Saddleback, The Horn and Saddleback Junior

Hiked Saddleback, The Horn and Saddleback Junior on 8/11/2018.  It was a sunny day with temps in the 50s to start and high 60s to finish, there was also a nice breeze blowing above treeline. I hiked up the Berry Pickers trail which is a new trail up the SE side of the mountain instead of the usual route which is up the ski trails on Saddleback Mountain. Parts of the trail have been there a long time and used by locals for picking berries. The dirt road to the trail is not recommended for low clearance vehicles and there is one bridge near the end that doesn’t look like it is going to last too much longer.

Sign at trailhead

The trail starts out along side a stream but soon turns away from it on a nice soft footpath. After a while you reach the granite ledges and soon see The Erratic left behind by the glaciers.

The Erratic

You soon reach the Appalachian Trail and turn left to go to the summit of Saddleback. It’s only .5 mile to the summit with only one short steep section.

The AT heading up to the summit of Saddleback
Saddleback summit
Rangeley Lake and Mooselookmeguntic off to the west

After a short break on the summit I headed down and over to The Horn. It was only 1.7 miles over to the summit and was pretty easy except for one ladder that I did not like at all. The top of it wasn’t really secured and the rungs were very narrow.

Metal ladder on the AT near The Horn

After reaching the summit of The Horn I had a slightly late lunch of PBJ.

Summit of The Horn
View looking north from The Horn
Saddleback from The Horn

I left The Horn and headed over to Saddleback Junior. There was a very steep, wet, rocky and rooty section of the trail that was very slow going. The rest of the trail wasn’t bad but I had to go up that section on my way back, it wasn’t fun.

Some long bog bridges on the way over to Saddleback Junior

I reached the summit and drank a lot of water and then headed back.

Looking northeast from Saddleback Junior, Sugarloaf is the tallest peak in the distance

On the way back down the Berry Pickers trail there were lots of mushrooms and berries near the trail so I took a few pictures of them.

Bunchberries
Some very tasty blueberries

I don’t know the names of the mushrooms so here they are.

Ghostflower or Indian Pipe, not a mushroom but it also doesn’t photosynthesize

Finally got back to the car at 7PM and started the long drive home. Saddleback and The Horn are on the NE 100 Highest list so I only have 6 peaks left to finish that list and Saddleback Junior is on the NE 200 Highest list. I had to make that list up myself since it didn’t exist as near as I could tell.

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Sugarloaf and Spaulding

Hiked Sugarloaf and Spaulding in Maine on 7/19/2018 on another bright sunny day with not too hot temperatures. It was another long drive to get here. I parked at the ski area and started up one of the not so steep novice trails but took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on an expert trail that was quite steep. There were good views from the trails and also from the summit.

Looking at North and South Crocker from the ski trail
Looking north and east from the summit

I had some trouble on the summit of Sugarloaf finding the short trail that would take me down to the AT so I could go over to Spaulding. I finally found it, there was no sign and a very small cairn and a little way down a blue blaze. I got to the AT and turned south for the 2.1 miles over to Spaulding. It was a very nice section of trail with a few short ups and downs and for the most part a smooth footbed. There was a plaque honoring the CCC workers who finished the final section of the AT.

CCC plaque

The summit of Spaulding was wooded with no views so I went back down to the AT to eat my PBJ. A thruhiker who was headed south stopped for a few minutes. When I asked him where he was going to spend the night he said he was going to go another 10 miles. I don’t think there was a shelter in 10 miles so maybe he was going to camp in a tent. After eating I headed back north and climbed up Sugarloaf again and then down a much less steep trail, it was better on the knees. On the short trail up to the summit there were some flowers that I haven’t identified yet and there were lots of flowers on the ski trail that I took back to the parking area.

Unidentified flower with a bee
Flowers on ski trail

Made it back to the car and drove home with a stop at Burger King. Only 8 peaks left to finish the New England 100 Highest.

Mt. Abraham

Hiked Mt. Abraham in Maine on 6/16/2018 on a bright sunny day with cool temperatures. It was a long drive up from home plus finding my way on dirt roads and one turn I wasn’t sure of, but I got there.

Sign at trailhead

The first 1.8 miles of the trail gains some elevation but very gently so it’s pretty easy to walk. After the old campsite the trail really starts to go up and when you reach the treeline there is a rocky slope that will really slow you down.

Toad just before treeline
Labrador Tea
Steep rocky slope

After the rocky slope it flattens out a bit but still is uphill all the way to the summit. There is a small emergency shelter just below the summit but I wouldn’t want to spend much time in it, it’s pretty cramped. Lots of good views from the summit and a trail that leads 1.7 miles over to the Appalachian trail. I ate my PBJ at the summit.

Summit of Abraham
Looking north toward Sugarloaf
Looking east, note the roof of the emergency shelter

There was lots of Mountain Cranberry growing on the summit.

Mountain Cranberry

After lunch and resting and taking pictures I started down and found a few woodland flowers.

Bunchberry
Clintonia or Bluebead Lily

Made it back to the car and started the long drive home. Only 10 peaks left to finish the New England 100 Highest.

Breadloaf, Wilson and Roosevelt

Hiked Breadloaf, Wilson and Roosevelt on 11/28/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. Weather was predicted to be bright and sunny but started off sort of cloudy before eventually clearing up. Temp was about 20 when we started and low 30s when we finished. These peaks are located in Vermont near Middlebury Gap. We took FR 59 off VT Route 125 and then FR 54 and finally FR 201 to the trailhead. FR 59 and 54 aren’t plowed in winter but were packed down and a little slippery in places. FR 201 hadn’t seen any traffic but we made it to the trailhead without any problems. There was about an inch of snow on the ground when we started and maybe 3 or 4 inches in the higher areas with a few deeper drifts. Snowshoes were definitely not needed and we didn’t carry them. We started up the Emily Proctor trail and it was almost flat for the first 3 miles with one major stream crossing.

