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 Spaulding Mountain (and Sugarloaf), ME (NE4K #65)- 4/20/16 
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 Spaulding Mountain (and Sugarloaf), ME (NE4K #65)- 4/20/16
I had back to back days off from work, which doesn't happen often, so I chose to spend the first day in Maine hiking my last 4K in the High Peaks region, 4,010 ft. Spaulding Mountain. I left my house around 4:20 AM and made my way to the Sugarloaf Mtn area. I initially thought about approaching Spaulding from Caribou Valley Rd, and I actually drove the first mile of that road, but I turned back because of the potential for some gnarly mud in the afternoon. Ended up going up the ski trails.

The hike up Sugarloaf via the ski trails was similar to the last time I hiked it using them, so I'll spare you the nitty gritty. I will say, though, that the snow was melting- fast. I saw snow-cats taking stuff down from Bullwinkles Lodge, plus their end of season hours were posted, so I think the ski area will be closing very soon. Anyway, about an hour and a half after starting, I got to the cold, windy summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Unlike the first time, the top was in the clear with excellent views in all directions! Spent a few taking it all in and then headed down the Sugarloaf Side Trail to begin the hike to #65.

Once on the side path, conditions changed dramatically. There was a monorail buried under some newer stuff that hadn't been tracked out in a while, and if you stepped off that monorail, you'd post hole 1-3 feet. It was like that the ENTIRE way to Spaulding from Sugarloaf's summit. 0.6 mi later, I got to the AT junction, then followed the AT to the Spaulding side trail. All I can say about the AT here- PUD hell! About 300 ft of elevation gain BOTH ways. The deep, somewhat unconsolidated snow didn't help my cause. After a steep approach 3.8 mi in, I got to the side path, then made a steep 150 yd. climb to the summit of my 65th New England 4K :D .

The summit was wooded, per usual, but not viewless. There was actually a very good view over toward Mt. Washington and Saddleback Mountain, which I was pleasantly surprised about :) . There was also a view toward Sugarloaf and the Bigelows, accessed by another side path. Finally, there was a restricted view to Mt. Redington over the summit spur. I hung around and took some pics and drank some water, then headed back the way I came to the car at the base lodge. (Didn't stay too long because if you're caught on Sugarloaf property after operating hours, they basically kick you out.)

Overall, this was a tough but neat hike. Didn't like the postholing and the tough-to-see monorail, but the views were nice, and once off Sugarloaf, I didn't see anyone else the whole time. I'm noticing a trend with doing the Maine 4Ks in the "off-season" :wink: .

Now, it's onward to Baxter State Park for my final two peaks on the 67- Hamlin Peak and North Brother. Dunno when exactly it'll happen, but I'd say in a couple months (June/early July). Gonna try to get a big group together to drive up, camp for about 3-5 nights or so, and hike the last two. If I have time, I might do Doubletop for the 50 Finest, but Traveler might have to wait :( . Roundtrip distance for this hike was 9.8 miles with 3,900 ft. of elevation gain, and it took a little less than 5.5 hours not including breaks.

Here's the video recap: https://youtu.be/mpAURDro350

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:32 am
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 Re: Spaulding Mountain (and Sugarloaf), ME (NE4K #65)- 4/20/
hiker0200 wrote:
(Didn't stay too long because if you're caught on Sugarloaf property after operating hours, they basically kick you out.)


If you're on your way down anyhow, what else can they do to you? Make you move faster?? My condolences on having to use the ski trail route twice, and the deep spring snow. I think I'd have waited a month or so if it were me. At least you had blue skies overhead.


Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:05 pm
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 Re: Spaulding Mountain (and Sugarloaf), ME (NE4K #65)- 4/20/
Granite Guy wrote:
hiker0200 wrote:
(Didn't stay too long because if you're caught on Sugarloaf property after operating hours, they basically kick you out.)


If you're on your way down anyhow, what else can they do to you? Make you move faster??


According to the ski area website, they clear the mountain of guests and employees daily at the end of operating hours. Anyone still there will be required to ski down. I don't ski, nor do I know how to, so I was afraid they'd take me down on a snowmobile/snow cat, thus rendering the entire hike null and void :shock: . Maybe I was overreacting, though.

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My condolences on having to use the ski trail route twice, and the deep spring snow.


Much appreciated, GG :wink: . I honestly didn't think it would be that bad. On the Bigelows one month prior, the snow wasn't this bad or deep. The last report of Spaulding was from January 30th, so I basically had nothing to refer to except the last hike I did in the area. Guess I've been hiking in the bony, icy Whites too much :lol: .

Quote:
I think I'd have waited a month or so if it were me. At least you had blue skies overhead.


Hey, we've all had hikes like this. It's all history now, and I can finally start planning my 67 finish :D ! I'm hoping it's better than my 48 finish was, at least in terms of weather. (AKA no rain, dark clouds, fog, mud, yadda yadda.)

Now if Spaulding was completely viewless, I'd be pissed after doing that 2.8 mile slog of a ridge walk. Not gonna lie.

_________________
NH4K: 48/48 (Completed 10/4/2014)
NE67: 67/67 (Completed 7/25/2016)
NE115: 74/115
NEFF: 31/50
NEHH: 75/100


Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:24 pm
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