MindFire Press

A Pleasant Mountain Hike

Maine Hiker's Journal

Season 1 (2013) 

Chapter 6: A Pleasant Mountain Hike

 

While Mount Agamenticus is my playground near our summer home in Wells, Maine, Pleasant Mountain, which is clearly visible from the summit of Mt. A almost directly to the North, is the closest challenging mountain in York County to hike. With an elevation of 2,006 feet, two summits, and four primary trails of varying length and steepness, Pleasant Mountain is a monadnock that extends over 4 miles from north to south, offering a number of hiking options at the end of a very scenic two hour drive almost directly north from Wells through a succession of picturesque towns such as Alfred, Limerick, Cornish, Hiram, and Denmark.
 
On a beautiful early-September day, I chose to hike the South Ridge Trail hoping that it would be comparable in some ways to my breakthrough hike of a few months earlier on Cadillac Mountain’s South Ridge Trail (see Chapter 5: An Acadian Adventure). Although the elevation gain to the southwestern summit would be about the same as the Acadia hike (about 1400 feet), this particular Pleasant Mountain trail reaches that elevation in about half the distance as the Acadia trail (i.e., 1.7 versus 3.2 miles of hiking). In effect, the Pleasant Mountain trail is roughly twice as steep on average. So, my game plan was simple—take my time, rest often, walk as far as I could, and turn back if I got tired or reached my turnaround time.

After a short but steep initial climb, the trail emerged from the woods at 0.6 miles onto open ledges with panoramic views to the East and South (Mount A was plainly visible in the distance). The trail climbed steadily northeast, with a few steep sections, but was manageable, although tiring. Thanks to a strong desire not to quit, and the encouragement of more than one friendly hiker, when I finally emerged on the southwestern summit, the site of an old wooden teepee, I was happy I had made it, but, after a short but much needed rest, I was ready to retrace my steps to the trailhead. Because so much of this hike is a ridge line, the spectacular and changing vistas made the descent quite a bit more pleasant than I had expected. I vowed at the trailhead that I would do this hike again, but the next time I would push on to the main summit (elevation = 2,006 feet) some 1.2 miles beyond the southwestern summit (elevation = 1900 feet). [Check out the photos in the slideshow below from this challenging, 3.4 mile round trip hike. To move from one slide to the next, just click the directional arrow on the side of the picture.]

Coming so soon after my triumph at Acadia, I will thrilled to find that I could hike an even more challenging trail. This gave me the confidence to try to accomplish the final goal on the list for my first season of hiking, which I attempted to do a few weeks later and describe in the next chapter of Maine Hiker’s Journal—A Rangeley Adventure.

Click A Rangeley Adventure to read the next chapter.

Click Maine Hiker's Journal to return to the home page of the journal.


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