|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Speckled Mountain, ME|
||Cold Brook Trail, Evergreen Link|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, March 1, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I called the Evergreen Valley Inn Saturday and they were fine with us parking there. They even let us use their bathroom. They were very kind and it was very much appreciated! Looked like a nice place to stay and didn’t seem like a bad base camp if planning a bunch of hikes in this area :) All the roads in were clear of snow/ice but there are some huge potholes, frost heaves, etc. on the roads in (mostly further out towards Fryeburg in fact!!). To access the dirt lot discussed in the guidebook for Evergreen Link, I think you’ve got to take a left on Mtn Rd on this little loop. We didn’t see the lot. If redlining, you should technically hike Evergreen Link from that lot. The trailhead for Cold Brook Trail is visible from the road. Not much snow so we just pulled off and parked there. |
||Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The only crossings were of Cold Brook at 1.9mi and maybe one other. They were both open and a little awkward; Cold Brook because it was a long step across to the other side and the other because you had to descend steeply to it. Unless water is high they shouldn’t pose any real challenges. The pond on the ledges was totally snow covered and not discernible. I believe I spotted it on the descent though. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Cold Brook Trail was mostly unblazed. The only blaze we saw was on the steeper part after the jct with Evergreen Link and before the ledges. The faded yellow blaze was nice to see on occasion through this section but still not frequent. No blaze spotted below that spot and none above although there could be some on the ledges although it’s unlikely as it’s in a wilderness area. There were some cairns spotted on the ledges but they are mostly snow covered. The Evergreen Link Trail I don’t remember being blazed but I could be wrong. I remember it being signed in a spot or two as we descended and it intersected with other roads. I don’t recall a trailhead for it anywhere although we started from the Evergreen Valley Inn and not the gravel parking area. Other than the trailhead, I don’t recall Cold Brook Trail being signed. There wasn’t a sign for the Caribou Speckled Wilderness either. The sign for the jct of Cold Brook, Bickford Brook, and Red Rock trails was still above snow and we’d probably need 2ft of new snow to totally cover it. Very little in the way of blowdowns surprisingly. I only recall one leaner/duck under although there are probably a couple I’m forgetting about. Lots of branches to the face higher up although I think we did fairly well knocking most of the snow of the branches for you! |
||We had one dog with us and it did okay. Make sure to bring a coat for it and booties! It was fairly cold up there Sunday. |
|Lost and Found:
||Nice small group hike (5 people) to Speckled Mtn in Maine. All but one of us is working towards redlining the White Mtn Guide. Lucky me, I also got to say I was working on the Maine Mtn Guide ;) Started between 8:30 and 8:45am and it was 19F. Lucky us, it warmed up to 25F when we returned. It was mostly sunny which helped but there was also a descent wind blowing although easy to hike in if you’ve got some experience. We even stayed to eat and drink a little bit at the top before heading down although face protection was necessary for most of us at that point and some had trouble getting there hands to warm back up. |
We spotted a car at the Evergreen Valley Inn, then drove to the Cold Brook Trail to start our hike. It begins on a icy road. Couldn’t use snowshoes here unfortunately but micro spikes were needed. As soon as we were off the road I threw my snowshoes on as they weren’t playing well with my pack. That said, you could easily microspike until the jct with Evergreen Link Trail (and a little past it should you choose to do so as it was snowmobile packed. It’d be very useful to have either the guidebook or a GPS with you (my friends said the trail’s didn’t come up for them on Gaia but they showed for me with my Gaia Topo overlay) to know which way to turn at various intersections with snowmobile trails, logging roads, etc. There’s a section of trail shortly before the jct with Evergreen Link where the trail seems to be totally lost. No trail corridor and totally overgrown (and this is winter...) but the trail didn’t seem to be anywhere else, Gaia showed us on it, and it popped back into the open shortly and in a very logical spot just before the jct. Again, a GPS will help.
From the jct we continued up at a moderate grade. Until this point the snow was very crusty and supportive such that snowshoes were entirely unnecessary. A little while after the jct, the snow slowly began to transition to powder (not dry) and depths began to increase. Probably a half mile or so from the jct everyone else put on their snowshoes. We continued on up hardly noticing the steep section the guidebook describes. Breaking trail here will definitely slow you down but the grades really aren’t that bad. We eventually made it to the ledges. Things were still mostly powder but occasionally hard packed snow. The views are beautiful here although I still like the Bickford Brook and Bluberry Loop more to the summit :) The Trail wasn’t too bad to follow on the ledges even without blaze and with the cairns mostly covered by snow. We consulted Gaia several times of course but following your nose through here if your an experienced hiker should mostly do the trick. There was a moderate wind on the ledges but it was bearable and we stopped plenty. The ledge section is a long 0.9mi before dipping back into the trees for the final half mile to the summit. There’s a big cluster of branches to the face right before you reach the open summit.
There were five of us and a dog so there is a very good snowshoe track laid out now so if you need these trails for redlining now would certainly be the time to get them. I really enjoyed this hike and the great company :)
||Liam Cooney |
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.