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January 14, 2018

North/South Crocker + Redington, for 55-57 of Winter NE 67

15.0 mi 

Some say a Crockers/Redington traverse is one of the hardest hikes in Winter. I would agree it's one of the tougher 15-mile hikes you can do! Coming off a disappointing day the previous day (got only Sugarloaf), we took on these peaks with a renewed and fueled gusto. Chris D joined us as well.

Took the bushwhack from the Sugarloaf Golf course. Park in the main lot, walk down the hill to the left past the clubhouse and around to the pump house. Cross the bridge over the Carrabassett and follow the cart path up to the 11th tee. The bushwhack starts to the left of the tee and takes you down to a sizable stream crossing. We crossed (use poles for best results) and maintained a track largely paralleling the stream until we came out at Caribou Valley Road (CVR), just before the 3-mile mark (from Route 27).

Took Caribou Valley Road to the AT junction on the right and headed up South Crocker. On the way to North Crocker, we ran into two guys coming the other way who _hadn't_ been ahead of us. They actually hiked the AT from Route 27, quite a feat to be taking on. They continued to South Crocker and eventually Redington.

Temps were very cold, below zero, but wind was light or non-existent, making this a very nice day. Cloudless skies provided views to the neighboring high peaks in all directions.

After summiting North Crocker, we headed back toward and over South Crocker, then started in on the bushwhack. At the AT boundary swath we ran into the same two guys from earlier; they ran into trouble finding the bushwhack off the AT boundary. We welcomed them into our little team.

The Redington whack was generally straightforward. We were helped by my GPS device and a downloaded track or two, courtesy of friends like Tim, Pam, Chris.

Three summits in the bag, we headed down the bushwhack and joined up with the old logging road/corridor and picked up a logging road and eventually Caribou Valley Road. The final road walk went much faster than we thought, though we did have to hike out in darkness the last three or so hours.

Plenty of bangs came from the bucks we spent on this one! Challenging, but still very rewarding - as Maine should be.

HikerSinger created a new track, Sugarloaf, from the ski area - 5.3 mi 
January 13, 2018

Sugarloaf, from the ski area

5.3 mi 

Another tough day to get in multiple peaks without hiking out in the cold wind and dark. Temps were well above freezing in the morning and a steady rain fell until about 10am. We decided to hold off until the rain switched to snow and got underway about 11. Took the Windrow and Timberline ski trails up, as directed by the Sugarloaf uphill access regulations ($10 access ticket) - http://sugarloaf.com/the-mountain/uphill-policy. Reached the summit a bit after 1pm and found good shelter from the strong winds behind the highest building/tower.

Had originally planned to hike over to Spaulding and even Abraham, but the morning rain and unsure LT conditions made it tough for us to reasonably do that. We would have had to hike out in the dark at least a couple hours, maybe more depending on trail conditions of the Sugarloaf Side Trail + LT. (Six miles round-trip to Spaulding and back to Sugarloaf, then another couple miles down.) We decided to leave them for another day, as we had two more days of hiking in the area ahead.

Surface conditions were easy enough. These two ski trails were closed due to lack of snow depth. Didn't really need snowshoes, but the televators made the climb easier. We didn't have to deal with any more than an inch or few of fresh snow. Snow fell the whole time we were out there. In places where snow was blown to one side of the trail, we occasionally broke through an ice crust, but we easily avoided it by hiking on or alongside the visible/mowed growth on the trail.

We'll be back for you, Spaulding + Abraham!