|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Bemis Mountain - First Peak, Bemis Mountain - Second Peak, Bemis Mountain - Third Peak, ME|
||Appalachian Trail, Bemis Stream Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, May 17, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked at Height of Land off ME 17 in Rangeley. This lot is paved and plowed in winter. Note: if hiking on a weekend you will likely not be able to park here as it is quite a popular scenic overlook parking lot. There is a small semi-paved area about 0.75 miles south of Height of Land off ME 17 that serves as the “official” parking area for the Bemis Stream trail. That area holds 4-5 cars. This little area is not plowed in winter. ME 17 is plowed after major snowstorms, but not during the storm. If you come in winter plan to use ME 4 as the access route. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||There is a shallow stream ford 0.8 miles into the hike when traveling southbound on the AT. Water at highest level goes above the ankle. We took our shoes off and went barefoot the first time. Augh it was cold! On the second crossing we were too tired to care and just walked through it. One large crossing of Bemis Stream that was done completely by rock hopping. This stream is fast moving but there are several crossing options. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||As always, Mother Nature knocks down trees with her wind power. Most can be handled with a hand saw. Bemis Stream trail: see notes below regarding logging operation that has obliterated the 1.4 miles of trail between the junction with ME 17 and just past Bemis Rd. |
||Great trails for dogs. Many water points. |
||Maine’s state bird, the black fly, is awake and hungry. Just keep moving... |
|Lost and Found:
Appalachian Trail (AT) southbound > Bemis Stream Trail > Bemis Rd road walk > AT northbound > end*.
*Modified from original route due to logging.
Appalachian Trail: well blazed in standard white 2x6 blazes. Carins on open ledges and at water crossing. This is such a nice piece of trail over the Bemis peaks. Winter navigation possible, may be confusing on ledges. Limited views on the ledges, but still nice! All signs up, legible, and intact. Shelter is in good shape. Shelter side trail is well blazed in blue. Water source for shelter running strong today. Very small, short segments of snow between Second and Third peaks. No snow gear needed. It should be totally gone by Thursday anyway.
Bemis Stream Trail: fantastic lightly used trail that provides a loop option to cover Bemis and come back to ME 17. This trail is very well blazed in blue, also blazed for winter navigation. The trail follows Bemis Stream down to the notch between Bemis and Height of Land and is great for bird watchers and anglers. Such a pretty trail! No snow. Lots of mud. Bogs teeming with life and tadpoles!! Moose prints and scat galore.
After leaving the old logging road nearing the Bemis Rd junction, the trail vanishes. Last year the final 0.25-0.3 miles were logged making egress on the final portion of this trail impossible. But it was a short, straight-forward bushwhack through the slash to ME 17.
This year the last 1.4 miles of land that the Bemis Stream trail traverses has been completely logged. There is no trail beyond the old logging road. The loggers “kindly” left the tree holding the AMC direction sign just past the Bemis Rd junction. But that’s it. Your looking at one little tree with a sign that reads “ME 17 —> 1.1 mi.” Humph. Not anymore.
So, after fuming about the loss of trail, we elected to forego a 2 hour “logging slash bushwhack” and simply walk down Bemis Rd (wide, nicely graded gravel road) back to the junction with the AT.
After reuniting with the AT, we then had to climb the steep notch walls 0.8 miles back to the parking area.
Side note: Gaia did not know Bemis Stream trail existed...
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.