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Trip to Saddleback Mountain 4120’ Rangeley, Maine 7/8/01

10.2 miles

Kevin, Judy and Emma and Jane

We did this hike on one of our trips to Lake Mooselookmeguntic in Rangeley, Maine. The trail across the summit of Mount Saddleback is part of the Appalachian Trail. Starting on Rte. 4 just east of Rangeley the trail is an easy grade winding up past Plazza Rock Campsite, then past tiny Ethel Pond and then past larger Eddy Pond where we see some men in a small boat fishing, apparently gaining access from a service road in the Saddleback Ski Area. Now the trail begins to climb and we soon rise above the trees to the first of several frustrating false summits. Jane and Jude collectively groan as we cross each of these and see another one just beyond and slightly higher each time. As they start to lag behind me on the trail Jane names the hike the “Kevin Talbot Death March”. Hey, I just want to get to the summit so we can rest and eat. It’s a hot July day, but overcast so at least the sun isn’t beating down on us. Crossing open ledges toward the summit, we have to be especially careful of the fragile Diapensia which are scattered like snowflakes all about, it was hard to find places to step where there wasn’t any. After crossing the 3rd or 4th false summit, we could see a rise ahead with a trailhead post at the top and decided that had to be our summit. Looking around I was wishing it was a better view day, as visibility was only a couple of miles, (we’ll have to go back!). It’s funny how different conditioning can help people do different things. Now Jude and I have been climbing a lot of mountains, but Jane runs marathons! Neither Jude nor I could run for 26 minutes, never mind 26 miles, but this hike didn’t whip us like it did Jane, and I think fatigue on the way down led to a misstep by Jane that caused a nasty fall, skinning her arm and scaring the heck out of us. Luckily there were no broken bones and when the blood was cleaned up, only minor damage to her arm. But I felt bad, maybe I had pushed too hard to get through and should have taken an easier pace. Anyway it was a great climb and when we were done we went back to the camp and had a great meal, as we are known to do when in Rangeley. K(44) J(35) E(24)
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