Friday, July 12, 2013

Old Speck Mountain - July 4th, 2013

With 2013's Independence Day falling on a mid-week day, I was able to accompany my friend Mike as he continues his quest for the New England 4000 footers with a hike to Old Speck Mountain in Maine. Having climbed only Katahdin (with me in 2012) outside of NH, this hike officially got his remaining quest for the New England 4000 Footers moving in the right direction. Good luck Mike!
The Eyebrow and small ridge to Old Speck from the parking lot
We started with a fun ascent of the Eyebrow Trail. I had only come down this trail once before, and its recommended for ascent only (although its not as tricky as some other similarly described trails in the whites). It was definitely a lot of fun going up it this time. It adds some elevation gain to the hike, but very little. As long the trail conditions are dry, I highly recommend anyone hiking Old Speck to go up the Eyebrow, and down the Old Speck Trail (AT). It makes the hike a tiny bit more challenging and fun.
Use only the climbing aides provided!
The Cables
The railings...the ladder....
...and the rungs!
It was really hot and humid, so the ascent was a definite work out. It was a perfect little warm-up 2 days before my planned Great Range Traverse. As with my previous times to Old Speck, I really enjoyed the surrounding scenery on the mountain. The wet, moss and fern covered land really makes it a pretty hike that most will enjoy.
Top section of the Eyebrow Trail 
View from the Eyebrow 
A web we saw about eye-level on the trail 
Fern covered forest 
Wet mossy rocks
Next, we continued on, and shortly after hitting the junction we reached the summit of Old Speck and climbed to the top of the observation tower. We took in the great views for a few short minutes before the bugs caught on and started eating us. Unbelievably, it was my 3rd time to Old Speck.
Look at that calf muscle at work after 183 days of no mountains!
Mahoosuc Trail takes you to the summit
Mike climbs the tower! 

As Mike was getting into my car in the morning, I couldn't help notice (and I had no idea) that I had bought the same pack as he, the Gregory Z30 pack. Nothing like going up the trail with copy-cat backpacks it was hilarious and made for a lot of fun on the hike. By the way, this pack is sweet and has become my favorite so far, so I'm hoping it works well this winter too for shorter winter day hikes and climbs.
DMOutdoors & The Outhouse sporting matching Gregory Z30 packs!
On the way down, we were treated to the beautiful water features found along the Old Speck Trail, which is the part that is by-passed when taking the Eyebrow Trail. I've seen these falls at only much smaller levels before, so it was nice to see them with a different effect. You have to love summer hiking for when there's a cool stream to cool off in every so often along the way.

After a solid hike with an ascent of 2,850 feet, we were pretty beat, but that didn't stop us from adding one more quick stop on the way out, and that was a quick walk to check out Screw Auger Falls, just a few minutes from the trail head. The place was loaded with people (rightfully so in this heat) so a it was just a quick peek and off we were (see photos below). Mike has hiked two more NE 4000 footers since this hike, and is going New England 4000 footer crazy trying to finish them up! He's actually sticking to his word, so to see if he finishes Maine and VT this summer, I guess we'll have to check out The Outhouse (that's if he can keep up with the blogging too!)
Screw Auger Falls geology 
Screw Auger Falls, Maine 
Screw Auger Falls, Maine 
Hike Stats
Trails: Eyebrow Trail, Old Speck Trail (AT)
Distance: 7.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,850 ft.
Actual Book Time: 5:21


  1. "IF" Is the key word ;-) Nice blog and NEVER copy another man's pack! lol

    1. HAHA That was so funny when you threw your pack in the car.

  2. Great trip report - I didn't realize Old Speck had such varied terrain. I am looking forward to hiking Old Speck now! Beautiful photos btw.


  3. Totally looking forward to trying the Eyebrow now - looks like a lot of fun and will be a good first 4K in Maine. Will have to try it when we get back from finishing the LT in August.