ast week I spent 5 days in Northern and Eastern Maine. When I returned my rental car, I had driven over
1200 miles in 5 days. Boy that country is big.
he peak is the high point of "The County" and so perhaps attracts a little more traffic than is deserved. It's far off the beaten path and although it's a nice climb, it has no special views. It's somewhere between "Just another viewless bushwhack" and "Not too bad".
The County High Pointer organization has a few trip reports (scroll down a bit to Aroostook County), and my route was similar to but not quite the same as several recent climbs.
One thing in common in several reports is that no one had found the "Benchmark", a C&GS Triangulation Station set in 1960 which is supposed to be "On the highest point of the mountain". It was just the extra challenge I needed to get to the peak and find that survey marker.
I took I-95 and Route 11 to Ashland and then 3 major logging roads: American Realty Road, Pinkham Road and Jake Mountain Road, for a total of about 25 miles (and a $10 day use fee) to get to the mountain. There was a relatively new logging road that goes north from Jake Mt. Rd just east of the mountain. This was actually totally drivable, but I was cautious and walked it since we had had so much recent rain and a small section near the turn off was flooded (only a few inches of water). I turned out this was the only bad spot, but what the hey, I didn't feeling like getting back in the car after I had started my hike. The "trailhead" is about .4 miles up this road, a short distance past a clear cut on the left (west) side of the road.
There's a road shown on the topo which goes up to the col, but it starts from another road a bit closer to the mountain which has been pretty much obliterated by logging. If you look at the topo, note the road going west from the point marked "1209T". In several reports from a few years back (2005 and 2006) the climber had found some flagging that went west from the new road over to that old road. Well, the flagging is long gone and the area is now covered by recent skid roads with lots of slash. I had put a GPS waypoint on the point where the road headed west towards the col, and I was able to find it without too much trouble.
My original plan was to try and follow some of the roads shown on the topo which go up on the west side of the peak, so I had set various waypoints to mark these roads.
But there was either too many roads, or too few, and so I gave up and just whacked from where I was to the top. It was honestly not too bad. If not for the heat and humidity, it would have been rather easy.
Once at the top, I set about digging for the marker. I had brought a metal detector since I knew it must be below the surface, and that helped. But it was a long process and I ultimately spent about two hours on the summit. Not all was doing work, I had to eat and rest some too, but clearly more time than your average bushwhacker would like to spend on such a peak. But of course I'm not your average bushwhacker - and come to think of it, I've never met your average bushwhacker .
Here's my report on the Benchmark hunting site for those interested in the gory details:
On the way down I decided 1) to forget about trying to find the county corner monument shown on the Topo near the peak, and 2) just to whack to
the col and forget about those other woods roads. I managed to get down easier than up (which is usually the case as long as you head down the right
side of the peak ), and my old road was also easier to follow. I got back to the car by about 2:20 and was done for the day, except for the minor
detail of heading up to Hamlin Maine to look for some boundary monuments . If you want to learn about that, read my report
ole Hill is in Amity Maine near the south end of the "North Line". What's that? Look at a map of Maine. The east border with Canada (the right hand side, for the directionally challenged) starts in Lubec on Passamaquoddy Bay, and then follows the Saint Croix River up past Calais, wiggles around and passes through a series of lakes, and finally wiggles it's way up to Aroostook County where it stops wiggling. Then the boundary line heads straight north to the Saint John River. That part of the border is called the "North Line". Where the wiggly line (the St. Croix) meets the straight line (the North Line) is what they determined in 1798 to be the source of the St. Croix, and they marked it with a cedar post. Then in 1843 they went high tech and put in a cast iron post. That's where I was floundering around in the bog on Monday.
Pole Hill rises just to the west (the US side) of the North Line about 1/2 mile north of the monument. It rises to 630+ feet (with a prominence of 80+ feet) so it's no Mount Everest (no, it's not even even a Great Blue Hill). But it was there (to quote someone famous) and it had a historic 1889 survey marker, so up I went (with ice ax, pitons, carabiners - no wait, that was Great Blue Hill ). The marker is actually a first order NGS station and historically it served to link the boundary line to the survey of the state of Maine and ultimately to the entire network of markers in the US in the late 19th century. Besides it's 120 years old this year so that's pretty cool.
I took Monument Road in from Route 1 and walked through some very wet and boggy terrain (as in a foot of standing water and who knows how deep the mud went). When I got to the swath I was at Monument 1A — the photo shows a view back to the south to the Initial Monument about a half mile back.
I walked up the swath to the north to Mounment 1B. From there I whacked up the hill on the US side to the old track road. After a few minutes walk along the road, Voila! there was the big boulder and on the bolder was the marker surrounded by a triangle chiseled in the rock. Well now, I must say, that was pretty easy.
Here's the Benchmark report: .
ye Hill is about 10 miles west of Calais in Baileyville Maine. I guess you could say it's a Pole Hill kind of mountain. But it was actually a tougher bushwhack than Pole Hill, maybe 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
It rises 590+ feet and I think I found Rye Hill's Saddle — it's a gravel pit west of Meddybemps Lake, elevation 190+. Prominence is therefore 400+ feet, the champ for today.
Here's the map: . You can see this is not exactly like Central Park. Switch to Google Earth and zoom in. If you just squint you might see a few old roads. They were still there, so I only has a few tenths of a mile to whack. Here's an annotated screenshot so you see what we're talking about:
I was doing this to "avenge" my failed 2007 attempt at finding the survey marker on the summit. It's from 1867 and it was one of the primary 19th century stations in the state of Maine. And it's just a copper bolt in the bedrock. It was last found in 1963, and we might assume mo one has looked for it since — except me.
When I got to the summit, I was in a field of rocks and heavy brush. The description said the marker was under a "rock pile" but this site was like one big rock pile (where rock pile = any 2 or more rocks on top of or next to one another). But luck would have it the first spot I tried set my metal detector to beeping, and after a few minutes of digging through dirt, roots, needles and assorted vegetation, BINGO, a genuine 1867 copper bolt. Revenge is sweet, I tell you.
Before leaving I left a proper cairn over the mark for the next searcher (who may come in another 46 years).
My benchmark report: .
aguerrewok Mountain has the distinction of being the only one of these 3 lesser peaks ever known to have been climbed by any person now alive besides myself. And rising to all of 380+ feet with prominence (I think) of 220+ feet, it's the baby brother by far of these 3 peaks. But I would say it's actually the nicest.
It's in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Sanctuary in Calais, about 5 miles west of town. Just before the bridge over the marsh stream as you drive west on Route 1, park at the gate on the left of the road signed Ice House Road. A 1/2 mile walk get's you to Dan's Road, a shady grassy gem, and 1/2 mile on this gets you to the top.
There are actual views to the west, and for those interested in survey markers, no digging or metal detecting are required. Just a few dozen feet north of the small communications shed is an exposed ledge with an iron bolt sticking about an inch or two with a chiseled triangle around it.
And here's the Benchmark report: .
And some pictures:
Well, th.th.that's all folks
But wait, how many of you peak baggers have bagged Pole Hill? Rye Hill? Maguerrewok?
forestgnome replied on 08-12-2009, 10:17 PM:
BillDC replied on 08-12-2009, 10:37 PM:
Jason Berard replied on 08-13-2009, 07:20 AM: