|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Number Four Mountain, Baker Mountain, Lily Bay Mountain - East Peak , ME|
||Number Four Mountain Trail, Baker Mountain Trail, bushwhack |
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, August 7, 2023|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||My gps did not have me follow the guidebook’s directions but rather turned right onto Meadow Brook Rd a few miles earlier and stayed on it about 4mi to the trailhead. Note that if you are trying to follow the guidebook’s directions, they do not quite seem to line up with Gaia: namely, you’re only on Frenchtown Rd very briefly before turning right onto Lagoon Brook Rd. Anyway, I believe the entirety of Lily Bay Rd is paved but Meadow Brook Rd was not. It was in fine shape for low clearance cars I believe for the first 1.75mi but then once it turns left (and an off-white line continues straight ahead on Gaia) the road became rougher with soem exposed culverts and I’d say you need at least mid clearance from here. Not sure what the other side of the road looks like coming on from the north as the guidebook describes. I did not note a new parking area either; just roadside parking next to the trailhead in the grass; room for several cars. I was the only car there at 1:45pm and shortly before 8:30pm. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||None…rather impressive for such a long hike! |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Number Four Mtn Trail is blazed in light blue. Most of all of the blaze seemed a bit faded. Not really hard to follow but the trail switchbacks across the old firewarden’s route so much that one could easily get “off trail” and follow that rather than the true trail and I don’t recall how frequent the blazing was. Also, I did not find the trail nor the old route to seem very eroded. I only recall one maybe mid-sized blowdown about 30min into my hike (about 10min before some log steps) that had a herd path just to the side. The herd path was angled though and destroying the ground so hopefully this blowdown will get taken care of soon. Baker Mtn Trail is blazed in blue until it crosses the snowmobile trail. I don’t recall how frequently but newer than the blazing on Number Four but nonetheless could be difficult for beginners to follow with a very lightly trodden footbed. Beyond the snowmobile crossing, trail markings are both more sporadic and change from blue blaze to red ski diamonds. There were many blowdowns along the trail, particularly along the Number Four side including 1) a mostly untrimmed step onto to get over about 10min from summit of Number 4, 2) a mid-large sized untrimmed crawl under a couple mins later, 3) a partially delimbed stepover underneath two leaners/widowmakers all mid-large sized a couple mins after, 4) a large, mostly delimbed crawl under or straddled about 5min after. |
||Fine trails for dogs but not sure how much water there’d be. |
||If memory serves correctly, they weren’t bad at all. |
|Lost and Found:
||2nd day in New Vineyard. After sleeping in, I finally managed to drag myself out here. I had a feeling this hike would be right up my alley and sure enough it was. Wild, remote, lightly travelled, generally nice grades, good footing, views, bushwhack, it had it all!! |
The trail up Number Four is kind of odd in that although the guidebook described the old firewarden’s path as eroded, 1) it didn’t seem much more or less eroded than the footpath, 2) it wasn’t much steeper than other sections of the trail, and 3) the trail is constantly crossing over it and the old path is not very well “blocked” so that you could easily wind up following it. It also just kind of gave you the impression that you weren’t going anywhere once you saw how much more direct the old trail was. Anyway, the grades and footing aren’t all that bad even in the steep sections and before you know it you’re on the summit. Sketchy “ladder” and without a cab, I certainly wasn’t going to climb up there so views were limited for me. That said, as the guidebook mentions, there’s a viewpoint and bench just beyond the summit. It was cool to see how far away Baker Mtn and even Lily Bay seemed to be! Definitely will give you a sense of accomplishment!
Note that there was no obvious path of 50ft to a viewpoint on left shortly before the summit. I think I may have found it (the only thing remotely resembling a herd path on the left side of the trail of ascending) but there were some blowdowns at its start, it was overgrown so much so that I can’t believe it’s really been used in several years at least, and any view there was once has no been looong gone. There’s a summit register attached to the tower but it was soaked inside. The tendency on these sorts of peaks in Maine is to use a large notebook that doesn’t easily fit into plastic bags. Then it gets wet and ruined inside the register. Oh well.
After checking out the viewpoint, I continued on toward Baker. Lots of blowdowns along the way but not so prevalent as to make it unenjoyable. The trail is overgrown and lightly trodden which will appeal to many. It may unnerve beginners. Footing and grades are generally pleasant. When you come to the snowmobile trail crossing, then left and follow it for a few dozen feet maybe before turning right at a small sign (facing away from you) and a red ski diamond marker to begin the ascent toward Baker. This initial ascent toward a knob is perhaps the steepest the Baker Mtn Trail gets. The ascent up Baker feels a bit roundabout at times and can be very narrow and seemingly randomly cut into the side of the mountain but isn’t too bad. It does indeed go to the summit despite Gaia showing it ending a short ways north. A herd path continues south along the ridge presumably from those who’ve bushwhacked up from that side. I did not note any evidence of trail construction to connect with the trails to the south by Indian Mtn as the guidebook mentions. There’s a register here as well that I signed into as it was in much better shape.
On my return trip, I whacked to the east peak of Lily Bay Mtn located only about 1/4mi from the closest point Baker Mtn Trail gets to it. I whacked W/NW from nest this spot in what didn’t look like particularly inviting woods but weren’t that bad to start. I was expecting to get to the summit in 30min, hopefully less. It took 35-40. The woods, at times, weren’t that bad and even opened up some, but sticking to this W/NW line I encountered plenty of very thick patches as well, particularly around the summit. There’s some blowdown areas as well, one of which I sort of came to but this were easily negotiated compared to the thickness of some of the woods. They woods also had plenty of blowdowns. Grades ranged from moderate to very steep as anticipated. The one nice thing about the whack was that I immediately came to the summit register which I found in the NE corner of the highest contour on Gaia. The register went back to my birth year and had one sign in from earlier this year.
In coming off the summit, woods looked more open to the NE toward the HOL. Rushing against dark and sort of wanting to stick to what I knew, I didn’t head to the HOL as the whack would’ve been twice as long, but I did head NE in better woods and swing easterly, then SE’ly as woods allowed back to where I started my whack. I still hit thick woods, especially down low hit avoided some of the really nasty stuff up higher. Reading the summit register, it seems most encounter these thick woods bud my advice would be to start more due east of the summit and just spend a little longer in the woods. As a reference, it took me 25-30min to get down the summit this way.
Smooth sailing back to the car. Gaia had me at 13.5-13.75mi, 3600ft of gain, 6hr40min.
||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.