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Maine Huts & Trails 2nd Annual

29 January 2015

Trip Report: 29 January–1 February 2015

We could not have timed this trip any better.

Up until a few days before the trip, the area has accumulated barely a few centimeters of snow. But that changed dramatically when the powerful nor’easter Winter Storm Juno hit New England on Tuesday 27 January 2015, only two days before our trip.

As if that was not enough, upon our arrival to the warm backcountry hut, skiing on one day old 50cm of fresh snow, another nor’easter Winter Storm Kari hit the area.

This was going to be a blockbuster ski weekend. And it was.

Halfway Yurt

We were already excited about a second trip to the area after one the prior year.

We started early at 07:00 from Boston. With rest & lunch stops, we were at the Airport trailhead by 13:00. We packed our gear in backpacks & started our weekend with a climb to Poplar hut.


Location: 45.101335°N, 70.186618°W

We arrived the hut with enough time for an afternoon ski, with over three hours until dinner at 18:00.

I decided to sprint for 20km round trip from hut to Halfway Yurt:


Location: 45.143136°N, 70.148431°W

I took a very quick break at the yurt after the hill climb to reach it:


Location: 45.143903°N, 70.138764°W

I returned at almost the same speed, although started to lose steam. I was back in the hut just in time for a big dinner.

Stratton Hut

More snow was still coming from Winter Storm Kari for most of the day, although a bit wet from the warmer weather.

Our ski destination for the day was a loop to Stratton Hut:


Location: 45.101197°N, 70.301517°W

We started from Poplar hut back to Airport trailhead to pick up some items we forgot in the car (lap 1). From there, we skied the Narrow Gauge Pathway, an old rail trail with a slight incline (lap 3). Newton’s Revenge trail is a steep climb all the way to the hut. We had a warm lunch at the hut before making our way back to Poplar hut (lap 5).

Flagstaff Hut

I am not sure how we decided to attempt this monster ski day of 8 hours, 38.5km distance & 649m ascent round trip from Poplar to Flagstaff hut. At least we wanted to give it a try on perfect ski conditions. We would keep close watch of our progress, turning back by 12:30.

We set out immediately after breakfast on freshly groomed & tracked trails. On the highest point of the trail, near the Halfway Yurt, strong wind blew that almost gave us frost bite. We managed to get out in time to seek shelter between the trees.

We were still making good time, so we descended quickly Flagstaff Lake level, still feeling strong & optimistic about reaching Flagstaff hut by our deadline. And we did.


Location: 45.197909°N, 70.177158°W

We let our clothing layers dry while we ate heavy meal of bean soup & yoghurt.

Without delay, we started our long return trip to Poplar hut. We kept a steady pace & regular food breaks. The day went surprisingly well, arriving Poplar just in time for dinner:


Location: 45.101297°N, 70.186302°W

Sugarloaf

After three big days of amazing ski conditions, we could not think of any better ending to the trip than a day on the meticulously groomed trails of Sugarloaf resort.


Location: 45.076260°N, 70.276525°W

With lunch break at the warming hut:


Location: 45.075913°N, 70.281170°W

On our way back, we were already planning the third trip in 2016.

Resources

Route maps & logs: record of route from GPS device. View map or download copy in multiple formats such as GPX, TCX, & KML for Google Earth:

  • Ski from Airport trailhead to Poplar hut
  • Ski loop between Poplar & Stratton hut
  • Monster ski day round trip from Poplar to Flagstaff hut
  • Return ski from Poplar hut to Airport trailhead
  • Ski Sugarloaf
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