Friday, July 19, 2013

Mount Agamenticus - Little Dude's First Mountain


So on the same day that we went to the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve we decided to climb Mount Agamenticus. It was a pleasant day compared to the heat wave that was going on the days prior. We were getting ready to head for home and didn't want to shop or go to the beach so we decided to hike.

I've climbed Agamenticus several times now. It's a rather easy hike to do. You can even drive to the summit if you want to. . We loaded up the car with dog, baby carrier, Little Dude and my camera.We didn't exactly have directions but we knew there were signs for it off of Route 1 and it was a nice day for a drive. We found the auto road easily and turned up it. We parked at the first lot we noticed and grabbed a trail guide from the kiosk.

Kiosk at parking lot
The trail heads and trails were well labeled and very straightforward. We checked out the map and decided to follow the Ring Trail to Witch Hazel Trail to the Summit. We entered the woods and immediately wondered if we should have grabbed the mosquito spray. I'm sensing a pattern here. I've been a hiker for most of my life, you would think that I would be prepared. I'm not sure if you noticed but this is the THIRD hike in a row where we forgot bug spray. Fortunately, the bugs were not as bad as the morning hike. 
Ring Trail
The ring trail was a nice easy walk through the woods. Easy of course for me because I was carrying a camera and a dog lead. Big Dude had a heavier load. It was his first hike with any elevation gain carrying a baby. I had carried him the previous year in my soft carrier. And the last time Big Dude had carried a pack heavier than a day pack was when we climbed Owl's Head in 2005. He managed just fine though.
Ring Trail
Little Dude was looking around at everything he could see. It's so neat to see him experiencing the world like this. Hopefully, we can teach him an appreciation for nature and being outdoors. 

The trails were superbly maintained. We came to one spot where the rains had caused some erosion. Even then, it was easily navigated and tidy.

Erosion on the Ring Trail
We came to the summit by way of Witch Hazel. I do love emerging from a dark woods to the sun and lots of views.  

Nearing the summit on Witch Hazel
The trail had changed since my last hike there. They actually had cleared lots of the trees and were rerouting the trail. I had noticed regrowth areas on the ring trail as well. I'm sure this mountain is well traveled and trails need to have a rest once in a while. It was a bit confusing though. The signs were not so obvious and I didn't feel that the trails match up with the map.

Hiking to the summit on new trail
We made it to the summit and let Little Dude run free. We circled the Learning Lodge as they don't allow dogs and went up onto one of the platforms. From there we could look back towards Short and Long Sand Beaches and could even see Nubble Light House.

 We went from the high platform down to an observation tower. Little Dude loved running across the field.
First summit

From the double platform you could see to the west and all the way to Mount Washington.
Map of view       

While we were on the platform we noticed that storm clouds were racing in. The change in the sky was pretty obvious to us. And we decided to move along. We could see rain over NH and it was only a matter of time before it reached us.

Change of skies within a minute
We debated about which route to take back. I'm not a huge fan of hiking the same trail back down as I came if there is a possibility to do a loop. We decided to head towards the parking lot at the summit and see what we could see. Along the way we stopped just below the fire tower to admire a memorial for David Hilton who was a fire warden, skier and historian. I forgot to mention that this used to be a ski hill. Granted, I don't usually think Southern Maine when I think skiing, especially on the coast!

David Hilton Memorial
We spotted the Blueberry Bluff trail across the parking lot and went straight for it. Big Dude seemed to be getting nervous about a storm. So we hoofed it to the trail.

Summit Parking Lot
Trail to Blueberry Bluff
Trail Sign
Views near Blueberry Bluff
We wandered down Blueberry Bluff and immediately I saw the blueberry bushes. Big Dude was in such a hurry he missed them. I snagged a few and let the Little Dude taste his first wild Maine blueberry. He didn't seem to be a big fan.

We re-entered the forest and moved rather quickly down the mountain. The trail was rocky but not steep. The clouds had definitely come in and the air was changing. I decided that we need to get a longer lead for Ansel. He can't be off leash but sometimes directions that are easier for him to climb are not so easy for me.

Blueberry Bluff
Big and Little coming down carefully
As we got closer to the Ring Trail we found more trail re-routing. But again, the trails were well marked.
You can't get there from here
We got back on the ring trail and followed east. Along the way we came across book pages that were laminated and stapled to boards. We had seen them on the Witch Hazel trail as well. The animal art seems fun and I would love to learn what book this is. 

Books and hiking (two of my favorite hobbies)
We crossed the auto road and then hiked a short distance back up the mountain to our car. Just before we got back to our car we found this guy....

At this point, the mosquitoes made their reappearance. We got Little Dude in his car seat and gave the pup some water. I drove us up to the top of the auto road just so I could say we did it and then we went off to dinner.

It was an easy hike and looking at the map, I can see several ways to make it more challenging. It would be lovely for a picnic lunch to just look out over the Atlantic or New England.

Where: Mount Agamenticus, Cape Neddick, Maine

Web Info

Directions: Please note GPS is unreliable at this point in time

  • Take I-95 North into Maine. Take Exit 7, York (the last exit before the tollbooth for the Maine Turnpike). 
  • Follow signs to Route 1 North (keeping right after the exit ramp). Turn left onto Route 1 North.
  • Approximately 3.5 miles after turning onto Route 1, turn left on Mountain Road. (Across from Flo’s Hotdog Stand) 
  • Follow Mountain Road for approximately 4 miles to a stop sign after crossing the interstate. 
  • Turn right and continue on Mountain Road for approximately two and a half miles from the interstate overpass. 
  • There is a gravel parking lot on the right and a paved road leading to the summit of Mount Agamenticus. Green fence posts at the entrance say “Mount A Summit”. If the road turns to gravel, you’ve gone a hundred meters too far. 
  • Turn right and drive up to the summit or park in the gravel lot to hike up. Trail maps are available at the trailheads.


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