Although the summit of Mount Redington in Maine is a tundra-like area of scrub evergreens, broken only by the remains of concrete building supports, I was still excited that I had reached another peak. I set my pack down on a piece of concrete slab and began looking for a white canister. The info stated that it was difficult to find. I stood in the middle of the shrub-like opening, and Kevin and I both hunted for a few minutes before he spotted it on the back of a dead tree.
We opened the canister, documented our names and date on the paper inside, took a photo, put the lid back securely, and returned to our packs. The last person to sign it was 6 days ago. Not many climbers came out here, and now that winter was approaching, there would be even fewer.
I am sure we both would have enjoyed a good rest at the top of Redington, and we had enough food to have a picnic, but I was concerned that we had a very long hike ahead of us, and I didn’t want to be in this area after dark. I donned my pack and so did Kevin, and off we headed down the narrow trail on Mt. Redington. There was a thin layer of snow on the top third of each mountain, and it was too cold to melt, so I was able to see our footprints on the way back, which was another helpful aid. The photo at the top of this post was taken on the Redington trail.
We were the only people out in this area. We didn’t see any game, but birds kept us company, and I enjoyed identifying their songs. Going down Redington seemed to go smoothly, and we continued across the wooded valley, but once we started up Crocker Mountain, we both noticed it wasn’t the same as when we were fresh in the morning. It is a steep climb on that very narrow, unmaintained trail. There was enough ice and snow to make the footing slippery on rocks and roots.
It was a relief to see familiar places, some very beautiful. One section is like a fairy forest, with layers of moss on big rocks and lichen covering the trees. The deciduous trees still had most of their leaves with all the autumn colors. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. On we hiked, one foot ahead of the other, and we were both glad to reach the summit of Crocker, now for the second time.
Now we met up with the Appalachian Trail: I was happy, as it is wider and a maintained trail. Ww didn’t hesitate or skip a beat, but just kept on trekking. We had two rock faces to hike, and a steep downhill for over a mile, before it gradually leveled out after the spur to the Crocker tent site. Part way down we caught up with the first hikers who had gone to North Crocker and were on their way down too. A chipmunk sat on a branch, waiting to greet us, and except for bobcat, coyote, and deer tracks on the fresh snow, life was silently hiding from us.
Down over the rocks, one by one: it was a slow, steady descent, and by the time we reached the logging road, our legs had had it! After a successful, exciting, and adventurous hike like this, the feeling of accomplishment stays with you for awhile and spurs you on in daily life. Kevin was happy to have summited two more mountains in Maine; I am looking forward to bagging my 14th and the last 4,000 footer in Maine next summer.
There will be other mountains to hike, some again and again. There is something about the mountains that continues to beckon you and brings such joy.
(posted December 8, 2015)