The Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust ended the winter hiking season with a spectacular April hike to the summit of Old Speck Mountain in Grafton Notch. By this time of year, many people in Maine are experiencing winter fatigue and can’t wait to put away the snowshoes, skis, facemasks, gloves and hats.
Not this group! A fresh 3-6 inches of snow had fallen over hard-packed trail, so we were able to leave the snowshoes in the car. Temperatures were in the low 30’s to start and the sunshine at this time of year is bright enough to make it feel warmer. One member of our group even hiked the lower portion of the trail in shortsleeves. When crossing in front of the Eyebrow we heard the thunderous crash of ice chunks falling from teh cliff wall down to the forest below.
Nonetheless, the winds picked up at higher elevations and the snow, already powdery enough, began to blow and even drift over the trail. Areas where the sun was blocked by the trees were very cold. There were three groups ahead of us on this fine day and it was fortunate that we could follow their tracks.
It took about 3.5 hours to reach the summit, and due to the bright sunshine on the summit we stayed for about half and hour and ate lunch. Views from the summit tower stretched in all directions, and continued on the way down. At lower elevations the temperature had warmed enough to melt all the snow from the trees and melt much of what had fallen on the trail. Back in the parking lot all of the snow that had fallen the night before was gone. Oh and we stopped at three bakeries on the way up/back.
Check out website in the next few weeks for our warm-weather A.T. hikes schedule! We’ll start in mid-May and go all the way to November!