Bill and Diane at the stream crossing

After reaching the Emily Proctor shelter we decided to change our plans for the day. Bill and Diane didn’t need to do Breadloaf which was a half mile to the south on the Long trail. Our plan had been to hike 5.5 miles along the Long trail and go over the summits of Wilson, Roosevelt and Cleveland but it was obvious we were going to run out of daylight and be descending on a trail that was snow covered using headlamps. We decided to only go over Wilson and Roosevelt and then come back to the shelter and Bill and I would do Breadloaf while Diane started to descend. Seemed like a good plan.

Emily Proctor shelter constructed in 1960

We headed over to Wilson and Roosevelt and had a few obstructed views on the way. We found a sunny spot out of the wind between Wilson and Roosevelt and ate our PBJs.

View on the way over to Cleveland

It wasn’t obvious where the summits were as they were sort of flat and there weren’t any signs or canisters. We went a little past the summit of Roosevelt and found an open spot with good views off to the east.

View from Cleveland

We headed back south along the Long trail and got to the shelter where Diane headed down and Bill and I headed over to Breadloaf. It was an easy half mile to the summit and then back to the shelter and down the Emily Proctor trail to the car. We got back to the car just before we would have had to put our headlamps on, good timing. On the way down we spotted some relics that we hadn’t seen on the way up.

Large gear from something

Only 11 peaks left to finish the New England 100 Highest list.

Our track for the day

North and South Crystal

Hiked North and South Crystal on 11/15/2017 with Bill Schor. This was our second hike of the day as we hiked West Tucker in the morning. We ate our PBJs in the car after driving over from West Tucker. We started the hike by staying to the edge of a recent clearcut area. Lots of evidence of hunters in the area but nobody was around midday. We both had some blaze orange on. We soon headed in to the nice open woods and made our way to the summit.

Looking over the clearcut area to West Tucker
Open woods leading up to the summit

It was a nice hike to the summit with lots of evidence of moose and deer and we thing bear foot prints. We easily found the summit of North Crystal and signed in and then headed over to south Crystal. This was the last 3000 foot summit on the list and meant that Bill and I have climbed all the 3000 foot peaks in New Hampshire.

North Crystal summit

The trip over to South Crystal started out very nicely with nice open woods and lots of animal prints. Then we climbed over a little bump and it became very steep with a couple of small cliffs to work around. It got a little exciting in a couple of spots, I wouldn’t recommend doing this route in reverse as it would be quite difficult going up. Eventually it flattened out and then a very gentle up to the summit of South Crystal.

Bill and I at the summit of South Crystal

We have now completed the New Hampshire 200 Highest list and all we had to do was get back to the car, which we did.

Our tracks for the day

Below is a map showing all the New Hampshire 200 Highest peaks that are in the Great North Woods area of New Hampshire. There is quite a bit of driving on dirt roads to get to all these peaks and they aren’t necessarily well maintained. It was fun but I’m glad it;s done.

The northern part of the New Hampshire 200 Highest peaks

West Tucker

Hiked West Tucker on 11/15/2017 with Bill Schor. It was a nice sunny day with temps in the low teens to start but it warmed up to 33 by the end of the day. We drove up the day before and spent the night in Errol at the Errol Motel. There are 5 restaurants in Errol and 4 of them are not open on Mondays or Tuesdays. Things are pretty slow this time of year. The place that was supposed to be open, Subway, closes at 6 but as we drove into town the sign was not lit up. We called them from the motel and nobody answered so it looked like we would have to drive 20 miles to Colebrook for dinner. However, on our way to Colebrook we stopped at the store and they were actually open just didn’t turn the sign on. We got up early in the morning and drove to Corser Brook Road which is a dirt logging road and followed that for 6 miles and then 9 miles on Four Mile Brook Road which slowly deteriorated the further in you got. We got to our starting point and headed up to West Tucker. We followed a skidder path for a while and then headed up into the woods.

Start of our hike up West Tucker
View to the northwest

Unfortunately we hit some fairly thick hobblebush on the way up that slowed us down. Eventually that ended but the last little bit to the summit was pretty thick spruce. After wandering around a bit we found the canister and signed in and then headed back down to the car. No view from the summit.

Bill at the summit

We went down our same track as it is easier to follow your tracks in the snow than to take a different route that might still have a lot of hobblebush. On the way down we found a deer antler that both of us had stepped over on the way up but hadn’t seen it.

Deer antler

We got back to the car and made the short but treacherous drive over to the start of our next hike. Only 2 more peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.

West tucker is the upper track

Black Northwest

Climbed Black Northwest on 11/12/2017 with Bill Schor. We drove down from Pittsburg after climbing Mt Pisgah and arrived at the starting point at lunch time so we ate in the warm car. We were able to follow old skidder paths for quite a while but we finally had to enter some pretty thick and steep woods which really slowed us down.

Looking to the summit on the skidder path

We did see a moose in the distance but he was too far away for a picture and didn’t hang around long.

Looking west towards Dixville Notch
Wind turbines on Dixville

We finally reached the summit and then spent quite a while looking for the canister. Bill was ready to give up but I finally found it in a pretty thick stand of spruce.

Summit canister

We headed down the same way we came up as there didn’t seem to be any better alternatives. We got back to the car and had another long drive home. Only 3 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.

Our track