We had a great hike up Old Blue Mountain over the weekend via the Appalachian Trail for National Trails Day – weather held (as it always does for Maine Hikes!!!) and we had some great company. We started off at the South Arm Road crossing in Black Brook Notch with some great baked goodies courtesy of Rosemont Market in Portland. There was enough to send some over to the Maine Appalachian Trail Club crew who were building a new campsite across the road. Thanks guys!
When we finally got going, the trail is very steep initially and there is one section with rungs. However, because of the lower elevation, there were no slippery rocks and ledges to contend with, and we slogged on until reaching the top of the Black Brook Cliffs. From there, we had view through the trees across the notch and south to the Andover Earth Station which operated with the Telstar 1 satellite. This middle section of the trail is moderate before again ascending steeply to the summit of Old Blue itself. There was another section of rungs, but it was not difficult to climb (even for Shyla the dog).
The weather was threatening all day and the clouds obscured the views temporarily, but when we reached the summit those drifted away and we could see in all directions. To the southwest we could see Old Speck, the Baldpates and the Shelburne-Moriah range in the distance. To the north lay the huge mass of Elephant Mountain and, trailing northward, the Bemis Range. Some of us could see Saddleback and Mount Abraham to the northeast if we stood on a high rock and peered over the krummholz.
We stayed on the summit for lunch for about half an hour (thanks for the chocolates Debi!) and headed back down. The descent was much faster than the ascent since the 2.8 miles is almost entirely downhill. Some of us stopped in Andover on the way out for some ice cream, though the weather was starting to turn by then. Thanks for a great day everybody!