2001 July 3, July 6 - Whitecap Mountain


  Big and Little Spencer Mountains as seen from summit of Whitecap

  This 3644 foot mountain offers great panoramic views. There are three approaches to the summit.  

  White Brook Trail/Firewarden's Trail (July 3)

Note: I was not successful in this attempt because my vehicle (Plymouth Horizon) had problems with portions of the road where active logging operations were taking place.

Travel north from Brownville Junction, Maine on route 11 to the Katahdin Iron Works sign. Take this road (on the left) and travel 6.5 miles to the KI checkpoint where a small fee will be charged. If in doubt, ask for directions and current road conditions at the checkpoint. After leaving the checkpoint, cross first bridge and keep to the right at the intersection. After travelling 3.5 miles, keep to the right at the fork in the road (follow the signs to High Bridge, Hay Brook Campsites). 2.4 miles later continue on the main road which curves sharply left, crosses High Bridge, then turns sharply to the right. Drive up this road as far as possible... it may not be possible to drive all the way to the end. Hike forward on this road to the end, where White Brook Trail veers off slightly to the left. The entire hike will be 2.5 to 4 miles (each way) depending on where you leave your vehicle, with an elevation gain of +/- 2000 feet.

Ascends gradually at first, then steeply. When the trail meets White Brook a choice exists... cross the brook and take Firewarden's Trail until it intersects the AT near the summit... or veer slightly left and follow White Brook Trail to junction of AT 1.1 miles from summit of Whitecap. Signs will point the way to the summit once you reach the AT.
  West Branch Pond Trail (July 6)  

From Greenville, travel north 18 miles on Lily Bay Road. Turn right on Frenchtown road (wide, well maintained gravel road). Continue 12 miles on main road. Shortly after crossing wooden bridge at Third West Branch, turn right (the only other option at this point is to go straignt ahead). After turning right, continue about 1/2 mile and turn left. Follow this road, all uphill about 1 mile, until reaching a fork in the road. At this point continue straight ahead, up the hill if possible (this will require 4WD as the gravel is very loose on this steep grade). Continue to end of road, which is about 3/4 mile. The trailhead is not marked, but is on the left, departing from the gravel turnaround just before the end of the road. The hike is about 2.5 miles from this point with elevation gain around 1700 feet.

Hikers not familiar with this trail should use caution. Trail ascends gradually and is occasionally marked with orange and pink flagging tape. The lower portion is easy to follow (as of summer 2001). When the trail suddenly levels off at an old road (now totally overgrown with small Fir trees), turn right and continue to follow flagging tape. Trail soon passes the site of an old cabin, which will be obvious from the cast iron stove and other remains. Continuing up the trail, it becomes a narrow, winding ascent through the woods, occasionally marked with orange flagging tape.... but this portion of the trail is not easily followed. A careful observer may also see some white blazes on rocks along the way, as this was the old route AT many years ago. At one point the trail will cross the yellow blazed AT boundary. Cross it and continue following orange flagging tape. Further up there is a heavy guage steel wire running along the ground along this section of the trail, not always visible but is an aid to navigation. The trail meets the AT at about 1.5 miles. A sign here points the way to the summit, 1.1 miles to the left.
  Appalachian Trail (July 6)  

From Greenville, travel north 18 miles on Lily Bay Road. Turn right on Frenchtown road (wide, well maintained gravel road). Continue 12 miles on main road. Shortly after crossing wooden bridge at Third West Branch, do not turn right but continue straight. Road conditions deteriorate gradually. With 4WD it is possible to drive all the way to Logan Brook. From the intersection just mentioned, the hike will be approximately 6 miles to the top of Whitecap; from Logan Brook it is about 4 miles, elevation gain 2200 feet.

This is the most scenic route up Whitecap and also the longest. Cross Logan Brook and hike along narrow woods road approximately 3/4 mile to AT crossing (marked by a sign). Follow AT south (right off the road). Trail ascends gradually through the woods, reaching Logan Brook leanto at 1.7 miles. Some steep sections in remaining 1.4 miles to summit. If not planning to return via this route, be sure to frequently look behind as you ascend the final mile of the trail, as there are some excellent views.


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