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Karen Beaudoin

Karen Beaudoin is a life-long Mainer, which means she’s a fan of the Red Sox (World Champs again! Take that Yankee fans), whoopee pies, Ogunquit Beach, the L.L. Bean boot mobile and vacations in tropical locations in February and March. Ninety-eight percent of her work week is spent as web editor for; during the remaining “fun” percent she contributes to

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Posted: October 1, 2018

One foot in front of the other adds up to 14 Maine 4,000-footers

Written by: Karen Beaudoin

When you’re climbing a mountain, 8/10 of a mile seems a lot more like 3. But when you’re that close to the summit, you have no choice but to continue to put one foot in front of the other until that summit sign you’ve been hoping to see since Mile 2 of a 4 1/2-mile trek comes into view. Then comes the adrenaline that pushes you to the top, where all focus turns to the summit photos that will prove to all your Facebook followers that you really did scale all 14 of Maine’s 4,000-foot mountains. It took nine hikes and parts of two summers, but my wife, Margo Batchelder, and I completed the list and learned a little bit while we were at it.



Tips for bagging 14

Old Speck (4,170 feet): Why start here? The 360-degree views from the top of the fire tower will help the hiking bug take hold.

Crocker (4,228), South Crocker (4,050) & Redington (4,010): Look away for a second and you may miss the turn from South Crocker to Redington, adding mileage you don’t want. Redington is considered a bushwhack, but the path is packed down enough that it’s easier to find than that darn turn. Do all three in a day at 8.6 miles.

The Bigelows – West (4,145) & Avery (4,090): It’s pretty from start to finish as you pass Stratton Brook Pond before hitting the Fire Warden’s Trail. You’ll cover 11.6 miles to grab these two peaks, and if you’re loving what you’re seeing you can loop around The Horns (3,805) just for fun.

Sugarloaf (4,250) & Spaulding (4,010): Sure you can come up the ski trail, but you’ll feel like more of a hiker if you take the Appalachain Trail in. Despite the cellphone towers, Sugarloaf has some decent views from the top. Soak them up because there are no views at all on Spaulding.

Saddleback (4,120) & Saddleback Horn (4,041): You’ve got a choice to make in Rangeley – climb up and down the ski trail for a 6.8-mile hike, or follow the Appalachain Trail and make it a 14.6-mile round trip. Sure, 14 miles is a lot, but you’ll pass Piazza Rock and Eddy Pond on the AT. And going up a ski trail is fairly easy, but coming down is 1.8 miles of pain on the knees.

Abraham (4,050): Choose a calm day so you can enjoy this one. It’s one of the prettiest as you boulder across open ledge for about half a mile to the top. There are amazing views but the wind can really whip.

Baxter (5,268) & Hamlin (4,756): Grab these two together to save yourself from climbing Katahdin twice. There are many trails to choose from – the technical Knife’s Edge, the direct, rock-climbing Cathedral route, or easier Saddle, which brings hikers to the midpoint between the two peaks. Hit Baxter, traverse over to Hamlin and, if you have the time, it’s worth coming down Hamlin Ridge.

North Brother (4,151): You’ll be lulled into thinking you’re just out for a walk in the woods. Then you’ll think you must be almost there. You’re not. Keep looping along those switchbacks and eventually you’ll find yourself scrambling up a narrow stream bed that takes you to daylight. Look up and you’ll see the sign – finally! – just a half-mile rock scramble away.

Karen Beaudoin is director of digital content platforms for MaineToday Media. You can follow the entrepid hikers on Facebook at: Adventures with Margo and Karen


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