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View Full Version : Pt 1620 (Allagash), McLean (St Francis)-ME



buckyball1
05-19-2011, 07:16 PM
... it's about getting there :) --as i move deeper on my list, figuring out how to reach the hike is often the biggest issue

After days of the endless rain and gray skies that have covered much of New England, everyone is getting stir crazy. Perhaps sneak in a hike(s) in the northern part of the state on Wednesday, maybe a brief weather window?...up at 2 and off to Fort Kent area...overcast at home --heading north, the weather goes south-7 hours later i'm back home after finally giving up thoughts of hiking as i drove through Eagle Lake in fog and heavy rain, yuck.........stupid me....highlight of day is seeing a moose trotting very close along side the car in the dark, rainy murk on Rt 11 around Masardis

Fast forward to this morning, repeat the above, a glutton for punishment-This morning Orrington is warm, gray, foggy skies, but the weather gets better as i head north and by daylight in Ashland, the fog starts to dissipate. I reach Fort Kent, actually see a bit of blue sky and head down Rt 161 toward Allagash and

Pt 1620-1630'. The drive thru the St John's Valley is always a good experience-scenery different than other areas of Maine-in addition,you see large crosses on many lawns--remember the traffic jam caused by church attendees in Fort Kent a few weeks ago :) This is truly northern Maine as "frost heave" signs are still up on a decaying Rt 161

My approach is thru the hamlet of Allagash, turn into NMWoods to the Allagash gate and Michaud Farm Rd. The best beta says road is in OK shape, but the gate isn't staffed as yet and i've found nobody who's actually been down the road this year. Except for 2 partially collapsed culverts, the Michaud Farm Rd isn't bad and i easily reach the Blue Pond Rd about 18 miles in from the highway. I follow this lesser road and some logging roads another few miles (a shade soft, but no problems) and park near a large clearcut spotted on the sat pics. 5hrs 20min have passed since i left home and start hike #1 (and this is with way too rapid driving in the dark on moose alley and then on the dirt)

For 730 in way northern Maine, it's amazing warm (57) and there's no wind. A quick ascent through the clearcut, then open woods and the top is a small clump of hardwoods -fun, easy as long as you don't break a leg in the slash of the clearcut.....zip back to the car, out to Rt 161 and retrace steps back to NMWoods St Francis gate...next quarry is

McLean-1962'-I hope to drive by the south side of McLean and swing east of it.The Pellitier Lakes Rd has been torn up pretty badly on a few hills, but the Wallagrass Rd is in good shape. After about 7.5 miles, i turn north on an iffy road which would eventually become the Hunnewell Lakes Rd. I plan to go two miles to directly east of McLean, but don't get that far as i pass the height of land, see an eroded, rocky descent ahead and back the car about 1/10 mile to a level spot.

The route is an old road visible on the topo, west for 2 miles and straight up when directly north of the peak. The logging activity in here was long ago and the 'road" is crisscrossed with fallen small trees. Looking down at my map while walking and not using my poles, i take a heavy face plant and probably bruise (crack doubtful?) a few ribs. The beavers that have been stalking my hikes of late strike again-huge flooded area and no way to bypass and continue on road.

Just as well as i head into the woods toward the top which is a mile away, find open woods with lots of wet/boggy areas and foot snares caused by the young undergrowth. Isolated patches of snow appear above 1500' on this shaded north slope. The top is thinly wooded (signs of long past logging) with three pipe/markers on top-one "triangulation" and two "reference". I note many piles of moose scat on the rapid descent and of course run into a large moose who trots slowly away--another good hike.

I have extra gear/ hike plans and would love to spend the night in the car in NMWoods,Pinkham Rd and hike tomorrow, but alas it will pour tonight and thunderboomers tomorrow. So though 7 hikes remain in this NMW area from Ashland to Allagash Lake to Churchhill Depot, I head home for a date with my local McDonalds grease -revives me just a shade. 72 degrees in Fort Kent and only 61 in Orrington today??

jim