|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Bemis Mountain - First Peak, Bemis Mountain - Second Peak, Bemis Mountain - Third Peak, Bemis Mountain - West Peak, ME|
||Appalachian Trail, Bemis Stream Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, June 4, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||To hike this loop, the recommended parking area is a small grassy/gravel pull out across from the Bemis Stream Trailhead. I was warned by my hiking compadre, and local Rangeley resident, that break-ins have occurred and not to leave any valuables in the vehicle. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||You must ford the Bemis Stream heading southbound on the AT. The worst section today was mid-shin in depth. It is ice cold and will give you a headache while crossing but it is short and doable in bare feet. Yep. We barefooted it across this.
All other crossings were negotiated without getting feet/boots wet. The water level is nice right now. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Large logging area just past the start of Bemis Stream Trail has experienced very irresponsible logging. The trail is obliterated. See notes below.
Otherwise, the AT had few blow downs and was well marked. The Bemis Stream Trail was well marked with many, but maneuverable, blowdown. Until the slash... |
||There were no dogs or other humans on these trails today. |
||Well, this is Maine. If you’re outside this time of year, expect bugs. Lots of bugs. And their friends, cousins, distant relations... |
|Lost and Found:
||So, this is less of a trail report and more of a warning. Before I launch into that, our trip took us along the southbound AT from the Height of Land off Route 17 in Rangeley, Maine. We hiked the peaks of Bemis then caught the junction with the Bemis Stream Trail. We took the ‘Stream back to Route 17.|
There are still small patches of snow in the crevices of Bemis but these are easily crossed and present no real threat. Wonderful views. Really awesome views. Bemis Stream Trail is such a hidden gem. Just lovely. But then...
I read zporterColdRiverCampCook’s report and saw the note about the logging on Bemis Stream Trail. OK. Here’s the warning: traveling the route in a counterclockwise manner (southbound AT to Bemis Stream) you will first encounter an older logging section. This is a good logging road that you will need to follow until you see double blazes on large trees on the left. There are a couple of trees with blue flagging tape on the left but these are the only markers until the double blazes.
After traveling through nice woods you will encounter Tree Hell. The logging operation cut off the trail. We had no markers, no tape, no indication that a trail did in fact exist beyond this wreckage. There were only 4 foot tall continuous mounds of slash (saplings and other non-sellable debris) heaped at random. There was no trail. We did eventually find where the trail reentered the woods after climbing through mountains of tree debris, much turning around, and general cursing. We were less than 0.4 miles from Route 17. This will greatly add to your travel time.
Lessons learned: do not take Bemis Stream if you are a novice hiker. Do no take Bemis Stream if you are alone and a “moderate” level hiker.
Do take Bemis Stream if you have a static map downloaded to your phone (no cell reception in this area) that can keep you on the trail without active GPS in this section. Also, you can see Route 17 from here. Take this trail if you can use a compass. I’m serious. The slash is so high and cumbersome you cannot just “walk around” and hope to stumble into the trail. The loggers cut ALL trees. There are no markers. There is no trail corridor. You will need all your wits to traverse this part.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.