April 21, 2018
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Comments for: A man and a mountain: A hiker shares decades-long story about a 3,000-footer

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  • Thanks for sharing history.  Big Spencer is still on my ‘to do’ list.

  • Nice story, the BDN has great coverage of outdoor activities. 

  • I grew up hiking Big Spencer as a youngster.  Every summer my family would spend a week tenting at Lobster Lake.  Inevitably, one of those days would be devoted to Big Spencer which loomed over us during our stay at the lake.  It was a special hike because of the lonely camp at mid station, narrow steep sections with ladders and especially the fire tower.  I recall the terror following my dad up the metal ladder and up into the rickity fire tower as it shuddered in the wind.  The climb always paid off, I would read the messages scribed throughout the tower from fellow hikers, look at the map on the small table and soak in the panoramic view.  The hike even inspired my Mom to create a picture book titled “The Spencer Mountain Elves” based on the little guys that are said to inhabit the mountainside.  I haven’t personally beared witness to the exotic little fellas, but I’m a believer.

  • Anonymous

    that was a bittersweet story. thanks for sharing it with us

  • Anonymous

    Maine’s mountains are precious to Mainers.

  • Anonymous

    I love climbing mountains and hiking in Maine’s wilderness. We must find new ways of getting the message out that the wind-industry is not based on science but on greed and willingness to do major destruction to lives, the environment and our economy.

  • Anonymous

    Very nice article…well done  BDN

  • Anonymous

     I lived up there my first summer working on the log drive for Scott Paper on
    Moosehead Lake back in the summer of 1970.  I was wandering around looking for a
    place to sleep other than on the ground as I had been, and happened to climb
    Spencer one day.  Met Ed & Dot Lambert.  At the time the Forest Service had
    just built a new cabin for the fire warden which the Lamberts had moved into
    maybe the year before, and the former cabin was still standing maybe 75 feet
    away.  They offered to let me stay in that older cabin, which I did.  It was a
    rather squat, dark place with not much going for it, except a bed spring, and
    old mattress. which is all I needed.  Dot brought over a blanket or tick, and I
    was set.  “My” cabin was burned either later that fall, or the next year.  The
    ‘new’ cabin is the one that was burned last year.    I was told of and encouraged to come up and help with the project,
    but couldn’t get away.
    So, my routine became getting up in the middle of
    the night, wandering down through the trail in the dark.  I didn’t have a clock
    so I often got up at 2 or 3 in the morning rather than the 5 AM I wanted to get
    up, stumbled down to the road, got on my old motorcycle and went down to Lily
    Bay Logging Camp where I waited around for breakfast.  After work and after
    supper at the Camp, I went back up on the mountain and spent hours on hours with
    Ed & Dot every evening listening to their stories of old and yore.  All
    summer.  In late August as rutting season came around, I’d hear the moose just
    off or close beside the trail as I stumbled down in the dark without a
    flashlight, just following the trace of starlight in the opening in the trees
    above the trail.   Never knew whether they were cows or big bulls looking to
    corner me

    Even the slightest traces of the Lily Bay camp have
    long since disappeared.  Even the one up in Spencer Bay is now gone.  Hard to
    believe how good the eating was at those places, and for only a few dollars a
    week- massive quantities but you only had mere minutes to get it down before the
    cook would get impatient about cleaning up.  Not very leisurely dining.  And of
    course the cooks and pretty much all of the crew were


    But I suppose that’s fodder for another story.Ernie Hilton

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