1-5-19 Parsons-Peary Mountain

A group of five on the summit of Peary Mountain on a previous hike. (ED PARSONS PHOTO)

Here is a wonderful moderate 2-mile round trip hike in a nearby quiet corner of southwestern Maine.

Peary Mountain (958 feet), is located in an out-of-the-way corner of Brownfield, Maine. To get there from North Conway take Route 302 to Fryeburg, Maine, and turn right at the monument on Route 113. Drive east out of town and past the Eastern Slope Airport on the right.

In about three quarters of a mile after that, bear right on the well-plowed dirt Farmsworth Road. Drive past Frost Mountain Yurts (frostmountainyurts.com) on your left. A mile from Route 113, just after a large log cabin on an open slope to your left, and just before a dip and a narrow bridge over a stream (called the Little Saco River), park on the right in a plowed parking spot. Walk across the road and up a dirt road just before the bridge. This accesses a snowmobile trail that climbs to a saddle up on Peary Mountain.

Since this is also the hiking trail up to the saddle, an ideal time to do it would be mid-week, however it is not a high-volume snowmobile route, and a weekend hike should be quiet.

When I did the hike recently, the trail was covered with a few inches of new snow, and it was the first time I had ever broken trail up a snowmobile trail. I wore foot traction and used trekking poles.

The trail climbs up through a beautiful shady forest of mixed hardwoods and softwoods. In about three quarters of a mile, the trail reaches the saddle. Looking through the bare trees to your left there, you can see the white ledges on the south summit of Pearly Mountain. The side trail to it is a sharp left that leaves the snowmobile trail in the saddle. Be patient looking for it. Don’t descend the other side on the snowmobile trail.

I bore left a short way, then right to the summit on a steep section that requires care. On top, I reached the beautiful flat stone seat that someone once made from a loose piece of ledge. I wiped off an end, sat and turned to look at the great western view. The higher peaks in the White Mountains were in the clouds, yet the Maine intervales and hills were always pleasant to gaze upon.

After an apple, I strolled 20 feet over to the southern view towards the fields, forests and farms of Brownfield, with the Burnt Meadow Mountains beyond. I could see the road that went towards Stone Mountain Arts Center (stonemountainartscenter.com).

There is another good view on the summit, looking eastward over Peary Mountain’s neighbor, Frost Mountain (1,225 feet). I walked 50 feet to the east side of the summit and gazed that way. Then I returned to the seat.

I headed back down. In the past, I had been to the top of Peary Mountain with a group of five. This time almost felt like they were all with me. That’s when solitude is best.

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