The bridges of Caribou Valley August 2, 2010Posted by Jenny in bushwhacking, hiking, memoir, peakbagging.
Tags: Caribou Valley road, Maine hiking, Mt. Redington, New England Hundred Highest
Note: This is not an up-to-date guide for those looking to climb Mt. Redington in Maine. This is a nostalgia piece.
The time was October 1994. Pete Heinold and I set forth to climb Mt. Redington, which is located near the head of Caribou Valley. Let’s see, how else to describe its location. It is west of Sugarloaf, northwest of Spaulding, south of the Crockers, and east of the mysterious Black Nubble. So now you know exactly where it is.
Like everyone else who climbs Redington, we were working on the New England 100 Highest. I had met Pete just the day before on a group climb of Boundary and White Cap. Pete had his trusty Toyota 4-Runner and he was ready to tackle Redington.
By the way, his 4-Runner wasn’t the stupid, bloated “luxury SUV” of the same name that Toyota started making a few years later. It was an earlier generation of 4-Runner, just a good functional high-clearance, 4WD vehicle.
The road was good as far as the A.T. crossing of the South Branch of the Carrabassett. After that, the bridges started getting sketchier and sketchier. But we kept going. In fact, at first we missed the turn toward Redington and got up to Caribou Pond. We could see tire tracks—eventually we realized they were ATV tracks. We were plunging into deep ditches and bouncing back out of them, creeping over steep humps and skidding down the other side. A couple of times, Pete’s rear bumper got dented as it smacked down on the downside of the ditch just as we started climbing.
That’s why I thought it was kind of funny when he asked me not to slam the door shut when I got out.
Each time we got to a bridge on the upper section, we would get out, look at it, and if necessary place loose planks at the appropriate width to get across. This was all paper company land that hadn’t been logged for a while. The birches were weird and spooky-looking because they had been sprayed with a defoliant during the logging operation.
After the roads in, the actual climbing of Redington was an anticlimax. It was a short, easy bushwhack up a herd path that had been created by a company looking at the mountain as a possible wind farm site. The summit had a bunch of ugly wind-measuring equipment on it. Personally, I hope that we never see a wind farm on the mountains of western Maine.
And so we were able to check mighty Mt. Redington (4010′) off our lists.