Saturday, March 6, 2021
Start/end: Sugarloaf golf course/West mountain parking lot
Elevation gain: 3025′
I was up early but I took my time heading out to the trailhead, since I knew that it was going to start in the low single digits and be windy all day, so I wanted to give the sun time to warm things up a bit. I left from the trailhead at Sugarloaf at 7:15am, and had no trouble following the directions I’d saved from the Maine Hiking Facebook group, directing me to go down the steep paved road by the golf clubhouse and follow that road all the way to the maintenance shed, then over the bridge to the 11th tee and then follow the blue ribbons/tracks. I had no problem navigating the bushwhack through the woods and didn’t need my GPS, though I did manage to get hit directly in the eye once by one of the little saplings.
The bushwhack popped out onto Caribou Pond Rd, which is a snowmobile track in winter. I was able to make very good time walking on packed snowmobile track for the next 6.25 miles before I turned left to take the bushwhack through the woods to the summit, perhaps .75mi away. I wore spikes door-to-door, and could have used snowshoes on this particular bushwhack, but I also did fine without my snowshoes. I could tell as soon as I stepped off of the wind-swept track, because I post-holed half a dozen times up to my waist, but otherwise, the snow was packed down enough that I only left footprints.
I found the summit sign after some searching, had a quick snack, and then headed back the way I’d come. It was socked in at the summit, but the sun came out on my hike back, and aside from the occasional frigid wind gust, it was a truly lovely and relatively warm (low 20s) day and I was back to my car by 1:45pm.