Penobscot County Highpoint Trip Report

East Turner Mtn (2,456 ft)

Date: June 20, 2006
Author: Michael Schwartz

Charlie Zerphy's report of November 2005 is still valid. Rocky Pond Road can be followed to a point due east of East Turner (ET), and then the rough logging road he mentioned heads due west and ends about 750 feet northeast of spot elevation 1187. At that point you are about 1.14 miles from the summit of ET.

The long ride in (over 24 miles one way from the highway at Millinocket) is well-described in Cliff Young's 2003 report but it is still tricky, with lots of opportunities for wrong turns. In dry weather, the entire way could be driven in a passenger car but it would be nerve-wracking. High clearance is the way to go. The ugly cinderblock building he mentions has been replaced by a Gulf Station/convenience store. Our mileage varied just enough from Cliff's to make us nervous. At 7.1 miles, stay right (straight) at a fork. Near the Kelloch Mountain junction, there is an unsigned road going off to the right and then the Kelloch Mountain Road, signed now only by a homemade job, bears right 0.1 mile later. The road you want, Rocky Pond Road, also handmade-signed, bears right another 0.1 mile further. So, at the 13+ mile point, take the third of three substantial roads that bear right. Once on Rocky Pond Road, we saw only occasional mile markers and no postings at the side roads. Somewhere in this area we also saw the only gate of the day, a very substantial one that if closed, would end the day many miles from the trailhead. I should note we also saw no signs of any impending Baxter Park takeover of the area.

Don't waste time trying to follow the roads as shown on the topo, or even Delorme. Use Cliff's directions and follow your nose. The 2005 Delorme shows the extension of Rocky Pond Road and even the spur logging road that gets you closest to ET. The 2003 edition does not.

Once you cross the substantial bridge over Katahdin Brook, the extended road is visible ahead going straight uphill. Follow it another 2.3 miles and turn left into the good quality final logging road.

From the logging collection area at the end, numerous drag lanes head uphill. We went up the one to the left, milking it for elevation but on the descent we ended up intersecting and coming back on the one to the right. The actual hike was pretty miserable. Lots of undergrowth and a long section high on the mountain of boulders, moss, and very thick spruce. Insects were numerous and hungry. We wandered around the summit a bit and liked a boulder near a fairly large opening as the highpoint. No views worth mentioning.

For the descent, our vehicle was at a bearing of 80 degrees from the summit and I followed that bearing, compass in hand, all the way down, verifying our progress with GPS a few times. When we intersected an overgrown drag lane, we followed that directly to the SUV, as all the lanes converge at the collection area.

Final notes:

We reconnoitered the entire drive from Millinocket the day before, so we got our wrong turns out of the way a day early. It was nice to drive in the next day and know the route. Saw moose on the access road and lots of pellets but no animals on the mountain. No sign of bear or scat.

Challenge: Who is going to be first to traverse this peak, preferably downhill from South Turner?