Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mt. Agamenticus in Snow

Summit of Mt. A
Mountain Walks in Southern Maine
Less then one hour from Portland and 30 minutes from Portsmouth is a small hill with a big name.  Mt. Agamenticus, or Mt. A as it is called by locals, is a 10,000 acre piece of conservation land in York, Maine.  It peaks at a mere 692 feet, but offers excellent views of ocean, nearby hills, lakes, and even Mt. Washington on a clear day. 

Matt and I choose to go here for a winter walk/hike of the Ring Trail.  This 1.5 mile loop wraps around most of the mountain.  Below is information to recreate our hike.

Getting there:  
ring trail sign
Ring Trail wraps around the base of Mt. A
- You can easily find Mt. A by taking the Old Mountain Road off Route 1 in York, then turning right onto Mt. Agamenticus Road.  There are two main areas to park - the parking lot near the Ring trailhead on the right before you drive up the summit, or at the summit.  On this day, Matt and I decided to park at the bottom trailhead.

Challenge Level:
- The Ring trail is an easy hike with slightly moderate sections if taking a trail to the summit (like Fischer or Blueberry Trail).  This is a great hike for nature-lovers looking for a leisurely walk, families with small children, or someone wanting to be introduced to hiking.  Almost anyone can enjoy part of this mountain.

Our Path:  
- We started out going West on the Ring trail.  At Fischer Trail, we got off and went up to the summit.  At the summit, we enjoyed clear views of the coastline as well as mountain views of the Ossipee mountains and White Mountain foothills.  We were bummed we didn't bring a sled, because children and adults were enjoying the gradual and wide sledding hill.  We headed down Vulture's View trail and reconnects with the Ring.  Continuing through the winter forest, we eventually got back to our car.  We were out for about 1.5 hours and had a fabulous time.

vultures view trail
Heading down the mountain on Vulture's View
- Traction:  Although this is a "small" hike, you want to make sure you bring appropriate gear.  Snow and ice on the trail made traction a recommended item.  Since it had been over a week since the last snow, snow shoes would work, but wouldn't be preferable.  The best choice for these conditions was to use a less cumbersome form of traction.  Matt used a pair of Yak Trax and I used Microspikes.  This was perfect to grab the ice and prevent us from slipping.
- Water and snack
- Layered cold weather gear including jacket, warm layer, warm hat, and gloves
- Snow boots and warm socks

For Families:
- This is a great area to hike, view nature, sled, and picnic.  We saw families enjoying time together in the snow.  The ring trail encourages young hikers by offering a page to a Moose themed story every 200 feet or so.  You and your child can enjoy the 1.5 miles and be entertained by the story.

kids sledding on the summit of mt. a
Children sled on the summit