Short getaway to Baxter State Park

Hiker Seth

Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
87
I was able to sneak out for one last trip to Northern Maine to get a little foliage action. Was hoping for some moose but they apparently were not interested. This trip would take me in to the center of the park for the first time and I was finally able to check off some backcountry sites that were on my wishlist. I started off on Tuesday 10/8 with a very short afternoon hike to Chimney Pond. Met a lot of day hikers coming out from bagging Katahdin. I'm always amazed by the amount of gear some folks carry for day hikes and today was no exception. My three day kit was probably lighter than most of the packs I saw.

For those that have not been here, Baxter is kind of a unique spot. While it is a state park it has its own set of (strict) rules separate from the rest of the Maine state park system. It was left to the people of Maine by Percival Baxter and he had a lot of covenants that must be adhered to. I think of it as the anti-White mountains. Lots of rules, all trailheads are limited access, and access to all can be taken away depending on weather. Definitely helps it to not get over-used.

View greeting you from the southern gate.

83833


I made a casual entrance at around 14:30 and headed up to Roaring Brook to park and check in with the rangers. Turns out they were all out of the park for training and volunteers were running the stations. Made my way up to Chimney pond and got some nice views of Katahdin as the sun dropped behind the ridge.

83834


Wednesday was a short day with pretty much al the elevation gain I would get from the trip. I am usually a go, go, go kind of backpacker so not rushing out of camp and just crushing miles was a struggle for me but I did the best I could knowing that my day was only around 7 miles total. I ascended Saddle trail and headed for the summit of Katahdin.

View from the top of Saddle looking East. Chimney Pond where I stayed at the bottom of the photo.

83835


It was a pleasant stroll to the summit and there were many folks day hiking, and several finishing their AT thru hike. One guy was finishing his triple crown. I did my best to try to linger but I could only manage 45 minutes before I had to get up. Ants in my pants.

View to Hamlin Peak.

83836


I headed to Hamlin and had lunch with a couple of gentlemen who also were also interested in more than just Katahdin. I then headed out on the Northwest Basin trail and left all people behind. It's fantastic open plateau walking, and I was anxious to see Davis Pond where I would be spending the night.

After you leave Hamlin's summit, take a right and follow this arm of the massif to the end, take another right north, and drop down in to one of the toughest descents in New England to Davis Pond, simple.

83837


I have no pictures of my trip down. When you aren't navigating old rock slides you are walking in a stream that has greasy black moss and some roots thrown in for good measure. I can't recall a harder trail down with a backpack in NE. The payoff was worth it.

Small solace for getting my butt kicked.

83838


The payoff. Yep, larches in NE.

83839


Luxury accommodations for the solo traveller. Was so nice not to carry a shelter. In Baxter you must reserve your campsite so you are guaranteed that you don't have to compete for spots.

83840


My original plan was to spend a third night at another remote spot on my list but family, and other obligations pulled me home. Thursday would be a nice 14 mile stroll out and basically all downhill. The hike started off as it ended the day before, more gnarly, wet descents in ankle deep water and a section where the trail and stream are one. Also all the bog bridges were frosted over so I was given an opportunity to grease off of them too. Lucky.

The valley of my descent towards Wassataquoik stream.

83841


Remnants of logging activity back in the day.

83842


I stopped and had lunch at Russell Pond which I found to be a lot less scenic than I had envisioned (no pics). I left and decided to follow Wassataquoik Stream trail back to my car in hopes that a moose may be lingering in the stream. They weren't. Below is the spot on Wassataquoik stream where you have to wade shin deep, with great views to the Travellers, a set of peaks in the northern end of the park that is well worth a visit.

83843


Poppin

83845


Until next time, Baxter.

83846
 

zionsky

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
508
Great pics! So that's what it looks like from the top?:lol: I was there last month and the cloud level was just below the top of the saddle but we went up anyway . It was about 40 degrees on baxter peak with sustained 30-40 mph winds so we didn't linger.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,506
Baxter is beautiful and your route looks awesome. Thanks for sharing! Did you get the name of the triple crowner?
 

Perry

Formerly Cuberant
.
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
2,045
Ma
I was able to sneak out for one last trip to Northern Maine to get a little foliage action. Was hoping for some moose but they apparently were not interested. This trip would take me in to the center of the park for the first time and I was finally able to check off some backcountry sites that were on my wishlist. I started off on Tuesday 10/8 with a very short afternoon hike to Chimney Pond. Met a lot of day hikers coming out from bagging Katahdin. I'm always amazed by the amount of gear some folks carry for day hikes and today was no exception. My three day kit was probably lighter than most of the packs I saw.

