Thursday, August 4, 2016

Deasey Mountain

Deasey Mountain (aka Daicey Mountain): This is one of the very few fire lookouts in Maine, as opposed to fire TOWERS.  The long approach (7 miles each way to the start of the climb) and relatively low height of this peak (1964’) make it a rare treat.  I love long approaches, especially when they are on run-able logging roads.  I misread the trip reports on this and had it in my head that it was 6 miles each way but that was “as the crow flies” and didn’t include the climb.  D’oh!  This would be my longest run since the 20 mile rail trail excursion back in March.
Kevin and I drove from Millinocket (Wilderness Edge Campground – hot showers, a swimming pool, and WIFI!) just after sunrise.  We followed the excellent driving directions from “Nate” off of the “Views from the Top” website.  I’ve posted them below along with mileage (which was not originally included).  We spotted 2 moose as we drove through Stacyville.  After crossing over the East Branch of the Penobscot (near Whetmore Falls) we parked at the four-way logging road junction (12.5 miles from the exit off the highway all on decent roads) and prepared for the run.
It was a bit buggy (deerflies) on the logging road but not terrible.  Conditions were good with clear skies and temps in the upper 60’s at 7am.  Not even ½ mile into our run and we came across a moose!  We walked by as he stared at us from about 50 meters away, once out of his sight we started back running. 
At almost exactly a mile we had a stream crossing.  We could have driven to this point but certainly no further.  Someone had rigged up a small bridge and we easily crossed.
At 3 miles we crossed the Wassataquoik stream on a large wooden bridge.  It was springy and had a few holes but was mostly in okay shape (at least for a couple of runners). 
 The next half-mile had me a bit nervous as we went East instead of North.  There had been a couple of minor turns that looked promising but this was definitely the “main road” so we stuck with it as it bent back North.  At 4.5 miles we reached the beaver dam that blocked the trail.  It was a minor bushwhack and a careful crossing of the dam and we were off again.
 Three-Quarters of a mile later we crossed a minor stream and I forgot to restart my watch losing .3.  We were starting to consider what we’d do if we were on the wrong trail when we finally arrived at the sign for the trail to the summit (at 6.7 on my watch or almost exactly 7 miles from our car).
Of course I forgot to start my watch again when we checked our map and started the climb.  In all I’d lose .8 over the course of this 18 mile run, Kevin kept his watch running even when we stopped so we kept comparing distances along the way.  Anyway, we hit the turn at 7 miles and at 379’ a mere 7’ higher than our starting point!  We had 1600’ to climb in 2 miles, definitely more of a mountain run.  For the most part the trail was pretty easy to follow although not that well maintained.  Almost exactly a mile later and we arrived at the wardens cabin which is falling apart.  We stopped and had a short venture inside to check it out. 

There was some signage for the International Appalachian trail, but we weren’t sure that was a feasible route for us for the way down.  There was also signage to the summit and the trail at this point became well worn (you could easily miss the way we came up at as it was pretty overgrown).  Finally we reached our goal after 9 miles and 1:55 after we’d started.
Unexpectedly we bumped into a couple who were hiking the IAT and had reached the top of Deasey about ½ hour before us.  We chatted with them for a bit, took some pictures (incredible view of Katahdin), and had a bite to eat.  After about 20 minutes it was time to head back. 

 The miles rolled by pretty easily, at least until about 14, then it was just a matter of “finishing it up”.  We got back to the car just after 11 am with a total time of 4:09 for the 18 mile trek.  Our time running was 1:50 for the run back, so only a few minutes faster than the way out which is typical for me (and especially on a mostly flat run like this).  Total climb/descent was 1,900’.
This was a good tune-up for our Katahdin ascent planned for the next day!
From “Nate” on Views from the top (my edits in red):  From Stacyville: Depart I-95 at exit 264 and get on Route 11 South (reset odometer to zero). Follow this into downtown Stacyville (such as it is), and where 11 mades a sharp left (5.5 miles), to head south to Medway, continue straight ahead where the road promptly turns to dirt. Please use caution when driving on this road, especially if you have a lower car. At 10.5 miles the main road goes left and starts dropping towards the river. Arrive at the River at 12.5 miles.

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