Here are some of the recently submitted hike reports. These are only teasers; be sure to click 'More' to see the full report!
My son (almost four years old) and I reached the trail head around 8:15 in the morning. It felt very dark, because you are completely overshadowed by trees. The trail starts off fairly steep up some rock stairs, before leveling off almost immediately to a more comfortable walk through the woods.
I hiked this mountain with my son, who is not quite four years old. Neither one of us had hiked it before, but I'd read that it was a good family hike. This was definitely true. The trail is wide enough that Toby could hold my hand and walk next to me comfortably most of the way up the mountain. We never had any trouble following the trail, and it was clearly marked with red blazes all the way to the summit. There were a couple places where the trail forked, but there were also signs clearly showing which way to go.
We started from the Bri-Mar trailhead, which is privately owned and maintained by the Huntress family, and graciously shared with the public. Please be sure to respect the instructions posted at the trailhead, which are reasonable and simple (no littering, daylight hours only, etc).
The trail is named after two people - Brian and Marlene Huntress, who hiked the mountain back in the 60s.
The trail begins as a mowed path through a pasture, and then dives down into the woods. My son said, "It's like going into a tunnel!" because the tree branches were thick overhead.
Right inside the woods there is a gate, which is not designed to keep hikers out, but vehicles. duck under the bar or go around it as you choose!
Shortly after this, you' (more...)
I did this hike today with my son, who is almost four years old. The hike turned out to be much longer than we anticipated - but only because we took a wrong turn and ended up a couple miles from the Bri-Mar parking lot.
The Ledges Trail is appropriately named, as there are a few places where you are hiking over rock ledge. Nothing that my almost-four-year-old son couldn't handle. Although on the way back down I did insist that he hold my hand over the rock face; he has a tendency to slip if he's standing on pine needles which are on top of rock ledge!
There were wild blueberry bushes everywhere, and in mid-July when we went, the berries were ripe and delicious. We had to stop several times along the way just to pick more berries.
There isn't much for views at the summit, but fortunately the stone tower gets you above the trees so you can see. From Douglas Mountain you can see Pleasant Mountain to the west, Sebago Lake to the East, and many other mountains, (more...)
From the parking lot, we chose to go up the Ledges Trail. This meant walking back out from the car to the road, turning left, continuing up the road to where it dead-ends. The trail head is on the left.
Views at the top are still nice, though! (more...)
Not as nice an experience as it was last time (not just because of the parking issue, and the fact that the trail had moved). It appears that no one is maintaining the trails very well any more; the trail divides several times, but there's very little blazing, so it's tough to know which fork goes where. On the way down, we ended up on a trail that led to a roadway that dumped us out onto the main road further down from where we started.
The trail up Hawk Mountain is actually more like a road than a trail. Mind you, I wouldn't drive my car over it, but I did see evidence that some vehicles - probably jeeps or ATVs had made the trip up.
For the most part the trail was dry, but near the top, where it starts leveling out, there were a lot of large puddles in the road, so we had to skirt around the edges of the road.
At one point, right around that time, we saw a branch in the trail that went off the left. We wondered which way led to the summit, and guessed that we should go straight. That turned out to be a good guess.
After walking on fairly level ground for a bit, we actually dipped down a bit, which made me worry we'd taken the wrong trail. However, we came out in a clearing with a bit of a view looking out over a pond/lake.
I hiked Hawk Mountain with my wife and two children. Our boy, who is almost four, hiked up, while our daughter (sixteen months) rode in a pack on my back.
Sabino Hill is the home of Fort Baldwin. If you're looking to hike up to the forts, it's a really short hike over a dirt road.
The trail was muddy in places (not surprising, considering we'd had over two inches of rain the day or two prior to hiking!)
It was not overly steep, but just steep enough to get our hearts pumping, since we tend to hike at a pretty good pace.
The summit consists of a couple ledges with views toward the south and east, and a little toward the west.
View of Pleasant Mountain
View of Kearsarge North and Chocorua
I did read in one hike report that although the hike is easily doable by children, care should be taken since there are open ledges with steep drop-offs. This is (more...)
Starting out at the parking lot, you don't travel very far before you reach a fork in the trail. Go left, or go straight ahead - either way you'll get to the summit. I don't really think there's much difference between the two - the trails were very similar, and we could have done the loop in either direction without any problem. Laura voted for clockwise, so we turned left.
Caribou Speckled Wilderness Notice
Some of the trails are rough, and not all are well marked, but overall, if you're paying attention, you shouldn't have too much trouble.
At 0.6 miles, you have to make a choice - go straight on Bickford Brook Trail for the 3.5 miles to the summit of Speckled, or turn right on the Blueberry Ridge trail for the 0.9 miles to the summit of Blueberry.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to do both mountains, so I figured it made sense to do the shorter one first. I'm glad I did the loop in that direction - the 0.9 miles to the first summit was easily the steepest and most strenuous part of the hike. I'd rather hike UP over a (more...)
The trail from Brickett Place starts out pretty easy; a little uphill at the beginning, but then mostly level for the first half-mile. Somewhere during this stretch you'll see a sign telling you that you're entering the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness, and you should expect to encounter rough and not-well-marked trails.
The trail is not terribly long, and it is also not particularly steep, so it's easily accessible by the whole family. At the top there is a very tall observation tower, from which you can get views of the lakes and hills all around.
You can actually do a loop, because there is a gravel road (I assume it's used to maintain cell towers). So you can go up through the woods and down the road - or vice versa! (more...)
I think one of the most interesting things about this mountain trail is not the views from the summit, but some of the trees you'll see along the way.