Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cupsuptic Snow, Maine (#89), June 21, 2014

Cupsuptic Snow , Maine (3,784') via logging road, bushwhack, herd path 6/21/14.

Mileage:  3.9 miles (RT)

Elevation gain:  1,200'
Trailhead:  My friend Beth's (Damselfly’s) directions:

From Eustis/Stratton:

"Rt. 27 to Tim Pond Road
17.3 mi. - Kennebago River
17.7 mi. - R onto Wiggle Brook Rd.
18.9 mi. - bear R (Sol Brk. Rd. goes L)
20.5 mi. - Wiggle Brook Rd. turns sharply to the R
21.0 mi. - L turn at the "Triangle T-stop"
24.7 mi. - road goes L; sign on a tree, road marker "22" (we didn't see this sign but the road is obvious); turn left to drive .4 further and park.

Parking on Road #22.


From the car, continue straight on the overgrown logging road. Turn left onto first big road (also overgrown, grassy & ferny) at about .33 mile. (There is a small pile of rocks here on a flat rock; the rocks had fallen and we almost missed it. We built them back up.)

Once parked, head down this road


Left at this cairn on a big rock.


Heading up that first left turn.
Still climbing, you'll come to a large opening or field, perhaps the overgrown remains of a log landing area. Go straight across. You'll see a wood arrow and rock pile on the other side, confirming that you should go straight.”

The arrow.
We went straight and continued to ascend the logging road, which curves to the left.  We walked over a stream (culvert), and wound up at a large rectangular lot (like a messy dirt parking lot). 

Here's where the rest of Damselfly's description differed as logging operations had changed the landscape. 


The big rectangle. Look to your right.



Arrow shows far right corner, go here.


The well-established herd path is located up a small hill, accessed by entering an old clearing beginning at the far right corner of this rectangular lot.


Head to this corner.  (The path will veer to the left toward the summit as you gain elevation, heading up the ridge to the summit.)
Close-up far right corner of the rectangle (walk through this debris/logging slash).

To meet the herd path, walk over the debris/slash for about 50 feet and you should see a cairn and an arrow.  

Arrow after the slash.

Head left and up the small hill through ferns and slash toward the trees.

Go up toward the trees.

There will be several cairns higher up in this clearing to point the way to the path (which goes into the trees).  


Cairns leading the way to the path.
The herd path is more visible higher up. It's tricky to find it at the bottom as logging operations obliterated the lower portion of it.  But if you head up from this point you should intercept the path.

On the ridge parts of the path may be hidden by large ferns. 



Keeping on the path in the ferns is tricky- area just below the canister.
Continue up the ridge to the summit canister.  Note: on the way back there are two places where the path forks - go right at each fork.

+++++

Hiked with Sarah and friends today as part of a weekend peak bagging adventure to do 3/6 pack in Stratton, Maine. 


The six-pack refers to six New England Hundred Highest peaks clustered together just south of the Canadian border: Boundary Peak, Snow Chain of Ponds, Cupsuptic Snow, East Kennebago, North Kennebago Divide and White Cap. 

Sarah was three away from completing her Hundred Highest list (needing just the Snows and E. Kennebago) and invited like-minded friends to traipse around logging roads, through woods and on ATV trails to reach these final peaks.  

Cupsuptic Snow seemed the most labor intensive of the peaks so we put that one first, with plans to summit East Kennebago later in the day.
When you’re this close to completing a list, you leave nothing to chance.  Each of us did some research on Cupsuptic, consulting wise hiker-friends (the Obi-wan Kenobes of the NEHH) and checking the most up-to-date reports.  We had maps of the Cupsuptic Quandrangle, compasses, GPS’s and directions. 
The weather was perfect that day and we piled into the car around 7 a.m., headed out to logging road #22.
Don’t underestimate the time and effort it takes to drive the dirt roads of Franklin County. Some areas are rough and slow-going; you'll be dodging ruts, ditches, middle-of-the-road piles of earth, all-consuming puddles and yes, grouse attacks.  We spent almost as much time in the car as we did on our hikes. 
We used my friend Beth's (Damselfly's) directions -see above.

Logging operations had changed the landscape and we could no longer follow Beth's directions. Left to our own devices we bushwhacked up through old, messy clear cut corridors and finally intercepted the herd path on the ridge.

The corridors we took up were worse than bushwhacking through the woods as logging debris littered the ground, from bristly branches to angled, jutting dead trees.  My GPS showed we were parallel to Beth's route, close to it as we ascended.
Logging mess. I was certain we'd intercept Beth's herd path.



Once on the ridge we went left and easily found the canister.

We signed the register, took photos and headed down via the herd path. 

Some viewage.....

Twice we came across forks in the path and twice we went right  (seemed like the way to go). Further down we saw a few cairns, other's attempts to show the way.

We popped out on the right side of the rectangle clearing in that messy old cut that obliterated the herd path, and quickly set up cairns and arrows to show the way for the next guy (mindful of the time, we had one more hike to do). 


 One hike down, two to go.