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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Big Spencer Mountain, ME
Trails
Trails: Big Spencer Mountain Trail, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 25, 2022
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Direction to TH as described in AMC's Maine Mountain Guide (11th edition) is good. However, make sure to stay left at the fork approx. 2.5 miles after the Medawisla Lodge jct. - thereby passing Sias Hill on the Western side. Roads are in good condition and most cars could make this drive. However, good clearance and AWD are important on these roads, and anything less is risky.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: No issues. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Couple of blowdowns. Easy to navigate around. Trail in excellent condition.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: We studied any and all previous reports we could identify - from half a dozen different sources and going back well over a decade. Still agonized over whether it would be safe to take our dog, Brandy, with us. In the end caution prevailed and we did not bring her. Well, experienced and capable hiking dogs will not find this trail difficult. I would compare it to something like the Mount Osceola trail in difficulty. A boost/helping hand may be needed in a couple of places - but nothing serious and all places are well protected. However, the (short but difficult) bushwhack to the true summit is an entirely different story. An extremely canine unfriendly section.  
Bugs
Bugs:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
 
Comments
Comments: The AMC Guide (11th Edition) mentions 5 ladder sections. This is NOT correct. There are 2. The first is completely unnecessary. The second is helpful - but loose.

Various references to rope-sections may give the impression that this is all very steep and difficult. I disagree completely. Steep yes - but not that difficult. One rope provides a useful help (with one step) in one spot. That is all.

The false summit (end of the trail portion) is rather unattractive. 3 platforms, several buildings, solar panels and some towers. Some trash (an eyesore - not much of a hazard). But the views are great.

The bushwhack - very close to 0.3 mile by my estimation - is rough and it is slow going. Gaia shows 3 "bumps" with 3,200 ft. contour lines. On USGS maps the first 2 appear merged. We visited all of them and searched in vain for any markings, canisters or signs. I have seen photo (7-8 years old, I think) of a glass-jar. We did not find it.

Post hike I did some work (with the help of an experienced cartographer and LIDAR based data with 2' contour intervals) to determine where exactly the highest point is on the ridge. This work shows the true summit (estimated to be 3,224') to be extremely close to the crosshair mark on the USGS map (which marks the summit as 3,206'). This point is the 0.3 mile whack mentioned above. Second highest point (3,220') is approx. 275' closer to the platforms/buildings. There is no way you can determine which of these 2 points are the highest when you are walking the ridge.

Finally, congratulations to Helle on completing the 50 Finest.  
Name
Name: LongMark 
E-Mail
E-Mail: perfrost@yahoo.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2022-09-28 
Link
Link: https:// 
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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