Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Coe, South Brother, North Brother, Fort Mountain, ME
Trails: Marston Trail, Mt. Coe Trail, South Brother Trail, herd path
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, August 28, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of room at Mattson trailhead at 10:45am. Just a few other cars there. I was the last one at 7:15pm. Long drive in from South Gate. $16 for a day pass if you’re not a Maine resident. $42 for a season pass. Roads can be bumpy hit kept in good enough shape for low clearance cars.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All rock hopable  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Marston and Mt Coe Trails are blazed in blue. I didn’t find the latter’s markings on the slide to be very sufficient but that’s pretty typical on slides. I believe all signage was intact but the sign for OJI Link could be easily walked by as it’s on the edge of the woods along the slide and the trail doesn’t come terribly close to it if I recall correctly. I don’t recall if South Brother Trail was blazed but no problem following it. No blowdowns on the lower section of Marston I recall. First blowdown was 5-10min after exiting the top of the slide on Mt Coe Trail. Crawl under or straddled. Small and delimbed. I ran into a small and fresh looking stepover about 12min north of Coe and a mid-sized duck under/leaner right after it. 15-20min later, I ran into a small cluster of blowdowns. I think you had to crawl or straddled over them. One widow maker above the trail on South Brother just before reaching treeline. A number of blowdowns on the herd path to Fort but nothing too crazy. It is not marked.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Dogs are not allowed in BSP.  
Bugs: I don’t recall them being bad.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: 4th full day in Houlton. Finally bagged this ME 4000 footer and a few 3000 footers as well. I was a little weary of hiking the loop given how wet I heard the slide always and it had rained significantly just 3 days prior, but it turned out okay and was a beautiful, sunny, and cool day.

Parts of Marston and Coe Trail were really quite beautiful down low and I really enjoyed the mellow walk through the woods. Mt Coe Trail crosses and recrosses the drainage a bunch but it was pretty easy. The trail comes into washout/open drainage a ways before it really becomes a slide. I really enjoyed this part. Great views! The slide itself did have a lot of wet slab and even black moss but, much to my surprise, was not that slick after testing my foot out on it. Definitely need to exercise caution and be careful but I found it doable after a couple “dry” days of weather. The trail can definitely be hard to follow on the slide so watch out for blazing and cairns, especially if redlining ;P Definitely a few tricky scrambles. The hike from the top of the slide to Coe is pretty short.

From the summit of Coe, I had to wonder why the trail doesn’t head straight over South Brother and instead contours around instead. This section of trail wasn’t awful to do but having looked at the topography and wondering “Why?” it was sort of obnoxious. Overall, between here and North Brother, I don’t think it was very strenuous except for 1) the spur trail to South Brother which I believe had some awkward little boulder scrambles, and 2) the final 1/3-1/2mi of North Brother which is steep and rough.

I’d forgotten to do my research on Fort so had a bit of an adventure. I found the herd path easily enough heading north of the summit. It is indeed a very tight path through VERY tight spruce but even with a shin wound and shorts, I didn’t find it as terrible as others seem to. Just be thankful there’s a herd path; without it, this would be a MISERABLE whack. Not too far down off the summit of North Brother, the path splits. Down into the woods on right and a more contouring path stays in the boulders on left. I believe it’s best if you bear left here, but then take the next right into the woods rather than staying too long on the boulders. I “lost” the path at times but retracing your steps and looking for clues (branches are placed over the ways not to go usually) should make this an easy “whack” for experienced hikers. I didn’t find the blowdowns to be too numerous though there were more in the col that caused some confusing herd paths but they all seemed to end in the same place. The climb up Fort is short. I checked out both summit bumps and was tempted to whack SE to the next as it almost looked higher but clearly the western summit has been deemed higher. Great views!

The trip back down was pretty uneventful. Slow at times with steepness and footing up high. I found Teardrop Pond quote beautiful. Gaia had me at about 12mi, 4500ft of gain, 8.5hrs which included a lot of wondering around the summit of Fort and a break there.  
Name: Liam Cooney  
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-09-01 
Link: https:// 
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