Favorite Mountain

Lindsay on the north summit of East Royce Mountain.

A couple of weeks ago we hiked up East Royce Mountain in Evans Notch, Maine and we may have found a new favorite mountain!  It was a relatively short but steep hike, ascending through two distinct forest types while following water just about the entire way.  The climb culminated with wonderful 360 views on two summits.

Welcoming trailhead for the East Royce Mountain in Evans North, Maine.

Here are the stats on this hike: 4.8 miles round trip (including our side rambles), a gain of over 2,000 feet in elevation, ample parking on Route 113 in Evans Notch approximately 1 mile north of the height of land (this road closes in the winter).

We stopped at the gas station in Gorham and stocked up on Chex Mix and Combos to bring for lunch, but we both downed a Naked fruit smoothie before hitting the trail.  Surprisingly for this less frequented trail, there were a few other cars in the parking lot.

Waterfalls are abundant along the East Royce Trail.

The trail begins on an immediate incline with brooks and lovely waterfalls along the way.  A couple with a little fido dog passed us on their way down and warned us of another couple “big dogs” behind them.  We took our time, trying to spy into the woods for other waterfalls.  With the leaves off the trees, it is easy to see far into the wood, but still difficult to get a good picture.  While checking out one view of a waterfall, a golden retriever and black lab bounded toward us with their owners not too far behind.  We’re not the get up early and go hiking types, and we reap the reward of having the trails to ourselves when we start our hikes later in the morning or afternoon.

Andrew points to a ledge on the side of East Royce Mountain.

The trail becomes thick with evergreens.

After crossing several brooks, the forest abruptly changed from open hardwoods to dense softwoods. The air grew colder and icicles clung to the rocky ledges. We soon came to the Royce Connector Trail junction, but stayed on the East Royce Trail to the summits.

Ledges border this rooty part of the East Royce Mountain Trail.

Sun sparkles at first view.

The south summit on East Royce Mountain.

The weather forecast warned us of snow/rain showers, but when we reached the first summit the clouds held off and the sun shined brightly, although the winds were strong.  Before stopping for a snack we wandered around looking for the unmarked north summit trail.

Summit rocks.

Mountain Bluebird !!

Awesome views of Carribou Mountain from the summit of East Royce Mountain.

After resting out of the winds to eat the chex mix, we followed the unmarked trail to the north summit. The north summit has awesome views to the north and east and is definitely worth the extra trip.

Andrew climbs up to the North Summit.

The view from north summit.

The north view.

We headed back down off East Royce Mountain and before we knew it we were back down in the open hardwood forest. It was getting late and the light was quickly changing.  We stopped at a wide part in the trail next to the brook and hung out for a while.

Andrew poses with his favorite tree with its’ moss covered roots.

Break time with a little Snapperhead.

We were enjoying a snack when we both heard a noise behind us.  We both turned to look and saw a dog just 4 feet away! All three of us startled a bit, and the dog and three guys walked on down the trail.  After a few more minutes we headed down ourselves, but got side tracked just off the trail.  A boulder enticed us to see the loud water sound we could hear on the otherside.  As the light faded we found a beautiful hidden waterfall!

A hidden waterfall found on the East Royce Trail.

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12 thoughts on “Favorite Mountain

  1. Looks like a great hike, thanks for sharing.
    I am wondering about the “friendly bird”. Would you like an ID on it?
    Interesting brew. Where did you get that?

  2. I have just had a well respected birder take a look at the photo. He is fairly certain it is a Townsend Solitaire. He says they love to eat berries. He wishes he could see the eye ring which would confirm it. Says it is a rare find! Also says it is not a Gray Jay, Gray Catbird or Mockingbird.

  3. I enlarged the mystery bird picture and could see the white eye ring which confirms that it is a Townsend’s Solitaire. This is a relatively common species in Colorado and Montana but rare in New England. The Great Plains serve as a barrier to this species which should have been migrating south instead of east.

    The Townsend’s Solitaire It is especially fond of eating juniper berries of which we have none in the White Mountains but become common further south with trees like eastern red cedar. The bird in this picture is eating mountain ash berries of which we have a plentiful supply in the mountains this winter. I have been seeing a lot of robins feeding on them this fall including some of the black-backed sub-species of the American robin that come from the Newfoundland area.

    A wonderful find.

  4. Nice find Lindsay! Glad you got the photo! It looked unusual to me and I certainly could not let it go tagged as a “friendly bird”. Great to have Dave confirm the ID.
    Might be important to check in with him on getting an “official” report documented in on your friend TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE :>

  5. I submitted the picture to the Maine Rare Bird Records. If it is a TOSO, this sighting now makes the total number of TOSO reports in Maine a total of 16! Wow! Okay birders, I’m feeling the excitement.

    **UPdate** The Maine Bird Record Committee is investigating the photo and some are leaning more towards a Mountain Bluebird. (Which would be the first record in Maine!)

    I never would’ve guessed that snapping a quick photo of a bird on the summit would create such a buzz.

  6. A very rare sighting in northeast….miles and miles away? Did migration path screw up? If it is the Mountain Bluebird, then this is a real comeback for bluebirds this year.

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