Franklin County High Point Trip Report

Sugarloaf Mtn (4,240+ ft)

Date: August 1979
Author: Dan Case

Our group ascended Maine's second-highest mountain as the second part of a three-night, two-peak trip where we camped at a state campground near Rangeley (I think - it was by a lake) and day-hiked the mountains from there.

The day before, we had braved fog and cold breezes at the summit to get to the top of Saddleback, so it was a pleasant reward to have clear weather for this entire trip.

However, that doesn't mean it wasn't exhausting as we chose the less imaginative but more direct route of following the Sugarloaf USA ski trails up (as opposed to the AT, which runs up the backside of the mountain and offers a short blue-blazed side trail to the actual summit). We considered giving up and getting on the still-open gondola ride about midway up, but the counselors in charge decided against it.

So we continued to slog up, most of us in sneakers and shorts (to my retrospective horror, but I survived) and finally made it to the small alpine area around the summit lodge. The high ground is sort of behind it, with some sort of marking like a cairn or stick. The view was great and I imagine Canada and many of the other notable peaks of northwestern Maine could be seen, although I didn't know much about what I was looking at.

Going down after receiving our allotted sandwich-and juice lunches (supplemented by water from the fountain at the summit lodge), we took an easier, green-circle ski trail called (I think) Hudson Highway down. It seemed to take forever, and we were very exhausted when we got back to the trucks, but the net result was that I had bagged my first 111er, the honest way.