The Local Voice in Land Conservation | High Peaks Region Maine
Bald Mountain in Weld: Small but mighty
By Mary Haley
When I was looking for a easy/moderate hike this spring, I landed on Bald Mountain in Weld, Maine. The two-mile round trip length caught my eye, while the “advanced” difficulty on Maine Trail Finder, escaped me. Although most of the snow was gone from the ground I knew the higher elevations would still be holding onto its snow as long as possible, so I borrowed some microspikes from my mom and loaded up the dog. Her parting words after handing off the spikes, were, “I’ve done Bald, it’s a tough climb, be careful.” I inwardly scoffed with the two-mile round trip distance engrained in my mind.
Well, my mom was right. It was tough, but deeply rewarding. Honestly, I don’t love hiking. I do it to exercise my dog, create content for clients (which was my purpose for this hike), and my own health goals as a secondary reward. That being said, reaching a summit always makes me second guess my motives and wonder if maybe–just maybe–I do really like hiking.
Starting up Bald Mountain it became clear very quickly why it’s a “tough climb.” In the one mile to the top, you gain 1,300 feet and the strain in my calfs and glutes where emphasizing that fact to me the entire way. My dog didn’t bat an eye at it though, and I’m fairly certain he covered 3x the distance I did. At this time of year there was snow on 90% of the trail and once we cleared tree line the wind had swept parts of the exposed rock bare while keeping a good several inches packed into the valleys of the trail.
The hike up took me about an hour (I’m a slow hiker to begin with) but slow and steady was the name of the game with the steep incline. The wind had been mild the whole hike but as soon as we reach the peak the open summit had it whipping hard around us. Winter hikes make for sparse crowds and this day, alone on the top with just the dog, taking in the 360-degree views, with the wind rattling the trees it was a surreal feeling and experience. And once again, I second guessed my stance that, “I don’t really like hiking,” because at that moment, I loved every second.
I underestimated this small but mighty mountain in many ways and although I enjoyed my winter hike, I look forward to going back to see the fall foliage in all its glory. If you’re looking for things to do in western Maine, I highly recommend this hike but make sure to stretch those calfs out!
For more trail information head to Maine Trail Finder. If you’d like to submit your own story of recreating in the High Peaks Region, check out our writer guidelines.
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