|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Old Blue Mountain, ME|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, January 1, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||To access this portion of the AT, you must travel about 7 miles up South Arm Road just off ME 120 in Andover. This is a paved road, but barely a two lane road. Since power lines stop about 4 miles in, the road is not eligible for routine winter maintenance. However, each time I have been here the road has been plowed (today some pavement showing through in sunny spots) and sanded in the curves and on inclines. It receives modest, but regular vehicular use. I discourage two-wheel drive vehicles (unless you have studded tires) as it gets very icy in parts. All wheel drive and caution served me fine. The few other vehicles I saw today were trucks or SUVs with snow tires. For the trailhead, look for a DOT yellow hiker crossing sign. Find a place to park roadside after this sign. There is a pretty good skirt on the southbound side of the road. You really have to be looking in the woods to see the wooden register signs from the road. |
||Ice - Black, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Wet/Sticky |
||Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||There are no water crossings on this trail |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Several blow downs, 4 obstruct the trail and have to be hiked around. Blazes up and in great shape. |
||The first 0.6 miles gain 900 feet of elevation. There are metal rungs to assist with climbing up a boulder. This may be too much for a dog in winter unless you bushwhack waaaayyy around this section. Summer should be fine though. There are several small brooks along the trail in normal rain seasons. Winter is “dry.” |
|Lost and Found:
||Old Blue is a traditional Maine mountain: rugged, steep at the start, narrow little footpath next to significant drop offs, phenomenal views at the summit. The only really rough part is the super steep climb out of Black Brook Notch (the junction with South Arm Road). It is technical in winter. One must be comfortable on steep winter terrain during this part. At the time of this writing an ice axe was not needed. But once out of the notch the trail really mellows and is quite a nice hike in some beautiful woods. Moose prints galore up on the knobs.|
Today the trail was ice, ice, ice. Thick ice, thin ice, blue ice, black ice, yellow ice, ice that ran for 100 feet, ice that hid under snow ... Man. It was a lot of ice. The metal rungs just below the summit were ensconced in ice. We had to bushwhack around. Micro spikes did just fine on the trail, both ascending and descending. Snowshoes took a ride on the packs (snowshoe solidarity!). Snow depth was 2 inches at most. There was a set of footprints going along the trail and beyond the summit. I assume it was someone section hiking to Rangeley as there were no return prints.
If you want solitude and a truly unique Maine AT experience, I recommend this trail and summit.
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.