Published Date Written by Ed ParsonsRecently the new 10th edition of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide came out. Hikers who live in the Mount Washington Valley and enjoy the quiet hikes of nearby Maine, as well as hiking further afield in Maine, need to acquire it for their long term benefit. Two hundred more hikes have been added to the guide this time, and 75 more mountains covered, making the ninth edition published in 2005 obsolete.
Many of these "new" trails have been around a long time. Others have recently been built, for example in newly preserved areas, or as a quiet alternative to the popular Appalachian Trail. They are only in the mountains, as the title of the guide indicates, for if all the trails in Maine were included in a guidebook, it would be 1,000 pages long.
Still, for a hiker poised to head north into Maine, the new AMC Maine Mountain Guide will most likely guide them to new hiking experiences, whether on the coast, inland, or far north.
How was this accomplished by the publishers? In the search for someone to compile the new guidebook, Rob Burbank, the AMC's public affairs director based in Pinkham Notch, recommended Carey Michael Kish of Bowdoin, Maine. A freelance writer for ten years, Kish writes a hiking column for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram.
The intent of his column has not been to repeat and describe well known trails, but to scour the big state of Maine for unsung trails, and bring them to public consciousness. Having acquired a good knowledge of these lesser known Maine trails and mountains, he has included a slew of them in the new guidebook.
Did you ever hear of Bald Pate Mountain in South Bridgton? Check it out in the new guidebook for an interesting nearby day hike to craggy vistas. Want to go to the southern Maine coast? Check out Bauneg Beg Mountain in North Berwick, the only mountain in southern Maine without a communications tower (Kish's article on this mountain in the Portland Press Herald is easily Googled for a more personal description of the hike and grand vista). Located part way to the coast, Sawyer Mountain in Limington and Limerick has a good northwest view from its summit. "The mountains towards the coast have great northwest views towards the higher mountains," Kish recently said.
As for the Oxford Hills, Kish's phone description of approaching this area by road was alluring and brought back some Maine memories. "Driving north on Route 26, you look up to the left and right and see cliffs, ledges and bumps, most with trails," he said. Places like Buck's Ledge, Lapham Ledge, and Mount Christopher in Bryant Pond are included in this section of the new guidebook.
Further west beyond Bethel in the Mahoosuc Range, lies the new 38 mile Grafton Loop Trail, its eastern section built in 2003, and western section in 2007. It is an alternative backpack to the busy Appalachian Trail, but also travels 8 miles on the AT through Grafton Notch and over Baldpate Mountain.
To the north, Baxter State Park and Arcadia National Park have expanded sections in the guidebook. Other expanded sections include the Midcoast, Downeast, Kennebec and Moose River Valleys, and the 100 Mile Wilderness and Greater Moosehead Lake section.
The maps that come with the book cover seven areas in Maine, and fit neatly on two quality fold-out maps. They have been completely redone by AMC cartographer Larry Garland. The 100 Mile Wilderness map is new, and fascinating to look at, both by those who have been there before, and those who aspire to.
The maps have trail segment mileage, unlike AMC Maine maps before. They were GPS rendered by Garland, and are GPS compatible. The guidebook also has five in-text maps, including Pleasant Mountain in Denmark/Bridgton.
It is interesting to note that after each description of a trail in the guidebook, it can indicate which AMC map it is on; if it is on a Maine Appalachian Trail Conference map, and which one; which USGS map it is on; and which map in the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer it is on. "You should always have your Delorme Maine Atlas in your car," Kish said to those who would search out the hikes in his new guidebook.
Also, traditionally at the end of each section in the guidebook are suggested hikes, listed by levels of difficulty. These have been expanded. For example, after the Baxter State Park section there are 20 suggested hikes.
Get the new 10th edition of AMC Maine Mountain Guide. It is worth having.