Two Nights at Crocker Cirque Camp, Carrabassett Valley, ME - July 7-9, 2023

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Rhody Seth

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My friend put this trip together to grab six peaks he and his son needed for the NE67. The plan was to spend two nights at Crocker Cirque Camp in Carrabasset Valley, ME. We'd hike the Crockers and Redington on the first full day and then the next day we would drop our backpacking gear at the car and continue south along the AT to climb Sugarloaf, Spaudling and Abraham.

With rain and thunderstorms threatening all weekend, we knew it would be wet and weather-dependent. As the trip neared, it was clear that we'd be getting heavy rain on Friday night. We all drove up separately on Friday - my New Hampshire friends spotted a car at the Abraham trailhead and I met them around 2 PM up the long, slightly sketchy Caribou Pond Road to to begin our hike. It was only 1.5 miles to the campsite but as soon as we stepped onto the AT we heard thunder in the distance. We had hoped we would beat it but it was not to be - it began pouring right after we reached the campsite. Thus began everyone's frantic, wet set up. The tarp users fared better here but we were all soaked in short order. Thankfully the warm temps made for a memorable but non-threatening drenching. We spent the afternoon in the rain watching Rob attempt to get a fire going before settling down for one of the best nights of hammock sleep I've had.



The following day boasted much better weather, though it would become very humid and hot as the day wore on. We were treated to fine views during our multiple climbs of South Crocker as we branched off in different directions, first to climb North Crocker and then to take the herd path to Redington. Bugs were a real pain at times. I had done South Crocker and Redington the previous year but North Crocker was #54 on my NE67. We arrived back at camp in the early afternoon, cooled off in the stream and got a fire going to ward off the mosquitos which were hungry. A few thru-hikers showed up a few hours later, took a look at us and retreated closer to the AT to set up camp. I think they were afraid we'd be rowdy but we all retired to our beds by 7:30. Another great night of sleep in the hammock and in the morning we packed up and returned to our cars to deload for the long hike ahead.

 
Nice video. I've never understood why that tent site is so close to the road. Also, I think that camping in the rain is just a miserable experience. Glad to see that you seem to be able to handle it with good humor.
 
Also, I think that camping in the rain is just a miserable experience. Glad to see that you seem to be able to handle it with good humor.

The fact that we could stand around in the rain without getting cold made a big difference. Also having boys with us who were happy to be out in it. Had the rain continued into Saturday we might have been singing a different tune. 😄
 
I loved that campsite, my wife and stayed there while doing those same mountains. We were in our tent late at night and heard a moose walking by.

It's a large enough site to get away from thru-hikers if you want. By that stage in their journey the north-bound ones can be pretty nuts.
 
I loved that campsite, my wife and stayed there while doing those same mountains. We were in our tent late at night and heard a moose walking by.

It's a large enough site to get away from thru-hikers if you want. By that stage in their journey the north-bound ones can be pretty nuts.

No moose sightings sadly though that cirque does certainly seem like a place they'd frequent. Saw plenty of moose droppings during the weekend though.

Definitely a big campsite and besides the 3-4 platforms there were plenty of spots deeper in the woods where you could make camp, as well as several closer to the AT where the thru-hikers chose to camp. We were a little surprised how few thru-hikers turned up on Saturday - though after following the AT south the next day it's clear plenty are just taking advantage on the established spots right on the trail. I imagine a lot of 'em just camp wherever they end up when it starts getting late.
 
How was the parking situation there (the Crocker side)? My map shows that you can drive in to the AT on Caribou Valley Rd. Looks to be a dirt road. Was it in decent shape? How big was the lot? I've wanted to climb Abraham for awhile now and now that I've seen your video I'm thinking this might be my next hike.
 
How was the parking situation there (the Crocker side)? My map shows that you can drive in to the AT on Caribou Valley Rd. Looks to be a dirt road. Was it in decent shape? How big was the lot? I've wanted to climb Abraham for awhile now and now that I've seen your video I'm thinking this might be my next hike.

Yeah you can follow Caribou Valley Rd up to a gate that will get you within 1/2 mile of the AT. Plenty of room for cars, you can fit 8 or 9 in a row probably. And line cars up on the far side of the lot if necessary. Or just park on the side before you get to the gate.

I guess the road's shape qualifies as "decent." A few washed out sections - they mark the portion of the road to avoid with signs. A lot of bumps and drops to avoid/skirt. There are 3-4 big dips where'll you want to make sure you're going extra slow. I took my time in my Santa Fe and was fine - I would not try it in a car with low clearance.
 
Yeah you can follow Caribou Valley Rd up to a gate that will get you within 1/2 mile of the AT. Plenty of room for cars, you can fit 8 or 9 in a row probably. And line cars up on the far side of the lot if necessary. Or just park on the side before you get to the gate.

I guess the road's shape qualifies as "decent." A few washed out sections - they mark the portion of the road to avoid with signs. A lot of bumps and drops to avoid/skirt. There are 3-4 big dips where'll you want to make sure you're going extra slow. I took my time in my Santa Fe and was fine - I would not try it in a car with low clearance.
Excellent. Thanks. I have a CrossTrek so I'm usually fine unless the road is really sketchy.
 
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