Saturday, February 6, 2021
Start: Sugarloaf golf course/West mountain parking lot
Elevation gain/loss: 4781’/5423′
After some frustrating experiences with Sugarloaf’s uphill policy and needing to change parking lots, Kallie and I hiked up the ski trails, starting at the golf course/West parking lot, perhaps 15 minutes behind Rebecca. It was an annoying, arduous climb up to the peak of Sugarloaf, dodging skiers as they started to descend. There were no uphill signs or anything to aid us on our way or protect us from downhill traffic. Once we hit the summit, we quickly found the tracks left by Rebecca, Alex, and Matt and descended the side trail to meet up with the AT. From there, we pushed on to the spur trail for Spaulding. We ran into Rebecca’s group at the summit and chatted for a few minutes; Rebecca offered to give us a ride from the Mt Abraham trailhead, so we wouldn’t have to go back over Sugarloaf. We enthusiastically agreed.
From Spaulding, we broke out the AT all the way to the Abraham spur trail, and then went up to the summit of Abraham. The wind was fierce and kept blowing powder into our faces. Due to some miscommunications and reading the GPS map too far zoomed in, we missed that the Firewarden’s trail is a sharp left off the summit. We kept going straight, following some GPS trail from ages gone by. We descended off the summit, located where the trail entered the woods, and found a packed out trail from snowmobiles. We thought someone had just taken their snowmobile somewhere they weren’t supposed to and were happy for the packed trail. It took us another 1.5 miles when we came out onto a snowmobile route to realize that something was clearly wrong. Since we’d descended more than 2 miles at that point and had enough service to load up GPS maps for the area, we continued on the snowmobile track and texted Rebecca to let her know what was going on and to ask for a ride from Rt-142, where we’d eventually pop out by Webber Rd & Fish Hatchery Rd.
Unfortunately, our next-to-last 2 miles were spent on what the GPS thought was a snowmobile track but clearly hadn’t been used in a few decades, so it was a bushwhack in thigh-deep, untouched powder for miles 14-15 that left us soaking wet and completely exhausted. We finally broke out onto Webber Rd, which isn’t plowed in winter and acts as a snowmobile connector, but it was gloriously packed down. From there, it was a mile to Fish Hatchery Rd, where Rebecca was kindly waiting for us.