View Full Version : Bates Ridge & Farmer (ME)

07-17-2011, 07:34 PM
more than you want to know :).......started the day with trepidation, but a dollop of hope...It's been 5 weeks since i hobbled out of the Rainbow Mt fiasco and the "little toes" issue turned out a bit more serious than black toenails.

3-4 weeks weeks of pain, no socks, no sneaks, no run, not much of anything; feet off the bed to try to sleep,little progress and wondering if this was the injury that might end my running/hiking. I finally got help from a good podiatrist and a great sports physiotherapist who opined that i had thrashed the living hell out of both little toes for hours, "badly contused" (of course i had) and that i was actually starting to heal and would probably be fine. They Helped me decide how to change my footwear characteristics.

Rather than my normal pushing the envelope with injuries, i was afraid to do anything that hurt even a smidge--was told to (within reason) "have at it" and see how it goes...so i did..running some this week with "pinky toe cutouts" in my running shoes (still looking for "my" shoe, but that's another story ;))

After study, advice and mucho travel to 10? stores up to 3 1/2 hrs away (have any idea how hard it is to find a really wide toe box boot?-crazy). I settled on LL Bean leather Cresta wides..less boot than i'm used to, but radical change needed and compromise necessary.

enuff of that.. plan was one very modest 'whack on my list, be careful and see how it goes.. went for

Bates Ridge-2015'-This is Bates near Bingham/Pierce Pond, not the one in Aroostook County. Approach was Long Falls Dam Rd, east on Carrying Place Rd and then roads near Cobbs Camps. I've been in this area for other peaks-lots of cool lower mountains. I hoped to drive to the north side of Bates and 'whack straight up less than 1/2 mile with modest ascent.Of course the road to that spot was permanently barred (a fact i had discovered 2-3 years ago, but forgotten) and an extra 2-3 mile road walk each way in wasn't for me today. Saw obligatory moose on the road.

I went to plan B, was lucky to get with 0.6 miles of summit on south side and went "up" from there. Very hot day, trifecta on bugs of black flies, skeets and armada of deer flies; hard to know if i lost more blood to the insects or to briars, dead trees hiking in shorts and "T". I was so concerned re my toes and the new boots that i was not only a bit slow from lack of conditioning, but abysmal in route finding, just staggering around. Rougher woods than expected with heavy summer growth and tons of blowdown-chest high grass in spots that hid every obstacle. Never-the-less, i was feeling great just to be out and after topping out on the wrong bump, found the non descript wooded summit.. happy to be "back."

Exercised ridiculous care on descent to protect my toesies. When i looked down, the Crestas "looked" like my Scarpa SLs, but certainly weren't. Leather less thick and much more torquing of boot; shorter lugs and couldn't just hop up on slash piles and logs and expect a rigid platform. But the toe box is wide and worked well--tweaking of insoles, lacing, etc will be needed. Also clear than fabric boots would never work for me on off trail rambles......then of course i stupidly thought, "that went pretty well so lets step it up a few notches" and try

Farmer-3210'-Lies west of Abraham massif and can be reached a number of ways. I hoped to try from the north after following a series of dirt roads from Rt142 through East Madrid and Barjum (don't ask). DO NOT go this way unless you have 4 wheel drive and some clearance. The Barjum Rd above Barjum and the even lesser roads after that are in horrible shape. Large swaths of erosion (passable only by driving into the weeds, car breaker rocks and tons of sharp tire puncture rock. In one spot the Forester actually go a bit stuck and i needed to do "rock work" road prep to proceed. Had i know, i doubt i'd have tried this.

I reached the base of Farmer on the north side and realized this was a lot more than i wanted to attempt my first tentative day back hiking. However, i didn't want to drive that road again so up i went. I started up the west side of a heavily overgrown clearcut (thanks Nate) and then plunged into moderate density woods. It was all fairly steep, but an even grade, no cliffs, etc. Hellishly hot in full sun, but superb views of Abraham(s) and surrounding peaks-very nice. Ascent nothing special, just hard work. I came to the ridge on the east side of the summit, trundled up and found an "easy" jar. Old register from 1991, latest from 2008 and sparse visitors in 3 years-- usual suspects, Damon, Ryman, Albee, Nate, Marc, JT, Carl, Van and Pierre (Oncoman) last November. The bugs were eating me as i sat, but i was overjoyed to be there..all out of proportion to having done a "routine" hike.... great 65th birthday present to myself :).

and yes, this was way too long and babbling, but i am glad to be back at it