As part of the recent Maine 2017 A.T. Conference, Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust Executive Director Simon Rucker led a group hike to one of the Land Trust’s past conservation projects: Mount Abraham. Conference attendees had been going to seminars to hear about A.T. maintenance issues, threats, successes and, yes, land conservation, and many were eager to get out on the fabled Maine landscape to see what it had to offer.
Our group was composed of members from all over the A.T. landscape: Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maine and Quebec. We headed up to the summit via the Fire Warden Trail, the most common route. Though some of the group had travelled in Maine before, none had hiked in this rugged landscape. And they were pretty impressed. Abraham has the largest alpine zone in Maine and we had a spectacular day to enjoy the views in all directions. The weather was brisk above treeline and the southern contingent compared the Maine climate to that of the southern Appalachians. There were lots of questions about the conservation status of the landscape: from Sugarloaf down the Rapid Stream valley – almost the entire viewshed from the Fire Warden Trail – is unprotected, but spectacular and remote.
Once on the summit, the group explored the alpine zone between the two summit cairns – “there’s nothing like this in ________” was heard fairly often. On the way down, we left the alpine zone, headed through high-elevation spruce/fir forest, and then were back in mixed spruce/fir and hardwoods until re-emerging at the trailhead.
The special nature of Maine’s Appalachian Trail is a an asset to be treasured and used, and our hike exemplified that.