Number 5 mountain, 21 April 2024

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NH2112

Active member
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
148
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69
Location
Jackman, ME
Yesterday morning I decided I needed to hike, so I loaded up my Osprey Stratos 24, strapped snowshoes onto it, and headed out. My destination was Number 5 Mountain, about 1/3 of the way as the crow flies to Eustis from Jackman. The trailhead is at mile 17 on Spencer Road off Route 201, there’s a small white sign with an arrow on the right at the turnoff. If you use AllTrails it’s a little inaccurate, just look for the sign. It’s easy to see. The mile 17 marker is about 50 feet past the side road to the trailhead. Spencer Rd was in great shape the whole way; the side road leading to the trailhead had a couple small snowbanks crossing it but my pickup handled them just fine in 2WD. The parking area was dry, with room for 4 or 5 vehicles.

Summit elevation is 3186’, AllTrails lists total trail length (out and back) as 5.1 miles. I tracked my route using AllTrails and it told me I’d hiked 6.4 miles. Elevation gain is 1161’, and it’s a long, gradual slope with no real steep spots.

I got to the trailhead a little after 1100 and headed right up. The biggest obstacle is the first thing you hit after leaving the parking area, a 12’ wide ditch with rocks on each side to keep vehicles out. It’s really the only obstacle. You’ll follow a very old logging path for a little less than 1/2 mile, then a small sign tells you the trail goes to the right and becomes a regular footpath. There was a little bit of running water in the logging path, along with a few muddy spots that are easily avoided.

Deeper patches of snow started appearing around mile 0.6, I put snowshoes on at 0.67 (my new favorites for spring snow, Atlas Aspect 28s) and kept them on until about mile 3.1. There were a few 50-100’ stretches with no snow, and some rocks I negotiated with them on. I’m pretty clumsy and didn’t have any problems not related to my bad knees.

It’s pretty obvious when to take them off, the trail starts getting ledgy near the summit. I stopped to strap them back on my pack but you could just leave them there as well. You’ll see the condemned fire tower and the trail is easy to follow even though there are no blazes. The views are spectacular, as usually happens with me the clouds thickened when I was about a mile from the summit but I still got some good pics. It was cold & windy, maybe 25F with a steady 20mph wind that I seem to remember was coming out of the west. It started to spit snow, as well. I spent about 20 minutes on the summit and had had enough even with my down jacket and gloves.

Heading down is just the hike up in reverse, I had to take it quite a bit slower because of my knees. A couple of rocks that were easy to negotiate in snowshoes while going up were NOT on the way down. But other than that it was a straightforward descent just like the ascent. Soon I was stopping to remove my snowshoes (I did this closer to the trailhead because I’d barebooted for a little while before putting them on) and from there it was another half hour until I got to my pickup. My knees were pretty sore but still in pretty good shape, though after sitting for the 45-50 minute drive home they were REALLY stiff when I got back to Jackman. A little I2 therapy (Ibuprofen and ice) while watching TV and they felt pretty good. Sleeping with my soft brace on does a lot of good, too.

The hike was very nice and I’m glad I made that spur-of-the-moment decision. It had been almost 3 years since I last hiked it, and doing it in snowshoes was a lot of fun.

Photos
 

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Awesome report. I am impressed you were able to make it all the way out there this early in the Spring. It is so incredibly remote.
I love this peak. I remember the ascent being very incremental and gradual. It almost felt like you were never gaining any real elevation and then before I knew it, I was at the top. Very straight forward climb with awesome views. Glad you got to do it again!
 
Good for you!! Sounded like a nice hike in "spring" conditions. (a little bit of everything!)

Is the fire tower open?

“Open” as in yes, you could physically climb it, but there are a couple signs on it stating that it’s condemned.

Awesome report. I am impressed you were able to make it all the way out there this early in the Spring. It is so incredibly remote.
I love this peak. I remember the ascent being very incremental and gradual. It almost felt like you were never gaining any real elevation and then before I knew it, I was at the top. Very straight forward climb with awesome views. Glad you got to do it again!

Number 5 Mtn is probably the closest thing to a free lunch that there is. You almost feel like you cheated when you get up there.
 
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