A winding 1500ft climb ended at the chairlift at the top. I looked over to my left and was startled to see a large bull moose walking under a chair! I shouted to my husband "Moose LEFT!" and I quickly pulled out my camera to take a shot. Normally I see moose in lowland swamps and never have I ever seen one this high before. Once we made some noise, I was sure it was going to do what moose normally do which was to run for cover. Instead, this bull continued straight on his path....right towards us! It was evident he wasn't intimidated! Glenn and I decided to scurry a few steps up the hiking trail that leads to the actual mountain summit and wait for him to pass. Sure enough, the bull walked by looked at us and kept going. He was only 30meters away! We were pretty excited about this animal encounter that we had not expected in the least!!
The hiking trail leaves the ski hill just to the right of the chair and leads up to join with the Appalachian trail. You need to turn left here and continue over a few knolls to the Saddleback mountain summit. Here we met a few AT hikers having a break and drying out in the sun. We took some summit shots and told our moose story and headed back along the trail towards The Horn.
The descent path down to the col in this section has got a few scramble-y moves that reminded me of Adirondack slab hiking. The rock here in parts was wet which made some moves even more tricky. The ridge here is exposed and so is the col and ascent on the other side. The col is mostly on exposed rock. The ascent up to the Horn is bit friendlier requiring less grunt work. The summit of the Horn is amazing. Both summits offer 360 degree views but the Horn's is my favourite. I definitely could have stayed there longer. We ate our lunch there and drank in the views. We chatted again with some of the AT hikers we met on Saddleback and one new one. I pointed out where they were headed as you could see the cell towers on Sugarloaf in the distance and could also see Spaulding and the Crockers. I have always been curious about thru-hiking and asked a few questions but could have asked many more. We had lingered enough in the sun and then parted ways and returned back to the Saddleback summit passing many other groups.
We dropped down to the ski hill and took the road down again and ended our hike reflecting on how great the hiking is in Maine. It's a shame I only have one more summit in Maine left (Old Speck). Up to 88/115 peaks!
Elevation: 2975 feet
Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes