|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Old Blue Mountain, ME|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, February 9, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||South Arm Road is paved and plowed to the trailhead and beyond. Very little salt and sand use though, so I advise an all wheel or 4 wheel drive as the road is hilly with curves. With the amount of traffic seen today this road does get some use.
There is a yellow DOT hiker crossing sign just prior to the AT crossing/trailhead. You must look carefully for a wooden notice sign nailed to a tree on the right. If you go past the hiker crossing sign on the left (for opposing traffic), you’ve gone too far. It is about 7.5 to 7.7 miles on South Arm Rd from the junction with ME 120 to the trailhead/crossing.
We parked on the road with two tires buried into the snow bank to prevent impediment of traffic. We also parked back a bit from the curve and where the road banks to the left so that traffic would not encounter this obstacle and go sliding... This did not seem an issue on this lightly used road. |
||Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts |
||Snowshoes, Ice Axe |
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Three new major blowdowns blocking the trail. Buggas! Blazing is standard white 2x6 blazes that are fresh and VERY well placed. Turns are correctly marked with double blazes. This trail is an example of excellent trail blazing. Metal rungs and handrails are solid. Much trail work has been recently done as evidenced by saw marks and brushing. Good work! |
||I think a trail proven dog would be fine. There are no water points in winter. As said below, there are some wicked steep sections but a dog, rather than humans, may have an easier time getting up these. |
||No. But they’re coming... |
|Lost and Found:
||What an adventure! This segment of the AT is apparently not used in winter. What a shame! Such a nice view at the summit! Though there may be SOME reasons it is not normally travelled in during snow season:|
The climb out of the notch from South Arm Rd is unforgivably steep. It can be unnerving in parts. Only one section had me really worried. After climbing away from the road, using metal rungs and a handrail to help, there is a part that traverses around the shoulder of a knob on the mountain to get to the col. It’s apparently a narrow foot way normally. But with unbroken snow and a steeply sloping side, the winter version becomes a bit scary. An ice ax would have negated these nerves allowing for supreme purchase along the steep slope and permitted a confident traverse of this sloping side. But we did it with just snowshoes and made it. There was also a portion of trail (maybe 0.1 to 0.2 miles) that travelled along the cliff edge. We elected to cut through the woods to avoid potentially sliding off the edge. It is quite a drop down through the trees on this steep part of the mountain.
After climbing out of the notch the trail becomes really nice and quite mellow, especially with all the snow. After this “chill” section the trail resumes its climb at moderate grades to the summit of Old Blue. It is a winter wonderland walk through the woods. Moose tracks postholed through some of it (jerks!) providing a welcome distraction to the trailbreaking slog of moving uphill through 2+ feet of unbroken powder. Plus they pooped and slept right on the trail. Have you guys not heard of Leave No Trace?!?! :)
The view was supreme today. We saw parts of Bemis Mtn, Roxbury Pond, Moody Mtn, Rumford Whitecap, Black Mountain, Sunday River Whitecap, Old Speck, and part of the Baldpates. There were many more but I did not recognize them from this perspective.
Given that the access road is plowed, I encourage experienced hikers to go “off grid” and check out this little gem tucked into a rugged part of Maine. I caution that those willing to explore be equipped and comfortable climbing/descending incredibly steep winter terrain. The payoff is quite beautiful.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.