Mt Crocker and South Crocker were the last of the Maine 4kers that were on my list. The glacial cirque along with the views of Sugarloaf and the Bigelows made for a nice last hike of the summer.
|View from the Crocker Trail on the Appalachian Trail|
After climbing Mt Redington, Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Abraham, it was time to round out this weekend with a hike of the Crocker Range. This was relatively tame compared to the other hikes but it was rigorous in it's own right. (Writing about this in November, its clear this post is long overdue). This would have been my last hike of the Summer 2013 season which was a great way to end. I started hiking the Maine 4kers a long time ago when I first climbed Katahdin. When I moved to Maine in 2011, the first thing I did was hike Old Speck
. It was a nice touch to be finally finishing this goal, especially towards the end of my graduate school program.
The Crocker Range is crossed by the Appalachian Trail and there are two ways to accomplish this range. One can either take the more difficult and longer route which starts from Route 16/27 and heads south (out and back, 12.4 miles total) or one can drive 5 miles up the Caribou Valley road, walk to the Appalachian Trail junction and head west (out and back, 6.2 miles total). I went with the lesser of the two since I was still sore from the Mt Redington
and Sugarloaf, Spaulding, Abraham
|Mt Crocker from the Appalachian Trail|
This was a pretty straightforward hike, not nearly like the confusing path that leads up Mt Redington. As such I was able to let my mind drift as I steadily climbed up the eastern flank of South Crocker. It is kind of silly to want to hike all the 4,000-footers in New England but the whimsical nature of it makes it a fun excuse to travel all around the mountains. The views were always great too.
The Crocker Range doesn't quite have the views like the nearby Sugarloaf and Mt Abraham however there were little clear pockets here and there which showcased the large glacial cirque of the range. Off in the distance, puffy clouds floated over the Bigelow Range, another epic adventure. It was noteworthy that at one point or another I could see every 4,000-footer in the state save for the Katahdin Peaks and Mt Abraham.
|Looking towards the Rangeley Lakes Area|
|A nice walk through the woods!|
It was about 2.1 miles to hike to the summit of South Crocker from the Appalachian Trail junction on Caribou Valley Road. There was a little side trail which lead to a smaller viewpoint. The trail continues on and drops about 300-400ft before ascending to the summit of Crocker Mountain which is the high point of the range. There are no views to speak of at the summit but if you search around, there are some clearings with views to the Rangeley Lakes area.
Its a short but steep out-and-back hike. I turned around and hiked the way I came. While it would have been nice to have some jubilee and celebration back at the trailhead, there was nobody around to congratulate me on the accomplishment of hiking all 14 of Maine's 4kers... oh well!
Read. Plan. Get Out There!