Mt Abraham, Spaulding and Sugarloaf are the backbone of Maine 4,000-footers and are three of the most spectacular summits in the state. Mt Abraham in particular has the largest alpine area outside of Katahdin.
|Mt Abraham's extensive, alpine summit|
I confess that I've been a little backlogged in writing about my summer and fall adventures. I was busy with writing about my Maine Island Trail trip and haven't written about all the other wonderful places I traveled in New England. On this particular three day kick, I set out to climb Sugarloaf, Spaulding, Abraham, the Crockers and Redington which all went quite smoothly.
I actually climbing Mt Spaulding last year at about this time but I did not follow the AMC's strict code for 4,000-footer hiking by taking the ski lift. Oh well, I would be back. Anyways, the weather was wonderful and I was feeling great so I hiked from the Sugarloaf resort onward. Here's the map:
View Hiking Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Mt Abraham
in a larger map
There is another trail which climbs Mt Abraham from the southeast and is well marked but difficult to get to. The roads out to the trailhead are rough and unmarked and I've read that the bridges are washed out. Its longer to hike Abraham from Sugarloaf but the trail is better.
Leaving from the Sugarloaf parking lot, its a slog up the trails to the summit of Sugarloaf. While the views are incredible, it's just not the same to be hiking up ski trails. There's really nothing much to it- just keep hiking up some ski trail until you can't climb any higher. I've actually climbed Sugarloaf so many times that I've become a little numb to its grandeur.
|Looking off towards Mt Abraham from Sugarloaf|
From the summit of Sugarloaf, you have to poke around for the side trail which descends to the Appalachian Trail. This is about a 0.6 mile trail which descends rapidly. At the AT junction, head left to make your way to Spaulding. Its a hilly trail which cuts along the ridgeline connecting the two summits. Its not too steep and not too far to Spaulding, just about 2.2 miles. It is a particularly gorgeous section as it meanders through alpine forests and precipitous cliffs. There is certainly enough to see to keep your mind off of the up and downs. Mt Spaulding itself is not much more than a little elevated pyramid on the backbone of Sugarloaf but the view is nice.
From here, it is about 3.7 miles further to the summit of Abraham. There is a small lean-to which could serve as an overnight site for either tents or just a sleeping bag. The lean-to was abuzz with activity from thru-hikers and weekenders. It was a nice place to have a little siesta.
|The bare summit of Mt Abraham, Maine|
|Great view of Subarloaf and Mt Spaulding, Maine|
There's a pretty clear turn-off trail for Mt Abraham about a mile past the Spaudling Lean-To. From here, is about another 1.8 miles to the summit of Mt Abraham. The trail crosses through deep woods before coming out on the bare and massive summit. Its quite dicey clambering up the summit because its not a trail but rather a route up basketball sized rocks. Its a bit of an ordeal but the view from Abraham is phenomenal.
Mt Abraham really is something special. Although I was on the summit proper, the rest of the mountain was in view and I wished I had planned on more time to hike the 2-3 miles of bare ridgeline. It reminded me much of Katahdin except that I was the only person around. My camera had no time to rest-
|Wish I could have hiked the whole ridgeline...|
|The Appalachians seem to go on forever|
I hiked back the same way I came which was arduous but I enjoyed sunset on Spaulding and saw billions of stars on Sugarloaf. I wasn't even bummed about coming back so late!
Well there goes a few more 4,000-footers on the list which never disappoints. Tomorrow I would be attempting the infamous Mt Redington followed by a bid for both Crockers.
Read. Plan. Get Out There!