On Sunday, Dec. 29th, the Bangor Outdoor Club met to hike Saddleback and the Horn. Frosty and I woke up at a rude hour to make it to the Rangley area by 7:00.
Even though the Saddleback ski resort isn’t currently operational, the parking was plowed. We met up with five other hikers: Brett, Mike, Christine, Amie, and Allie. We all put on microspikes and started our hike.
Although, it had been hard to wake up so early, it was nice to hike as the sun was rising. We hit the trail at about 7:15.
We hiked the ski trails up Saddleback. Most of the trail was covered by a thin layer of crusty wind packed snow or ice. This is a steep hike. I was feeling how out of shape I was.
We had some beautiful distance views heading up, lakes and mountains. The colors were beautiful in the light of the dawn.
The wind picked up as we got higher on the mountain. Frosty and I layered up before heading up on the ridge.
On the ridge, it was very windy, and the visibility was bad. There were no distance views. After a summit photo, we headed off to the Horn. Slowly, as we headed toward the Horn, the skies cleared. Now, we had some beautiful distance views again.
The terrain on the ridge was mostly ice and shallow wind packed snow. But every once in awhile we traveled through an area of deeper snow. Mostly, we were able to stay on top of the snow, but occasionally, one of us would break through. Usually, when this happened to me, my foot would sink into mid-calf or knee height. A couple times, though, I sunk in higher.
It was definitely windy up on the ridge, but really, not bad for a mountain top. We were very bundled up. We had very little exposed skin. There were a few spots that were a bit sheltered from the wind and made good places to stop for a rest, snack, or water.
I couldn’t believe how different this hike was from the Saddleback/Horn hike Frosty, Christine, and I took last March. That hike had so much more snow! Parts of this trail, in the trees near the bottom of the col, were unrecognizable to me with so much less snow.
We made it up to the Horn. There was sun and lots of wind. A cloud blew through while we were snacking. We took some summit photos, then headed back to Saddleback.
The sky kept changing today, from cloudy, to overcast, to sunny. I’m glad that we had some sun and that the wind was bearable. Also, there wasn’t any precipitation to deal with. All in all, it was a great day to be out.
The clouds were starting to return on our second visit to the Saddleback summit, but it was much better conditions than when we were there earlier.
From the summit, we headed back down to the parking lot. It ended up being about six hours round trip. It was great to have our first hike with Amie and Allie. We hope to hike with them again.
There are many more photos from this trip below.