January 15, 2022
Start/End: Wiggle Brook Rd, plowed pull-off
Elevation gain: 1627′
I woke up at 6am, hopped into my car that I’d packed up the night before, and drove the 5 hours up to Rangeley Maine. I dropped my overnight bag where I was staying the night, changed into my hiking clothes (which included 15 different layers between socks, gloves, shirts, pants, and hats), and drove out to Morton Cut-off.
I’d located the logging roads’ land management group, Seven Islands, online and given them a call; they’d been able to tell me which roads were currently being plowed. I was very hopeful I’d be able to cut down on the number of miles I’d have to log to summit Boundary, White Cap, and Kennebago Divide. So I drove out to the Snow Cupsuptic start point, and then drove past it to check out Oxbow Rd; I was a bit frustrated to find that the road wasn’t plowed very far – a round-trip hike from there would be almost 20 miles. I headed back to the pull-off on Wiggle Brook Rd, parked, and added my last few layers before putting my backpack on and heading out.
It was -10 actual at the start at 1:45pm, with windchill of -50 at the summit. Within a few hundred yards, I determined that I’d put on perhaps 2-3 layers too many but I wasn’t going to change so I just kept going. I was lucky to be following a lone snowmobile track for the first mile of the ascent as it wound along an old logging road. For the second mile to the summit, I was mostly on my own to bushwhack up to the summit. I found a few orange ribbons of surveyors tape but there wasn’t much of a herdpath that I could see. However, a buddy of mine had hiked the summit 2 weeks before and in areas more protected from the wind, I could still see faint outlines from his snowshoes.
With little trouble, I found my way to the summit. The wind was blowing harder near the summit but the sky was so clear, I didn’t mind the cold as much as I thought I might. I did discover that my ADK 46r water bottle had fallen out of my pack’s side pocket on my hike up; I was sad I didn’t find it on my descent. I’ll have to buy a replacement, I suppose.
I made good time on the way down, and arrived back at my car by 4pm. After I peeled off my shell, which had frozen to my shirt and hat from my own sweat, I took the opportunity to explore the plowed roads further. I went down Kennebago River Rd/Big Island Rd and was delighted to find it plowed with the gates open. I followed the road all the way to Power Company Dam Rd and realized they are actively logging within 1.5 hiking miles and 0.7mi as the crow flies of Boundary Peak. With that info, I decided to hike from Big Island Rd tomorrow, rather than Oxbow Rd. It’ll allow me to do a big loop, utilizing the plowed logging roads to easily link up the circle. Here’s to hoping for a shorter day than my buddy, who did a 25mi day from Wiggle Brook Rd for these peaks a few weeks ago.