Recent trip to Maine to almost complete our NE3Ks

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Nov 16, 2012
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Montréal, QC
On July 16th we got to Jackman to get a straggler, Coburn that we missed on an aborted trip pre-COVID19. We followed the snowmobile trail and took the steep herdpath up to the "fire tower" / antenna at the top. We then headed to Moosehead lake to get a proper start to this two-weeks trip. We completed the day by going over Big Moose from the trail on the back side, there is some fire tower related stuff at the TH, but the tower is long gone and there is antenna there (you still get a good view point). The next day, we went on the logging rd for the "Number 4 mountain" TH, watch out there is some exposed culverts. No mention of the new trail to Baker at the TH and no proper parking. There is a remnant of a fire tower there, but we didn't try to climb it, there is a good viewpoint close anyway where you can see the Bakers and the Lily Bays (there is a bench). The trail to Baker felt endless, non-peakbaggers are probably disappointed to do an extra 5 miles (one way) to get a no-view summit and a canister. The out and back bushwhack to the 2 sub-peaks was not that bad, but it was still a pretty long day. The following day we headed towards the same logging rd, but took a turn towards the north side of the Lily Bays. Going up to the highest one was okay, but the flat area between the two was pretty bad (actually worse than what we later found on Big Spencer). Then we registered (bring a lot of cash) in at Hedgehog checkpoint and got a Pleasant River site for 3 nights, since it was still early, we had the opportunity to add the Gulf Hagas loop to the trip, it was nice, but I feel it's kinda overrated.

Next morning we headed to the Greenwood pond rd, it's pretty rough, but you can nearly go all the way to the pond with a Subaru. Big Spruce was a "quick" out and back then we found an abandoned rd going from the pond to the south side of Little Spruce and Big Shanty (easier thanks to a township boundary), we did a traverse from there and we came back on the rd, a short part of this old road was utterly destroyed and replaced by a new much bigger one coming from the south. On our last day in the Ki/Jo-Mary forest, we first went to the logging rd for the White Brook AT connector trail. There was some active logging there, but they didn't block the road, after a clearing, the roads become more of a trail, even a Jeep couldn't reach the actual TH where the sign is. Before going to White Cap, we did an out and back to Hay and West, from White Cap we could get a nice view over the peaks we did the day before and one towards BSP on the other side. Since it was still early in the day, we decided to add the NE Fifty Finest Saddleback (2998'), so we took another unmaintained logging rd up to a bridge that we deemed unsafe (for our tires) and then walked about 1 mile on it before starting the pretty steep bushwhack directly to the top. We missed the talus field (similar to Vose Spur) on the way up, but we got it going down, but you can find a view from near the top too.

After getting out of those private roads, we took an easy day, a long drive back towards Jackman to do Moxie (another NE Fifty Finest) from the south TH (Heald pond) than a quick hike on Kineo from the boat shuttle in Rockwood.

Before heading out to BSP, we had 2 more hikes to do on the way, so the next morning we followed some logging road to the RAM trail TH of Little Spencer, this trail is steep all the way and has a scrambling section similar to the one on East Osceola (but with no way around to make it easier on the way down). We came back on the logging road going to BSP, but first made a turn towards Big Spencer TH. The trail goes up to a where a fire tower probably existed (now there is one small and one huge antenna) but not to the actual summit. The out and back bushwhack towards the first and then the second (SW) summit is pretty bad, but I don't agree it deserves it's awful reputation. Actually the worst part was the bugs, we got the nets out. There is a view point from the SW summit.

Our first day in BSP was a in and out to do Moose Bosom W., it's a ~1 mi bushwhack from Double Top trail from Slaughter pond (southern end), there is a good viewpoint at the summit. Our 4 nights reservation for Nesowadnehunk Field Campground started the next day, but we first stopped by North Brother TH. We finally got a view from Fort (10 years after, the herdpath is now even easier to follow), on our last visit it was completely foggy, so we could anticipate how fun it would be to go down towards the col to Mullen. That was probably the harshest bushwhack of the trip, but with the nice boulder field and the 360' view on the summit, it was well worth it. Our way out was a tad easier, but longer, reaching the Center pond trail trying to circumvent "Bald" mountain was no fun and the trail itself wasn't that great (so many planks!). The next day was the only rainy day, we headed back to town to get a real breakfast at the AT Cafe. Back in the park the weather improved a bit so we decided to do The Owl to avoid any temptation to do it from Barren. The last part of the trail is steep and above treeline, so we were glad we didn't get any storm, a must-do in the park.

The next morning we drove all the way from our campsite to Roaring Brook TH. S. Turner has a trail and a nice 360' view summit. The bushwhack towards N. Turner was actually pleasant (we avoided some flat areas) and we discovered that it's summit is even better than the south one, kinda surprising they never built a trail there. To come back to Roaring Brook, we took the Russel pond trail. Our last 3k was Barren, we started from the Owl trail then did a side-hilling bushwhack towards the base of the slide. The slide is loose rocks, no slabs, kinda like ADK's Macomb, but it goes nearly to the top. The summit area is pretty small (two rocks), but you probably get the best 360' view in the park, you can see everything (Brothers, Kathadin, Travelers, etc.). Our silly mistake was not to take back the slide down, we followed the "ridge" that has a nicer slope towards the trail, but even after fighting our way on the top, it was still thick with plenty of blowdowns at lower elevation.

As we saw that the weather was looking good for our last day, we had no choice but to add a "short" hike on Kathadin. We never did Dudley or Saddle trails, so we combined them in a loop (going over the knife edge), Dudley was re-routed a couple years ago (the trail is actually still being built) but sadly it seems the re-routed killed the most exposed part of the trail (there is still some fun scrambling to do when you reach back the old trail).

After this trip, we have only 1 peak left in ME, Twin Peaks close to the border (still need to figure out the best way to do it), the 4 in PA and 5 private ones in NY that might haunt us for a while.

Moose Bosom
N. Turner
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Added some extra photos:

Bench near "Number 4"
Big Spruce from White Cap
Greenwood pond, Little Spruce and Big Shanty from White Cap
Boulders on Saddleback
The Owl
Yeah, in 2018/2019 we didn't hike much for personal reasons then COVID hit, so this trip was really overdue.
Had you already done the East peak of Coburn, did you do it on this trip, or on a later one?
Had you already done the East peak of Coburn, did you do it on this trip, or on a later one?
Yeah, on a previous trip that was interrupted by bad weather, that's when we did the Boundary Balds. Still have that Twin to do to at least complete the NewEng 3k officially.
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