|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Caribou Mountain, Black Mountain - West Peak, Black Mountain - East Peak, Mt. Catherine , ME|
||Dynamite Brook Road, Caribou Mountain Trail, Caribou Loop Trail, Redman Beach Trail, Catherine Mountain Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, December 20, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Dynamite Brook Rd was not plowed nor was the parking lot for Tunk Mtn. There was a set of tire tracks going up the former and 4WD and perhaps AWD would do fine on the steep initial incline but I wasn’t taking my FWD small SUV up that. Parking at the base of the road seemed like a good option except for the fact that signs said you couldn’t. Fearing I wouldn’t be able to get back up the small incline of the Tunk lot to the road, I parked alongside it in a couple inches of snow. No problem getting out. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Drifts |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The pond outlets were very easy to cross. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||All trails were blazed in blue. Although it was easier to follow than yesterday’s adventure on Frye Mtn, it was not as profusely well blazed. Expect to do a bit of route finding at certain points in winter. The jct of Caribou Loop with Caribou Mtn Trail has a sign and I don’t recall exactly what it says, but what I can tell you is that it does not make clear what direction the eastern half of the loop goes in. Any blazes or cairn are underneath the snow and not immediately visible too. Combing up the other direction it was obvious though. More on that below. |
||I got a kick out of the number and variety of spiders crawling on top of the tire tracks on Dynamite Brook Rd. |
|Lost and Found:
||1st full day of my stay in Ellsworth. A half hr drive brought me to this fun little hike to break in the Downeast tab. This hike is harder than it looks with so many ups and downs but I found it far more pleasant than Frye Mtn the day before. |
From the Tunk Mtn lot, I crossed the road and walked a couple hundred feet west maybe to Dynamite Brook Rd. I walked along that in tire tracks surrounded by a few inches of snow to the start of the trail which I’d actually begin to walk by. I ascended Caribou Mtn Trail at her ally east-moderate grades with just one or two spots where I had to look for the trail to the jct with Caribou Loop Trail. Along the way I passed the small sign for Mt Catherine which could easily get covered by snow. At the jct, it is not clear where the east side of the Caribou Loop goes so I hiked the loop counter-clockwise. Nice view here too. Up to this point snow was of minimal depth to a few inches I’d say. Snow depth around the immediate vicinity of the summits and maybe along the ridges was enough that you might be able to get away with using snowshoes but I certainly didn’t regret my decision to leave them in the car. Overall, snow depth was a little less than what I saw the day before on Frye Mtn. Although a long OAB for a spur trail needed for redlining, I enjoyed the Redmans Beach Trail. No snow as you approach the beach. Some minor PUDS but generally easy grades and quick going. I liked the beach area.
I then ascended to the wooded western summit of Black Mtn. The eastern summit was open and windy though and actually had some deep drifts. One seemed to be over 2ft maybe closer to 3ft but then I realized I’d also steeped off a rock. In any case, I still wouldn’t find snowshoes useful here as you might be wading through a foot or two of snow for 5ft then have best ledge for the next 20ft. Like the northern Presidentials after the first snowstorm before there’s consistent snow cover. Long, low climb on the east side of the loop before ascending back up to Caribou Mtn Trail where I didn’t note this half of the trail reaching it earlier. It comes up the ledge and there is a cairn a short ways down, just not visible from the jct itself.
On the way out, I did an OAB to the summit of Mt Catherine. I guess I’ll wrap up this area another time by hiking the other half of Mt Catherine, Mt Tunk, and the other trails on Black Mtn and Schoodic. I look forward to returning to these low mountains with nice views :) 14mi, 2800ft of gain, 8.5hrs.
||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.