Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Sugarloaf Mountain, Spaulding Mountain, ME
Trails: Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Mountain Trail, Spaulding Mountain Spur
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, July 12, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Don't be discouraged by the poor condition of Caribou Valley Road by route 27. It appears a culvert has failed as the water has drained across the road leaving gullies. Most of the road is in good condition although there are some other rough spots. The bridges seem to be solid. The small parking area before the gate was full at 10:30AM so I parked alongside the road. The gate was open so it is possible to drive beyond this point. However, the bridges beyond the gate look questionable. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: South Branch of the Carrabassett River on rocks and a plank with friction surface was easy today. The plank was anchored by a tethered cord. This river could be difficult to cross in high water conditions. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: There were 3 or 4 downed trees on the AT between Sugarloaf and Spaulding. These were easy to walk around, duck under, or step over. Vegetative growth is crowding the AT as the trail tracks near the edge of the cirque. The 74 year trail maintainer is aware of these condition and intends to rectify these conditions. The caretaker uses an ATV to reach the summit of Sugarloaf and then descends the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail to access the AT. He has maintained this stretch of trail for a decade. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw a couple of dogs. One needed assistance to get up the steep rocky area. The crossing of the river may be difficult for some dogs in high water conditions. One owner said the plank helped her dog today. 
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: I had not been to either of these peaks since 1993. It was if I was on a new trail as I couldn't recall anything from the earlier hike. There are two small cairns with a white blaze on the left side of Caribou Valley Road about a half mile beyond the gate (no sign).
Shortly uphill from the river, the AT climbs steeply over large rocks. A PA AT thru hiker with a heavy pack lamented this section. The trail eases and passes close to the edge of a cirque. There is a fine view of a large rock slab on the headwall. I saw a couple cedar trees in this area. The Sugarloaf Mountain Trail leads up the slope with decent footing. There is a wood box with a lid protecting a spring source partly up this trail. The summit has three antennae and several buildings. The structures detract from the summit. In contrast, the views from the summit to the surrounding mountains are exceptional. I was alone on the summit for about a half an hour or so. The hike over to Spaulding is a good woods walk with minor up and downs with one final longer ascent up to the junction of the Spaulding Mountain Spur Trail. The spur trail is a short walk to the summit with a sign for 3988 feet MATC. There is a fine short side trail to a good lookout point towards Sugarloaf and Bigelow.
All of the local hikers were from Maine (Lamoine, Jay, near Waterville, and Cumberland). There were many AT thru and section hikers walking in both directions.
There was lots of Northern Meadowsweet (Spiraea), bunchberry, yellow hawkweed, and twinflower. Along Caribou Valley Road there are the usual roadside plants; daisies, hawkweed, etc  
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-07-13 
Link: http:// 
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