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A Presidential View

Maine Hiker's Journal

Season 2 (2014) 

Chapter 14: A Presidential View


In a previous chapter, I described a very pleasant ridge walk I made in the early fall of my first hiking season—A Pleasant Mountain Hike. In August of the second season, I returned to climb the Ledges Trail, the shortest route to the summit of Pleasant Mountain (elevation = 2,006 feet), an elevation gain of some 1,500 feet up a very pleasant, and occasionally steep trail to a set of ledges at the 1.1 mile mark and the main summit after a 1.8 mile hike.
It was a pleasant day for a hike, and I set out with a goal of reaching the ledges if I could, and returning if I felt I could not reach the summit. Fortunately for me, I felt great and made my way slowly, but uneventfully, to the ledges, where I stopped to enjoy the fine views to the south (including mighty Mount Agamenticus in York). I made the decision to go for the summit very quickly and for my reward experienced a continuation of the vistas experienced on the ledges as the trail continuously as I gradually climbed an open ridge most of the way to the summit. The view from the summit, as the pictures in the slideshow indicate, was spectacular. And the jewel in the crown of mountains visible in this panorama of peaks in the Presidential range was Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet the highest mountain in New England. [Check out the photos in the slideshow below to enjoy the wonderful views along this beautiful ridge trail and from the main summit of Pleasant Mountain. To move from one slide to the next, just click the directional arrow on the side of the picture.]

It was hard to leave this summit and its amazing view, but I promised myself that I would return in my third season to try another, much longer, and potentially more challenging route to the main summit up the steep portion of the Bald Peak Trail to Big Bald Peak (elevation = 1,932 feet, elevation gain = 1,482 feet), along a 1.3 mile ridge to the main summit, (for another presidential view), and returning via the Ledges Trail and a 1.5 mile walk on Mountain Road to the trailhead (a total distance of 5.7 miles). Having hiked 5.4 miles to complete a traverse of Cadillac Mountain via the South and North Ridge Trails (in season 1), and 6.4 miles to complete the loop at Hedgehog Mountain (in season 2), I am confident that I can accomplish this goal in my upcoming third season of hiking, although it will not be easy.

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