Ascent of Big Moose Mountain on 2014-07-06

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Willie-Weimaraner Musser
Karen Musser
Date:Sunday, July 6, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Moose Mountain
    Elevation:3196 ft / 974 m

Ascent Trip Report

Returned 5 years later, to finally get a good view from this big mountain. The trip was very wet and soggy after a heavy rains this week. Plenty of creeks and small areas flowing with water for the dog to drink. Also busy with hikers on a Sunday afternoon. We passed 14 people which is a lot in this part of Maine.

Half way up we visited the old Warden's cabin where I found a snake engorging on a huge toad. The toad was still alive in his mouth and was easily 4 inches long and much larger than the snake. After the cabin the trail goes from the mundane hardwoods slow steady approach to a steep section of mountain where some poor souls placed as many rock steps into the side of a mountain as I can ever remember seeing and they seemingly continue forever.

Nearer to the top where the mountain finally leaves the broadwood trees and sets you in the hemlock and firs/spruce area you are given a choice of a side trip along a small saddle to nice overlook. Prior to this point I estimated no more than 25 feet of extra gain. There is an interesting chunk of rock (I believe hornfel)that you can scramble up and see the peak of Big Moose in the distance and it looks steep and pointed from that vantage. Below you begin to see Moosehead Lake and a view of Little Moose Mountain. The back and forth of this small side trip accounts for a few tenth of a mile more hiking and perhaps 50 feet add gain both ways.

At the summit the ridge becomes narrow and it is littered with old tower remnants and radio structures and like garbage that clutter up taller mountains. But the views are outstanding. You can see Baker Mountain past Moosehead lake with its 3500 foot summit and Borestone near Monson and the town of Greenville. All of the splendid islands in Mooshead Lake are clearly viewed from this vantage. On the other side you can barely make out the rock pinnacle of Eagle Mountain (part of the same mastiff) and a great hike to do.

Then passing the peak, we ventured down the other side of the ridge till the trails terminated on some of the lower ledges facing the north where you could see Mount Kineo (my favorite training mountain) off in the distance on Kineo several miles to the north. There is perhaps another 50 feet of regain to play around and investigate the lower north ledges and views before back over the summit and down in reverse.

I believe the hike is around 4.4 miles if you skip the lower ledges and observation trail but frankly, why do all that work and not get the views? I figure it also adds no more than 100 feet of add gain in doing so. The hike without the side trips has virtually no add gain at all (perhaps 50 feet round trip) at most; but with the side trips is around 150 feet (75 each way).

Although a solid hike and nice views with good weather, I would still rate Mount Kineo, Borestone Mountain, and Eagle Rock as my favorites hike-summits in the Moosehead Lake region.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1986 ft / 604 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1986 ft / 604 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Partly Cloudy
74F Windy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1911 ft / 582 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1836 ft / 560 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Loss on way in:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Blue Trail plus observation trail
    Start Trailhead:Parking Lot  1360 ft / 414 m
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1911 ft / 582 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1836 ft / 560 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Gain on way out:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:Summit to back ledges to Blue trail
    End Trailhead:Parking Lot  1360 ft / 414 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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