There is a decent, though very brushy herd path from South Crocker to Redington's cleared summit (though not open - there were some structures here at one time). There is also a series of old logging roads (still wide open and very hike-able) leading from the Caribou Valley Road (aka the Caribou Pond Road) to the herd path near the summit.
The CVR itself has been in declining shape the last several years; being merely a logging road that happened to cross the Appalachian Trail at a convenient point for peak-baggers (only 2.1 miles by trail to South Crocker from the road) it has not been maintained at all. Many bridges leading up to the AT crossing have been getting weak and Hurricane Irene last fall made things even worse. Of late, only high-clearance vehicles have been able to get anywhere near the AT crossing, and after Irene even those were having trouble. It looked like this might be the last year to "easily" access Redington, and I was glad to get a shot at it. However, awesome news came through from other trip reports a mere week before the hike that the CVR had been largely repaired up to a point 1/2 mile from the AT crossing, and was barricaded to vehicular traffic beyond that point. Still, bridges and culverts had been repaired or replaced and even low-clearance vehicles had been getting up to the 3.9-mile mark (which is where the barricades were) with minimal trouble. I had ridden up with Chris, who had a Subaru Outback, so we were certainly in good shape there.
|No cars beyond this point - drivable by any vehicle up to here with a little care|
|Bridge after barricade, before AT crossing|
|Replaced bridge shortly before AT crossing|
After turning right (West) onto the AT, we began a moderate ascent to the Crocker Cirque Campsite spur path roughly 1 mile up from the road. Above here the trail ascends steeper, twice climbing briefly up a talus slide with nice views toward North Crocker and the Bigelow Peaks from yesterday.
|The Bigelow Range - Avery Peak, West Peak, the Horns from right to left|
|Little Bigelow Mountain|
|Crocker Cirque - campsite is near there|
|Looking down one of the talus slides you climb up|
|Spaulding, with the rocky summit of Abraham way off in the background|
|The ridge between Sugarloaf and Spaulding|
|An AT marker right in the center of the trail - these are mostly long gone now, it was cool to see one!|
We quickly executed a u-turn back to South Crocker.
|Nice walk through the col between the Crockers|
|In the col, heading to Redington in the center|
|South Crocker from the col|
|East Kennebago Mountain (I think)|
|Bigelows behind the Crockers col|
While up here 2 other people showed up. So at least 7 visited this summit on this day! After the annoying bushwhack we opted to take the longer, but easy-going route down the myriad of logging roads. The directions are rather mixed up out there on the internet, most people say "right, right, left, left" at the various intersections, but I'm pretty sure there were 3 rights before the lefts. The first is where the herd path that we followed up from the logging road splits, to go back to the logging road we came from, or to the right which we followed. There are some carins and wood arrows marking the way uphill (from the CVR), but I'd suggest downloading my GPS track from Peakbagger.com for this peak and overlaying it on Google Earth. It will give you a better idea, and if you have a GPS, you can load it on there as extra help.
The lower left turn is onto the CVR near Caribou Pond. From here it is over 3 miles back to the car. Along the way we saw many washout sections, broken bridges, and altogether missing bridges. Needless to say, without work being done on this stretch (unlikely), even a Jeep right now might not be able to get to the pond for a shorter attack on Redington.
|One of the old roads we descended to the CVR|
|Turned left here onto the CVR|
Peaks: South Crocker (4050', NE4K), North Crocker (4228', NE4K), Redington (4010', NE4K)
Mileage: ~11.3 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3400 feet
Time: 5.5 hours total, including breaks