View Full Version : The Owl - Baxter State Park

Papa Bear
03-24-2004, 03:56 PM
We will be hiking in Baxter State Park in September and The Owl has been mentioned as a worthwhile peak to climb.

Is there any way to get to it aside from the trail that climbs the ridge bearing north off the Hunt Trail near Katahdin Stream Falls?

Looks like an interesting possibility crossing to the col east of The Owl and then following along the ridge line up to the table land, or is that crazy? (See the red cross on this map) (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=5084124&e=504008&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25)

If there's a harder way, we'll find it :D


03-25-2004, 02:22 AM
Edit: I'm not sure now if you're talking about going UP to The Owl from that red cross or going DOWN to the red cross from The Owl, but I'll assume you're thinking of climbing up to The Owl.

I think you'd be climbing a cliff, but maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

Even the trail, just before the summit, led to a difficult overhang. I had to (what I consider...) cheat by hanging onto a tree or something that was growing there and hauling myself up, then scramble through some boulders, and up to a fairly small hooked summit ridge, which ends at a sort of promontory (save there's no water, per my dictionary's definition of a promontory). Like a reverse box canyon but rather than three walls, the land drops away on three sides.

Some of the contours on that map look relatively gentle, until The Owl's summit, anyway, but that red cross looks like it's in the middle (or edge) of nowhere. How were you planning on getting there? The rangers won't let you camp out there, will they?

03-25-2004, 08:14 AM
Near as I know, the only trail is the one you mention. However, I think it would be a feasible, though scratchy, bushwhack across the saddle. As long as you stay north of the cliff line, you shouldn't encounter too many impassable ledges.

I would be somewhat concerned about the impact of such a trip on the landscape. You are obviously skilled at LeaveNoTrace, but if I recall correctly, there are fir waves and krumholtz along your proposed route. It could be very slow going, but it is important not to create a herd path there.

Papa Bear
03-25-2004, 09:23 AM
No I wasn't thinking of buswhacking up from anywhere, I was thinking of bushwhacking DOWN to the Owl from the tableland.

The idea is:
1) Go up Hunt trail (the AT) and summit Baxter Peak
2) On the way back head north across along the trail (Great Basin Trail?) towards the Saddle Trail till you are about east of the Owl
3) Cut across the tableland from where the Saddle Trail comes in a little south of due west and get on the ridge which is just north of the upper ravine of Katahdin Stream
4) Climb down the ridge to the Owl col and thence to the Owl. This part goes by that little red cross on the map. I'm hoping this is the 4th side of the Owl which is not so cliffy.
5) Go down the Owl Trail rejoining the Hunt Trail and out.

Here's another map (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=5084246&e=504348&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25) with the red cross moved over to the top of the ridge we would attempt to climb down to the Owl Col.

And you're right el-bagr about wrecking the countryside. In fact the Rangers may just say "you want to do WHAT?".

And you know, it might just be quicker and easier to go all the way back down to where the Owl Trail starts and go up that and then turn around and come back down.


03-25-2004, 11:27 AM
I won't go into any details, but from past experience, the spruce and krumholz grows more thickly all around the Owl then I had ever encountered before. I think that you would be in for a very difficult descent from the Tableland and on up the ridge to the Owl.:(

03-25-2004, 12:32 PM
PB, the Spruce waves seen from Caribou Spring would lead me to think it would be real thick in there. Bushwhacking down from the Tableland gives you little option to retreat if it gets impenetrable.

The Owl looked so impressive when I did the Hunt trail. I need to get up there! So many peaks, so little time...

03-25-2004, 12:38 PM
No comment!!