Caribou - Smart mountains horseshoe hike (in two parts) Maine.

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May 26, 2015
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Brattleboro, Vermont
I've been doing a bunch of Vermont 500 Highest List mountains this summer. There are some real gems I have encountered such as Lyme Emery and Susie Peak.
In the meantime, I've been working on finishing the Maine 3Ks and I have only a few left.

I did the Caribou - Smart horseshoe set of mountains in a bizarre way, but it all worked out for the best.
For the first trip I drove on the West Branch Rd and then whacked up to Caribou North-East Mountain 3325'. I had to go through tall shrubs and walk above overgrown log slag road which really sucked in the oppressive heat. The prehistoric flies on steroids didn't help either. From the North-East peak I followed the ridge, which was chaotic with lots of rollicking terrain, to Caribou Mountain 3580'. I had a real problem finding the jar on this mountain since there were like 3-4 bumps on the summit that appeared to be the same height.
I then continued whacking over to Caribou 3640'. I got down to the col and realized I had forgotten my poles back up on 3580' during my search for the jar. After going on a rampage like Chris Farley in the Saturday Night Live Folger's Crystals commercial; I climbed back up and retrieved my poles. It was getting later by this point and it was extremely humid.
So I decided to just head back to my truck and take a few roles of Bounty paper towels to soak up my BP-Oil-Spill-Level Niagara sweat. From there I drove back a little ways to a side log road which got me closer to the Smart mountains.
These peaks sucked in my opinion. Prickly matchstick woods for both peaks with little reprieve. The only thing Smart about these mountains is the choice to never do them again!

This past weekend I went back to finish off the middle mountains within the horseshoe. I was able to drive down the West Branch Rd and park near where a tributary that descends from between Bump Benchmark and Merrill Strip peak feeds into the West Branch of the Moose River. From there I walked on an overgrown log road to the end where a herd route (that was tough to follow at times) picks up and brings you all the way to the summit of Caribou Mountain 3640'. This route was a super easy way to ascend Caribou 3640' and really offset my frustration from when I forgot my poles.
It was an easy whack from Caribou 3640' to the swath, and then the swath was one of the easiest sections of it that I've hiked. Pretty smooth terrain with little elevation changeup. I made it in a short time to Boundary 410 mountain where I signed in and then began the whack to Bump Benchmark. The whack to Bump Benchmark and then over to Merrill Strip was 90% open, easy woods. It is funny how these peaks are right next to the Smart's, yet such different woods. The descent from Merrill Strip down to my truck was also open and went very quickly.

"Anyone seen my dentures?"