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 Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16 
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 Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
While we sat on Widlcat D last weekend Greg and I got to considering what we wanted to do for the upcoming weekend. Our experience with New York left us feeling like long drives may really just be relative, so Greg threw out the idea of heading over to do some of the Maine 4K's we need over in the Rangeley area. I Google mapped the drive time from the exit 23 park and ride and discovered it was only about 3 hours 50 minutes to get to Saddleback ski area. With that decided we met a bit before 6:30 and headed off into what was shaping up to be gorgeous weather. As Google maps suggested being the shortest route we took Rt. 16 all the way up except for a short jump of of Rt. 4 in Maine to get to Dallas Road and Saddleback Road to the ski area. What shocked us, however, was how long it actually did take to get there....3 hours exactly including a 10 minute gas stop. We usually can't get to Pittsburg, NH that quick! We got our gear together, headed behind the ski lodge, and started up for the fun.

Me and my new antlers. (to answer inevitable questions....yes I wore them all day, yes I got plenty of comments, and my usual response was "I am trying to masquerade as a local")
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Get ready to rumble.
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The ski lodge. Parking is just below it, and the hiking trail is behind it to the right.
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As you can imagine it is a pretty straight up shot on the ski trails. Greg likes sucking wind. :D
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As we climbed we spotted an interesting bump not far off that appeared to have a road and tower on it.
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As we later learned it is called Quill Hill, and it has an access road to the summit you can drive (for a small fee) or hike up (for free) to get 360 degree views. We almost visited it after our hike was done but opted out for another time. For more information visit their website

As we ascended we got our first glimpse of the Horn through the opening of a side ski trail.
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Approaching the higher reaches of the ski trail provided a great taste of what was to come.
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From here out we are off the ski trails to the summit.
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Greg approaching the first bump of the summit area.
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This. Does not. Suck. :D
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The second bump that is the actual summit calls to us.
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Greg on the summit pretending to be Ansel Adams.
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Remember what I just said....this does not suck.
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It was blowing really good, so much so I think even the poor summit sign couldn't take it.
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We decided, upon seeing the Horn 1.6 miles away (or 1.7 depending on which source you believe :roll: ) we decided to save it for another day and turned around.
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OK, not really. I'm just scrooin' round. :twisted:
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Sucketh this doth not.
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Into the col between the two you drop back into scrub spruce which helped to block the wind for a bit.
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And there is a wobbly metal ladder to aid in climbing one boulder.
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And then you eventually start to climb again.
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Greg says "Muy Bueno!"
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Looking back at Saddleback.
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Here comes the Horn!
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Voila!
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Nein! Zis does not zuck!
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Non! Je ne pas le suck!
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After soaking in the views we headed out of the wind for a more sheltered spot and spent a good 20 minutes kicking back and enjoying food, views and planning costumes for a Halloween hike. :twisted: Eventually we got going again and headed back into the col. Now, when we were heading to the Horn we noticed in the col blue blazes and a trail that came in there at the col. Both of us wondered where it went and why it was there as it was not on my Maine map (I chalked it up to me having an old edition of the map and guide). Well, as we were returning to that spot a huge group had just appeared. One guy announced to the group that "this trail is now officially open!" Yup, we walked smack dab into the opening of a new side trail. As we were climbing back out of the col we could even hear them hammering the new trail sign into a tree. They then headed up to the closest rocky area to kick back for a bit.
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We passed back over the summit of Saddleback and made our way to the ski trails once again where Greg couldn't help but have some fun.
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Of course this made for an interesting conversation with Greg's mother on Facebook:
Greg's Mom: "What kind of pose is that?"
Me: "This is his 'look mom, I'm smiling' pose."
Greg's Mom: "It looks like he is thinking of what to do with hands."
Me: "And now you know why I call him butterfingers. :twisted: "

And with that we finished out the trek back down to the ski lodge and the car waiting for us.
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It was a gorgeous day, with temps exactly where I love them. No bugs. Awesome views. Two more Maine 4Ks done (making the total a whopping 3 for me, 5 for Greg). Fall color slightly starting to creep into the trees (give it about a week and a half and it will probably at peak up there). What more could we ask for!? As I mentioned above we had considered heading over to do Quill Hill until we learned of the fee to drive up. We would have hiked up instead, but it was getting a tad late and we wanted to get home. So we set off into the waning sun stopping only for some Burger King in Gorham for some food to-go. We met that morning at 6:30am, and I was back in my driveway in Goffstown at 6:30pm. Not too shabby I would say!

Brian


Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:39 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Love these peaks! The AT approach is far nicer though, albeit a lot longer (~14mi r.t.). Over a mile more of awesome and relatively easy ledge walking approaching the main summit.

I assume the "new trail" in the col comes up from the ski area? I'm going to have to find out more about it for exploration purposes. That will likely become the new peakbaggers route of choice too, as it sounds like 2 fairly short out and backs from the col.

If you guys (or anyone else here) makes it up Quill Hill, you shall have to report back if it should be added to a certain list ;)

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Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:35 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
madmattd wrote:
I assume the "new trail" in the col comes up from the ski area? I'm going to have to find out more about it for exploration purposes. That will likely become the new peakbaggers route of choice too, as it sounds like 2 fairly short out and backs from the col.


