|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Frye Mountain , ME|
||Frye Mountain Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, December 19, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Huge area to park by the DIFW building as the guidebook describes. No issues with winter access. The road is closed and gated. |
||Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow - Drifts |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||I was a little worried about the crossing of Bartlett Stream where there’s a high water route around it but it turned out to be pretty easy. All crossings were, at worst, a submerged rock hop, or partially bridged. One water crossing had a partial snow bridge that was failing. Even without it, it looked like you could hop across on submerged rocks easily enough. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Yup, there’s lots of blowdowns both from wind, snow, new, and old. Probably won’t change until spring. The trail is very well blazed in blue (thank goodness!) but only aids with finding the trail so much (see notes below). Jcts are signed except for where the highwater route rejoins the trail. |
||Sure. Note that I hear that this area has lots of ticks in season. |
||I hear this area has lots of ticks in season. |
|Lost and Found:
||As I drove out for another Maine redlining mini-vacation stationed in Ellsworth, I hiked this along the way and to break up the drive just a little. Took a lot more out of me than I would’ve figured. I’d planned on doing another hike after this but given my late start and the fact that this took WAY longer than anticipated, instead the goal was to get out of this without needing to out the headlamp which I was barely successful in. |
This is another example of Maine’s theme of very long trails to very short mountains. I started out at the trailhead, then had to be careful to not miss the left hand turn as few had gone that way and it was obscured by snow-laden trees. From there, I stayed on the trail but it was quite difficult to follow despite it being profusely well blazed because 1) snow laden trees, brush, and blowdowns often obscured the trail corridor, 2) the corridor isn’t much of a corridor as the trail mostly weaves through hardwoods and is obscure to follow without a footbed to see, and 3) many blazes are covered up by snow stuck to the trees. On the note of snow, I figured this area would’ve gotten only a dusting to a couple inches of snow and mostly would’ve gotten rain in the last storm but I guess it was far enough inland to get some real snow. Still not enough at the trailhead to make me strap on the snowshoes to my feet or pack, but enough to make things slow down. Snow depth ranged from a trace to one spot up on the ledges where I stepped in a bush and postholed through it up past my knee. Snowshoes probably could’ve been used for the 2mi ridge walk but personally I didn’t regret not bringing them. Snow depth varied depending on elevation (even though the highest point is only about 600ft higher than the trailhead) but as a very general rule was 4-6in. Minor drifting and deeper pockets of snow on the minimal ledge around the loop jct. Although snowshoe conditions were borderline, with todays rain, I have to imagine snowshoes will absolutely not be useable until we get more snow.
I did not take the high water route as it’s not needed for redlining. It was well marked where it leaves the trail but I didn’t note it returning. Note that the section of trail that contours along the SE side of the mountain is very long. Because I was chasing daylight at the end, I opted to take the road/snowmobile trail back to the lot instead. It was about 1.5mi instead of 2.5mi+ on the trail with lots of PUDS and less nice walking. I was “breaking trail” in the minimal powder most of the way except on the road which had seen some snowmobile traffic. Snow cover was pretty consistent save for some wet areas and seepages. I got a foot wet in one. Views are minimal on this hike. As one experienced Maine hiker later said to me, “this is not the crown Jewell” of the Midcoast tab.
While this would be a much easier hike in summer, note that I’ve heard ticks may be an issue. Here’s my stats but keep in mind I took the road back and yet my mileage is STILL much higher than the books due to all the wondering I did trying to find the trail; it’s amazing how so little snow can totally obscure a trail in the hardwoods. Just under 12mi with roughly 1800ft of gain. Took me a little more than 8.5hrs to complete. Oh well, at least the Midcoast tab is finally broken in!
||Liam Cooney |
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.