For those that have not been here, Baxter is kind of a unique spot. While it is a state park it has its own set of (strict) rules separate from the rest of the Maine state park system. It was left to the people of Maine by Percival Baxter and he had a lot of covenants that must be adhered to. I think of it as the anti-White mountains. Lots of rules, all trailheads are limited access, and access to all can be taken away depending on weather. Definitely helps it to not get over-used.

View greeting you from the southern gate.

View attachment 83833

I made a casual entrance at around 14:30 and headed up to Roaring Brook to park and check in with the rangers. Turns out they were all out of the park for training and volunteers were running the stations. Made my way up to Chimney pond and got some nice views of Katahdin as the sun dropped behind the ridge.

View attachment 83834

Wednesday was a short day with pretty much al the elevation gain I would get from the trip. I am usually a go, go, go kind of backpacker so not rushing out of camp and just crushing miles was a struggle for me but I did the best I could knowing that my day was only around 7 miles total. I ascended Saddle trail and headed for the summit of Katahdin.

View from the top of Saddle looking East. Chimney Pond where I stayed at the bottom of the photo.

View attachment 83835

It was a pleasant stroll to the summit and there were many folks day hiking, and several finishing their AT thru hike. One guy was finishing his triple crown. I did my best to try to linger but I could only manage 45 minutes before I had to get up. Ants in my pants.

View to Hamlin Peak.

View attachment 83836

I headed to Hamlin and had lunch with a couple of gentlemen who also were also interested in more than just Katahdin. I then headed out on the Northwest Basin trail and left all people behind. It's fantastic open plateau walking, and I was anxious to see Davis Pond where I would be spending the night.

After you leave Hamlin's summit, take a right and follow this arm of the massif to the end, take another right north, and drop down in to one of the toughest descents in New England to Davis Pond, simple.

View attachment 83837

I have no pictures of my trip down. When you aren't navigating old rock slides you are walking in a stream that has greasy black moss and some roots thrown in for good measure. I can't recall a harder trail down with a backpack in NE. The payoff was worth it.

Small solace for getting my butt kicked.

View attachment 83838

The payoff. Yep, larches in NE.

View attachment 83839

Luxury accommodations for the solo traveller. Was so nice not to carry a shelter. In Baxter you must reserve your campsite so you are guaranteed that you don't have to compete for spots.

View attachment 83840

My original plan was to spend a third night at another remote spot on my list but family, and other obligations pulled me home. Thursday would be a nice 14 mile stroll out and basically all downhill. The hike started off as it ended the day before, more gnarly, wet descents in ankle deep water and a section where the trail and stream are one. Also all the bog bridges were frosted over so I was given an opportunity to grease off of them too. Lucky.

The valley of my descent towards Wassataquoik stream.

View attachment 83841

Remnants of logging activity back in the day.

View attachment 83842

I stopped and had lunch at Russell Pond which I found to be a lot less scenic than I had envisioned (no pics). I left and decided to follow Wassataquoik Stream trail back to my car in hopes that a moose may be lingering in the stream. They weren't. Below is the spot on Wassataquoik stream where you have to wade shin deep, with great views to the Travellers, a set of peaks in the northern end of the park that is well worth a visit.

View attachment 83843

Poppin

View attachment 83845

Until next time, Baxter.

View attachment 83846
Man! Gorgeous!
 

zionsky

Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
508
Is the last pic from sandy stream? Both times I've been I've seen a moose there.
 

OldBill

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
182
Great photos, as usual and a perfect time of year to visit Baxter. I took Knife's Edge down from the top but it sounds like your trail was more dangerous. My trip was late July. Gave a ride to a thru hiker (Draggin, spelled 2 ways: Dragon for burning up the miles, Draggin for dragging into camp). I believe he said he averaged almost 30 miles/day and the 21st to complete that year.
 

Hiker Seth

Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
87
Great photos, as usual and a perfect time of year to visit Baxter. I took Knife's Edge down from the top but it sounds like your trail was more dangerous. My trip was late July. Gave a ride to a thru hiker (Draggin, spelled 2 ways: Dragon for burning up the miles, Draggin for dragging into camp). I believe he said he averaged almost 30 miles/day and the 21st to complete that year.

Thanks. I've done Knife's Edge before and the trail down to Davis Pond is definitely harder. The only real challenge on KE is the down climb on Pamola. The rest is just personal level of comfort on exposure. Plenty of real estate to stand on and hold on to. Last time I was there a large boar black bear was feeding on mountain cranberries in one of the gulleys.

Speaking of which I don't know how I forgot to add a pic of it, so here you go.

83849
 
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