Sabattus Mountain in Lovell is a gem of a place that offers an easy, family-friendly hiking adventure with spectacular views.

Choosing a hike is always an interesting process at our house. The peanut gallery, now 14 and 16 years old, has to approve of the adventure to ensure we all have a good time. The criteria in choosing this particular hike included my daughter’s perception of the family’s fitness level. Both girls feel they are “really out of shape to climb a big mountain.”

This is how we all usually feel about early spring hikes. We need a few easy warm-up climbs before we tackle the higher elevation gains.

Sabattus Mountain has an elevation gain of about 500 feet, and we all agreed that sounded very doable.

The driving directions sounded straight-forward, and that can be a determining factor in choosing a trail. There is nothing more frustrating than vague directions to an out-of-the-way trailhead with kids in the car. I prefer to avoid comments like, “Are we there yet?” or “Mom, you’re lost aren’t you?”

I’ve heard plenty of both through the years.

I used the 10th edition AMC Maine Mountain Guide when researching this mountain. This updated guide was edited by fellow Maine Sunday Telegram outdoor columnist Carey Kish (it’s out in bookstores this month). The trail was described as having nice cliff views of the western mountains and the Presidential Range. And thanks to a clear spring day, that’s just what we found.

The trail is marked with yellow blazes and the climb is steady but not particularly steep. There were a few spots when one of us stopped to take a break under the guise of taking a picture or listening for the birds. Of course we weren’t out of breath (well, maybe a little), but my daughter’s assessment of our stamina for mountain climbing this year was accurate. This mountain choice was just right for us.

As we neared the top, which is less than a mile from the trailhead, we found a couple nice lookout points. The kids were particularly enamored with a large deposit of white quartzite that sparkled in the sunlight.

But it was the summit view that we found most impressive, particularly because you usually have to work a lot harder for an expansive, unobstructed view from an open rock face. And the park benches to take in the scenery were an unexpected bonus.

While exploring the summit, my 14-year-old discovered a geological marker pounded into the rock ledge near the northwest edge of the cliff. Despite the battered appearance of the gold disk, it was an exciting discovery. We are geocachers, finding hidden boxes with our hand-held GPS unit, and have considered participating in the benchmark hunting aspect of the game to find geological markers. After this discovery, the kids want to go on the hunt for another one.

Round-trip, this hike was an easy 1.5 miles. It really was a wonderful place to get back to our family mountain climbing adventures this spring.

 

Assistant News Editor Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at:

wea@mainetoday.com

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