Alas no. It comes in from the Eastern side, not Western. We saw this building down below in the distance and I am now thinking it may be where it starts from:

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Quote:
If you guys (or anyone else here) makes it up Quill Hill, you shall have to report back if it should be added to a certain list ;)


That was my first thought. :twisted: When Greg said 360 degree views my mind started turning about adding it to our list. :lol:

Brian


Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:40 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
I loved these mountains, even better using the AT as Matt mentioned (although maybe not in unbroken winter conditions) but the hike between the two peaks is more than enough to make the trip worth it. I was surprised when Bob listed the Maine peaks he would be willing to return to this was not on his list. Like you, I thought this one did not suck. Interesting about the new trail. I wonder if the new ownership of the ski resort is not going to allow hikers to use the trails in ski season or something??

New Hampshire wrote:
Our experience with New York left us feeling like long drives may really just be relative


I have been espousing this belief for years but nobody would listen to me except thegibba!! :lol: Maybe it's just one of those things you have the revelation of for yourself to believe it. You'll find out soon (if you haven't already) once you go down that rabbits hole there's no turning back! Adirondacks, Maine 4K's, Acadia, Baxter as a day trip...sure why not?! All may be even better as overnight trips but the payoff is more than worth the drive as day trips if you do them right. With a friend and some good music you're there before you know it, although the ride home never seems to be quite as easy. :?


Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:58 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Granite Guy wrote:
Baxter as a day trip...sure why not?!


Funny you say that. I had that idea for several years now ever since I read about (I think in Forest and Crag, but not quite sure) 3 guys who lived in Boston, or around there, back in the 50's or so. They would get out of work Friday night, drive all night to Baxter and hike all weekend. So I figured hey, why not do something similar. Drive up Friday night, park at the gate, probably be first in line even, then power nap till opening, do hike, drive back and be in your own bed late Saturday night/Sunday morning. And now that you can reserve spots at trailheads for a small fee it adds to the incentive. The way I figured it was this would allow one to better choose their weather window than having to plan weeks in advance. The only time in Baxter I was psyched to go and bag Katahdin, but just our luck an overnight rain at near freezing meant that the big boys were covered in snow, and since Baxter authorities are more skittish, they closed the summit. No one could hike it. So I drove all the way up there just to hike South Turner and some of the low level options. :(

A return to Acadia and the Catskills too has been in the works for a while too. Greg has never been to either, so it should be fun. 8)

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Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:49 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Saturday was a great day up north. Looks like the perfect day for that hike. It's the only one I had less than stellar weather on.

Gutta love them ski trails. Just ask Bob. 8)

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Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:48 am
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Isn't that col the best ever? I did this several years ago with "Scoutmaster" Gary, and yes Joe, it was by the ski trails, and yes it sucked. :lol: We also had just about every bit of weather conditions imaginable on the hike: rain, snow, sleet, and a freak sideways-blowing hailstorm as we descended back down Saddleback, forcing us to duck behind one of the maintenance buildings. But what I remember most is the col, which is usually not the most memorable part of a hike, but there was just something about it...we even saw a rainbow on the way to the Horn.

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Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:03 am
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
BobC wrote:
...we even saw a rainbow on the way to the Horn.


Hey, and not only was there a moose-man sighting but a unicorn one too. I guess that place is magical! :lol:


Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:31 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Congrats on two more Maine Fours in the bag!

When I did Saddleback and the Horn (from the ski area), it was late August, but the wind chills on top of Saddleback were at or below freezing. Felt refreshing, actually! The AT approach interests me, though...

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Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:26 pm
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
I just realized if you'd joined me every-time I asked you along this summer, this trip report would been a duplicate of mine. Finishing up the ME 4K's. D'oh! :P

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Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:23 am
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
JustJoe wrote:
I just realized if you'd joined me every-time I asked you along this summer, this trip report would been a duplicate of mine. Finishing up the ME 4K's. D'oh! :P


Alas Baxter has proven to be my white whale for a long time now. There was no way I could have worked that one out, which is why i am pretty sure the only option I have now is the daytrip idea. Actually that idea twice since I will need a second trip for North Brother. No biggie though, the NE67 is more like a minor diversion than anything....a minor diversion with excellent views, I will grant. :lol:

Brian


Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:56 am
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
Ok, I HAVE TO ASK, did u run into any Canadians? If so, any mean looks on the shirt? :lol:

I couldnt even imagine drivingto baxter in a day, hiking and then driving all the way home,why not just camp?


Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:25 am
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 Re: Saddleback and the Horn, ME 9-17-16
hiking lady wrote:
Ok, I HAVE TO ASK, did u run into any Canadians? If so, any mean looks on the shirt? :lol:


No Canadians were encountered (or harmed) in the making of this hike. :D

Quote:
I couldnt even imagine drivingto baxter in a day, hiking and then driving all the way home,why not just camp?


The main problem with camping in the park is that with the reservation system you kind of have to plan in advance. You kind of have to hope that the weather works in your favor for the weekend you go. I had this reality brought home the one and only time (so far) I went to Baxter. I arrived late on a Friday afternoon to it raining. Overnight the temps dropped and the rain turned to snow. In Baxter the authorities have the power to close any trails they deem necessary for safety reasons. So of course all the higher summits closed for the weekend. By not binding myself to camping I can better choose the time frame and weather window, and with the new system that allows you to reserve spots at trailheads of your choice it means better flexibility. 8)


Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:04 am
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