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Thread: Sachem Peak Acteon Ridge Bushwhack 8/23/08

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Sachem Peak Acteon Ridge Bushwhack 8/23/08

    8/23/2008

    Sachem Peak, Acteon Ridge via Smarts Brook Trail and Bushwhack

    Iíve hiked Jennings Peak twice. Each time Iíve been fascinated by the view of Sachem Peak from Jennings Peak. Iíd been wanting to bushwhack to Sachem Peak. The last time I hiked Jennings via Smarts Brook Trail, I had a good look at the cliffs of Sachem Peak from below and really wanted to go there. I also spotted what I thought would be a good jumping off point on the upper reaches of the Smarts Brook Trail.

    I thought I might only tag Sachem and whack back to Smarts Brook Trail, but ended up whacking the entire ridge. As it turned out, this might have been bighting off more than I could chew as the whack portion of approximately three miles ended up taking over 6 hours over a large variety of terrain. I hadnít brought sufficient water so the last 2 hours were complicated by dehydration issues (i.e. leg cramps). This was my first solo bushwhack. It really took some gumption to leave the established trail. I planned to call home periodically to inform them of my progress and locations since I knew Iíd have cell phone reception on the ridge.

    I hiked up the beautiful Smartís Brook Trail and reached my intended jumping off point at 11:00 on the first switchback at approximately 3000í elevation. I whacked along the 3000í contour until I reached what I thought was the spine of Acteon Ridge and started along the bearing that would take me down to a broad saddle and up to Sachem Peak. The whack goes through moderately open spruce woods and wasnít too bad. It got tough scrambling up the steep spruce ledges as I got closer to the summit. It took a while to reach the true summit from the first preliminary ledges.

    The views from Sachem Peak are awesome. In one spot you get great views of Sandwich and Jennings, Tecumseh, Oscealas, Carrigain, and Handcocks. From another area you get nice views of Welch & Dickey. Unlike Welch and Dickey across the valley, the extensive ledges have thick luxuriant layers of lichens. You can tell this place doesnít get many visitors.







    It was hard whacking down to and out of the col between the 2400í unnamed bump and Sachem. It was easy to whack from 2400í bump to Bald Knob. Bald Knob had better views than the 2400í bump. It was hard whacking down the steep ledges west of Bald Knob. I just kept going on the same compass bearing all the way down the ridge. The steep ledges were very tough to negotiate. At this point I was terrified of reaching a dead end, but I always found a way. One reason it was so tough was Iíd out of water by this point and was dealing with leg cramps due to de-hydration. I normally kick butt on the downhill, but my legs were very unhappy. I had to take frequent rests to relax my legs a break and avoid getting cramps from all the leg lifting etc. In hindsight I probably should have steered to gentler slopes to the south or to the north.

    The steeps eventually leveled out, but terrain was still rocky and going was strenuous. I eventually came upon a gently sloping area of hummocky glacial moraine deposits with better footing where I came upon an extremely well traveled animal trail that followed my bearing for a long time. I thought surely Iíd see a moose, but alas no. I finally popped out on Old Waterville Road right at the site of a long forgotten cemetery. It was very mysterious looking as it was being swallowed up by the forest.



    I opted to follow the Pine Flats Trail so I could re-visit the scenic flume of Smarts Brook. Definitely worth the extra effort! Even in my dehydrated state. All in all it was very interesting and challenging 9.5 hour hike and bushwhack. Many lessons were learned the hard way. In particular, bring more water!!! Sachem is worth re-visiting. Think next time Iíll try a more direct approach from Route 49.

    Pictures are here.
    Last edited by Jazzbo; 08-24-2008 at 07:59 AM. Reason: one tiny edit
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #45 of WNH48

    "Commuteróone who spends his life
    In riding to and from his wife;
    A man who shaves and takes a train,
    And then rides back to shave again." EB White (1899-1986)

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1HappyHiker's Avatar
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    Fabulous Job!

    Fabulous job Jazzbo, and especially for your first solo whack!
    And coming upon that abandoned cemetery was quite a bonus. Did you happen to take note of the dates on the headstones?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    There was maybe total of 12 - 15 headstones. Many of them were just slab shaped pieces of rough unfinished granite with no discernable writing. Three of them were of imported stone and well carved. One of them was for someone named Foss died 1846. Another one was for a women. It had a jack in the pulpit flower gone to a bright red fruit growing right close by. I missed an opportunity for a very artistic photo. I was beat and not feeling very artistic, but now wish I'd taken that shot. Oh well...
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #45 of WNH48

    "Commuteróone who spends his life
    In riding to and from his wife;
    A man who shaves and takes a train,
    And then rides back to shave again." EB White (1899-1986)

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