the dirt roads maintained by the logging industry that gets you up to a high starting elevation and the network of new and older logging roads and skid trails and ATV trails on the mountains. The most difficult part is sometimes finding the “trailheads”. None of them have maintained trails, per-se, and a few involve fairly tough, but short, bushwhacks. I still maintain that Scar Ridge (NH) and Menden (VT) are tougher bushwhacks then any of the Maine NEHH Peaks – at least the way I did them. I have yet to do Voss Spur (NH) which some say is the toughest. The Maine peak I left behind, Baldpate, does actually have a trail and is in fact along the Appalachian Trail. Note that although the dirt roads get you closer to the peaks, some are pretty tough on your vehicle. I had bolts on several exhaust joints and on my cab loosen up. High clearance and 4-wheel drive is highly recommended. The first six of these peaks are all in the same general area and are often called the Six-Pack. Elephant is much further south than the rest (as is Baldpate) but is often done with the six-pack. My report(s) of these hikes is in no-way intended as a guide line for doing these hikes (possibly a guide as to how not to do them). I mostly relied on reports from two previous similar trips:

Tim’s 2012 trip on View From The Top (VFTT) which includes a map of all seven peaks. and

 Mat’s more recent July 2014 trip report from Hike-NH.Com

My trip reports and pictures for each day can be found at the links below:
To date, I have dumped all my pictures to these pages and added captions to the first few days but will still add captions to the last two and provide more trip details later.

  • Wednesday 10/1/14:  Failed attempt of Boundary Peak and #1 Mt Snow (Chain of Ponds).

  • Thursday 10/2/14: #2 & #3 North Kennebago Divide & White Cap , and #4 Mt. Snow (Cupsuptic/Little Kennebago).

  • Friday 10/3/14: #5. Boundary Peak (from the US Canadian side) and #6. East Kennebago.

  • Saturday 10/4/14: #7 Elephant Mountain.

  • Most of the above reports are just dumps of the pictures I took for now.  The highlights of the trip might be the boundary swath pictures from Boundary Peak and the moving ground video and moose skeleton pictures in the Elephant Mt. report.

      Friday, October 3, 2014

      Boundary Peak & East Kennebago Maine NEHH Oct 3 2014

      Oct 3 2014 Boundary Peak:

      omelet, oatmeal, & coffee for breakfast .My wife sees these and wonders why I never make breakfast at home.
      slept at the same rest area a few miles before the border on RT 27
      rest area is along a stream, has tables, an outhouse, and some interesting pictures of early logging gangs
      Turns out the way to the trail is through Gosford Park past mt Gosford trailhead and taking a right on this side road short rd
      I parked in the wrong spot and thought the trail started here but it just goes to a deer blind.

      I should have drove further up and parked in this area. A trail starts just to the left of the trailers but shortly joins an ATV trail to the right of the trailers.
      ATV trail (steep) goes up to the Boundary Swath.
      The ATV trail meets the Boundary swath Boundary peak is left(east) along the swath.
      ATV tracks run along the swath, used by boundary patrol and hunters.

      Boundary peak is up to the right. you have to go up several smaller peaks and cols before getting there.
      Deer/moose blinds with salt licks and water troths on the Canada side of the swath.  I passed 3-4 of these all on the Canadian side.

      This blind even had a method to collect rain water into the troth -how thoughtful
      little huts for the hunters to keep warm and drink beer while waiting for a moose to come along. Not very sporting. Only time I ever hunted was in Vietnam and the hunted shot back.
      US/CN marker
      Geographic marker at Boundary Peak
      My attempt at a timed self picture on the cairn on the US side of the Peak
      you can see the 20-30ft swath cutting through the forest over hills like a inverted great wall of china
      looking west toward VT and Canada
      another border marker this one commemorates somesort of treaty

      Bear Skat. I wasn't sure if it was until I googled it later. I've run across tons of moose skat but never bear. Funny thing I didn't recall seeing this on the way in, so at first I thought it may have been real fresh. Turns out though that I had just missed the turn back down the ATV trail and continued to far west along the swath.

      Coming down the ATV trail almost a dozen ATVs loaded with hunters, guns, coolers of beer and food came bombing up the trail some hauling empty trailers to haul off their kills

      When I got back to the opening with the trailers it was loaded with trucks and ATV trailers.
      Back at my truck at 1130 An easy 3 hour hike.

      when I drove past this area in the morning, a huge bull moose sundered across the road just fast enough so that I didn't have time to get a picture. He is probably dead by now. when I got back to the park  gatehouse I was informed my a irate park ranger that moose season had just started and that I did not belong in the park. Didn't I read the big signs that said that the trails and  park was closed to hikers during moose season.  Luckily I don't read French so when I got to the gatehouse at 7am with gate  open but no one round, I simply left a note with my information and said i'd pay any fee on the way out.

      Viewing area along rt 27 for the Chain Of Ponds

      Back at the rest area for a quick stop to the outhouse before heading to my next peak East Kennebago



      Oct 3 2014 East Kennebago:

      the road up to the start of the trail on E. Kennebago was the toughest one yet. near  the end there eere deep drainage ditches (usualy with logs in them for the ATVrs
      For he worst ones i'd have to get out and make sure I was crossing at the best spot
      End of the road. Low clearance vehicles without 4 wheel drive would probably have to park 1 mile back or so.