August 22, 2004
(Tim, Danielle, Heather, Steve, Sue - Total Distance: 9 miles)

The day after our rain soaked hike over Saddleback and the Horn we woke to clear skies and warm sun. After packing up camp we started our drive home, but first we had one more hike to complete to finish off our list of New England 4,000 footers. 

The Firewardens trail begins on a logging road. At first, we had a bit of confusion with the directions, but eventually found the trail and put on our packs to begin the hike. The trail begins easy enough with a few of stream crossings and an easy grade for the first couple of miles to the cabin. The cabin offers a place to sleep and stay dry, but all of us agreed that we would rather sleep in a tent outside than in the dank and creaky cabin.

Heather on the Firewardens Trail
Heather on the Firewardens Trail
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Tim and Danielle on top of Abraham
On the rainy trail to the Horn
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There's a trail sign at the rangers cabin informing you of the distance to the summit. We later learned that the sign was off by a half mile. This added a mile and an hour to our hike. It wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't already hike 15 miles the day before. This was also the point where the real climbing began. We hiked up a steep pitch for quite a while before we broke through treeline and got our first views of the surrounding valley. The trail still ascended rather steeply as we approached the top, but soon we could see the old summit tower and our goal for the day. For Danielle and I, along with Heather and Steve, these were our last few steps to complete our list of New England 4,000 footers.

On top of the mountain we took our numerous summit pictures, congratulated each other and broke out the bubbly to begin our celebration. Champagne never tasted so good! Luckily the weather was perfect and we could really enjoy the fantastic views. We could see Saddleback and Horn, as well as Spaulding and Sugarloaf. We could even see Mt. Washington and Katahdin on the horizon. The summit itself is rather broad with two highpoints. One has the old tower on top where the other one has some interesting rock formations, cairns and a stone throne.  It's a great place to strike a pose. There's also a survival shelter on top which could be used to save a life, but not a place you'd want to camp in.

Our hike back to the car seemed to take forever. We were all tired from hiking the day before and decided to follow a logging road for the last mile instead of the trail. After cleaning up we headed to Gritty McDuff's in Freeport for a celebratory dinner and beer.

Begin the celebration!
Begin the celebrating!
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