On Saturday, Aug. 10th, the Bangor Outdoor Club hiked Little Spencer. The forecast predicted a 50% chance of thunderstorms. Seven of us took a chance on the weather and decided to go for it. The hikers on this trip were Zeb, Christine, Jana, Sarah, Lindsay, Frosty, and myself.
We met at the Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville before heading north past Kokadjo. The drive had some highlights of its own. First we met up with three deer on the roadside, then some moose. Two were out in the open with two more in the bushes.
After navigating the gravel logging roads, we made it to the Little Spencer trailhead. The trailhead is marked by a cairn and some flagging tape. If you are interested in this hike and need directions, here is a link to the some directions (click here). Using these directions and checking the mileage on your odometer should lead you to the trailhead.
The mountaintops were in the clouds. It was one of those gray type of days. I was hoping it wouldn’t rain. Although, I was prepared mentally and gear-wise, if it did.
This trail is steep most of the way pretty much from the first steps to the summit. There are a few feet of flat or gently sloping trail here and there.
At times, the trail can be difficult to find. You can see signs of traffic in the forested parts, but in the rock fields it is easy to lose your way. Look around for flagging tape to guide you. This is a lightly trafficked trail, and I’m not sure if any group formally maintains it.
The group had spread out a bit, and I was leading during one of the rock field sections. I am not a natural, trail whisperer (good at finding the trail), so I led the group astray at this point. Frosty met back up with us and redirected us to the trail. At this point, I decided it was best to let others lead.
It had started lightly raining while we were in the first rock field. Luckily, it didn’t last long.
There are a few rock fields to navigate and one particularly gnarly part called, the chimney.There are two fixed ropes in the chimney section.
Last year, Frosty and I had attempted this trail. My fear of falling kicked in big time. The chimney beat me, and I turned around. Today I was determined to overcome my fear and scale the chimney. With the support of the group, I did it!
At this point, I decided to put my fear of descending down the chimney on our return trip out of my head. I did a good job with that. We all made it up the chimney. Yeah!
The trail keeps ascending through steep wooded sections, some rocky sections, and a couple, short flat sections. There are some great views on the open ledges and rock slides that you traverse after the chimney.
As you approach the summit, the vegetation is encroaching onto the trail, but it is easy to see the trail. The summit is marked by a pile of rocks and doesn’t have a view. Although, the day started out gray, by the time we reached the summit, the sun had come out! If you continue on a little bit past the summit, there is a view of Big Spencer.
We backtracked to an open ledge a bit before you reach the summit. We stopped here for lunch. The view was fantastic!
I am always amused when I see moose poop near the summits of mountains. It is amazing where these moose travel! On this day though, I was in awe to find moose poop feet from the summit. They had to navigate this terrain in the winter. I would love to see how a moose climbs up this mountain.
Then it was time to head back down, I managed to put the chimney out of my mind until we reached it. Our trip down through the chimney was an exercise in teamwork. We took turns guiding the person behind us down. “Lower your left foot about six inches, and you’ll find a foothold.” Jana guided me down. I took a deep breath and put my faith in the rope, Jana, and the rock. I did it, and it wasn’t as bad as I had worried it might be. Thanks, Jana!
After our hike, the group stopped at the Monson General Store for a delicious supper. They have lots of great sandwiches and salads. There was a lobster roll special the day we visited, so I had my first ever lobster roll! It was delicious and hit the spot.
To end our trip, Frosty and I visited the Monson Appalachian Trail Visitor Center. This is a tiny space run by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (the ATC). Southbound thru hikers pick up their AT hang tags here. Visitors can explore a model of Katahdin, but there’s not much more here. They do sell stickers and magnets but only take cards, not cash.
Aislinn Sarnacki, of the Bangor Daily News blog, Act Out With Aislinn, wrote a blog post about hiking Little Spencer. It’s a great read, if you’re interested in this hike. Aislinn’s post has directions to the trailhead.