|Gorgeous view of the Klondike and Katahdin from the Brothers Loop|
The Brothers loop will definitely take you all day but there are some fantastic summits along the way-
The first 1.1 miles to the junction are pleasantly steep. At the junction, you can either head right and tackle the infamous Mt Coe slide first or head left and climb North Brother first. Either way, its a flatter ascent at first followed by a murderously steep section. I elected to head up North Brother first so that if afternoon thunderstorms came in, I would be off its bare summit by then. It is 2.0 miles from this junction to the saddle between North and South Brother. The trail is very well marked and open.
|Nice view of Doubletop Mtn from the brothers trail|
I should note that the view on top of North Brother is usually amazing and later that day when I had clear weather, I could tell you could see most of the park from the summit. Alas, that's just another reason why I will have to come back some day.
|Looking off towards Fort Mountain from North Brother|
Damn that was a struggle! I know that many have been on worse bushwacks than this and in the way of New England bushwacks, this one's nothing. The fact that there is at least a somewhat clear route with tape makes it easier... but by the time I was on the summit of Fort Mountain, I was sliced, diced and not feeling to happy about this decision. There wasn't even a view in the fog. Why do I do these things?
Ah well... all part of the New England hiking experience. I made my way back through the bush and popped back out on the summit of North Brother. I couldn't believe that the total round-trip distance to Fort and back was 1.2 miles. Bummah!
|The summit of South Brother|
The weather was finally moving out, as predicted that day. The hike instantly turned from misery to magnificence. One should always expect rough weather when hiking in Maine which makes good weather all the more enjoyable. I actually spent some considerable time on the summit which is also rare in New England as I usually get chased off by fierce winds or a threatening thunderstorm.
|Doubletop Mountain from South Brother|
|Clear weather on the brothers loop|
|View of the Brothers from Mt Coe|
Although the ascent up to the Brothers saddle had been crazy as well as the up and down and up and down of North Brother and Fort Mountain... my biggest challenged lied ahead- the Mt Coe slide. There's really no nice nor easy way to go up or down Mt Coe. The slide is exposed, steep, slippery and rocky. It is reminiscent of the slides on the Tripyramids in New Hampshire if you've ever done them. Going up it is tough but coming down it is tougher. There were just too many opportunities to lose one's footing and slide down 500 feet of scree. I would say this was the least enjoyable part of the day. You've been warned!
|Might not look too bad from this picture... but it was a heck of a way to get down|
According to my map, the distance was about 11 miles which includes the crazy jaunt over to Fort Mountain. Without that, its about 9.5 miles, I believe but other sources and other maps may differ. Regardless, it is a full day's hike and there's enough ascents and descents to make it a challenge for anyone. The fun's not done; I camped out at Nesowadnehunk Field and was off to the summit of Doubletop the next day. Boy did I rest well that night though!
Read. Plan. Get Out There!