The latest Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust community hike was up Old Blue Mountain in the vicinity of Andover, Maine. After exiting Grafton Notch the A.T. heads through a series of lower mountains and notches before reaching Black Brook Notch. This valley features a dramatic down one side of the notch (Moody and Sawyer Mountains) and an equally dramatic ascent up the other side – Old Blue Mountain.
Our small group started from South Arm Road, where the A.T. very steeply ascends the notch wall for about half a mile before flattening out. The views down Black Brook Notch into the Ellis River and Snow valleys show the sparsely populated Andover region. Many A.T. hikers stop in Andover and stay over at a local hostel and get some delicious food at The Little Red Hen (where this group stopped as well!).
We continued up the trail towards Old Blue, sometimes heading up, sometimes down but mostly staying flat. After another 1.5 miles the trail again ascends up the steep-ish side of Old Blue, finally reaching the flat summit area at about 2.8 miles from South Arm Road. The summit is dominated by low spruce forest of about 3-6 foot trees, so your view will depend on how much you can look over their tops! To the north, the A.T. continues on, skirting Elephant Mountain’s flank and then proceeding up Bemis Mountain (location of the next A.T. shelter). Well to the north, taller hikers can see Mount Abraham, Saddleback Mountain and others in Maine’s High Peaks region. To the west are the most dramatic views of Grafton Notch, the Mahoosucs and beyond to the White Mountains.
Our descent was relatively quick, as the steep parts of the trail have been masterfully constructed with stone steps by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. At the base, a well-known trail magic purveyor had set up and had several A.T. hikers with him for the evening!
Join us for our next hike up the Crockers on September 9th! All of our community hikes are free and open to all.