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Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Fort Mountain, North Brother, South Brother, Mt. Coe, ME
Trails
Trails: Marston Trail, herd path, Mt. Coe Trail, South Brother Spur
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, July 7, 2018
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Marston Trailhead is easy to park at and has plenty of accommodations. I was the second party to start that day. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Streams were a bit high, probably from the rain the day before, but not much trouble to cross. The upper Marston Trail on North Brother was a literal stream but thankfully was shallow enough to mostly cover only boot soles.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The Marston Trail could certainly use some drainage/log work on the balsam fir plateau (just below the upper junction with the Mount Coe Trail) - it was very wet in spots. The Marston Trail is also particularly eroded, steep, and rough on the last section up the cone of North Brother, and as noted was practically a stream all the way to treeline. All other trails were fine; Mt. Coe slide was mostly dry, a few wet slabs on the lower sections. The herd path to Fort Mountain is not too hard to follow, for those who are experienced at traveling such paths. It is marked with orange flagging tape, which I found to be generally reliable. Some blowdowns in the col between North Brother and Fort had me checking for a couple minutes for the right way to go. In places, the trail tread is invisible under the scrub and you must "follow your feet" to move along the trail. The path also takes some short twists and turns in the final scramble up Fort.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: No dogs allowed in Baxter Park. 
Bugs
Bugs: The coolness of the day (following the end of the heat wave) temporarily knocked down the bugs in the morning, but by mid-afternoon they were back with a vengeance - South Brother and Coe were particularly infested with black flies. Mosquitoes also dominated lower down in the evening.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
 
Comments
Comments: This was a 12-hour hike to bag the Brothers peaks, plus Fort. The day was crystal-clear after the passage of the cold front and the end of the heat wave - 60s higher up and beautiful cool breezes all day. Despite this, I only saw about 10 people all day and had the summits to myself.

I also visited the 1944 plane crash site on Fort - it's certainly not for the novice hiker. You need to be good at following faint paths and be willing to grapple with scrappy scrub. Basically, from the summit of Fort, make your way along the ridgecrest until you get back into dense scrub, then search out barely discernible paths that seem to gradually coalesce into one flagged route leading to the wreck, which is about 150 vertical feet below the summit ridge on the south side and about 0.25 miles from the summit itself. It took me about 20-25 minutes to get from the summit to the wreck (5 1/2 hrs from the trailhead); others may take longer. It is quite the sobering experience being in such wild country where this tragedy occurred! A memorable hike for sure.  
Name
Name: Dan Saxton 
E-Mail
E-Mail: apologist497@yahoo.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2018-07-09 
Link
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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