PDA

View Full Version : Late Winter in Baxter?



Guthook
03-18-2011, 07:39 AM
A few of my hiking buddies from down south are coming up to Maine next week, and they really want to try snowshoeing. I figured one of the places most likely to still have snow despite the heat wave we've been having could be Baxter park. And somehow I've never been there except in the summer.

Anybody have any suggestions for a easy to medium difficulty, short (5-10 miles roundtrip), scenic hike up there that's likely to have enough snow for snowshoeing next week?

spencer
03-18-2011, 07:56 AM
mountains or a walk in the woods?

peakbagger
03-18-2011, 08:03 AM
If you want snow, the mountains of western maine or northern NH up near the canadian border look like the place to go

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/nerfc/graphics/snowmaps/html/snow_depth.html

Millinocket had less then normal snow fall this year, still plenty of snow pack but other places may be closer. There is still plenty of snow in the northern presidentials. Of course the snow is getting close to the consistency of styrofoam.

Guthook
03-18-2011, 08:38 AM
I told them it might just be a bad time for snow in general, which seems to be the case. And a lot might happen in the next week before they show up (melting, snowing, who knows!).

The Mahoosucs are an option, too. Basically, I'm thinking either short mountains or a nice walk around in the woods with a stream or lake for scenery.

RoySwkr
03-18-2011, 02:31 PM
Am I correct that the road into Baxter Park is gated until May 1 so you would need to walk from there?

Guthook
03-18-2011, 03:36 PM
Am I correct that the road into Baxter Park is gated until May 1 so you would need to walk from there?

That's my understanding, too, I just don't know much about what hikes are available from the end of the plowed bit, or exactly where that plowing ends. Hmm...

bcskier
03-19-2011, 09:29 AM
According to the NOHRSC Snow Map (http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/interactive/html/map.html) there is as much snow in S. VT. as there is much further north. I'll probably be heading up to the Searsburg area later today so I can confirm the algorithm generated data in person but I suspect it's not far off in its 40-50 in. depth predictions. A very nice snowshoe trip of the length you're talking about would be Stratton Pond. If you want a summit go for Stratton itself. Rereading your original post though I can see that perhaps once your friends are in Maine this suggestion might not be too practical.

bcskier

bcskier
03-19-2011, 07:08 PM
The snow depth is 30+ in. in the Searsburg area as determined during my sojourn there today.

Stan
03-19-2011, 07:23 PM
Baxter park is a long drive from anywhere but one possibility to make at least part of that drive very scenic, and even longer, is to continue north on I-95 and follow directions to the North Entrance. Along I-95 the passengers will get a look at Katahdin and the Traveler Ranges which also pop into view as you proceed in rural Maine towards the gate.

The road is plowed to within a couple miles from the gate where you can park and likely bareboot over the snowmobile trail which otherwise is the perimeter road. About another half mile past the gate is the trailhead to Horse Mountain. When we visited in January the trail was unbroken. It is about 1.5miles to the "summit" with about 800 ft. of elevation gain and, being on the north slope of the mountain, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if you needed snowshoes. Along the perimeter road and the mountain you'll have good views of Grand Lake Matagamon. On the mountain there are some views east and likely Traveler but I doubt there is a view of Katahdin from there.

It's a long ride.

At the South Gate the best place to park is near Abol Bridge. Though you can enjoy a woods walk (maybe snowshoe) this area lends itself better to cross country skiing. You can do a loop that'll take you up a road near the power lines, to the unplowed road approaching the gate, up the perimeter road (a snowmobile trail, remember) and west at Abol Pond along Abol Stream Trail back to your car. I recommend this counterclockwise route if the strong NW prevailing wind is blowing because that first road is somewhat exposed and you'll enjoy it more with the wind at your back than in your face. Abol Stream, on the other hand, is comparatively sheltered by trees. While the views are less dramatic, they are pleasing and there's a good sense of remoteness to feed the soul.

Guthook
03-20-2011, 08:23 AM
Baxter park is a long drive from anywhere but one possibility to make at least part of that drive very scenic, and even longer, is to continue north on I-95 and follow directions to the North Entrance. Along I-95 the passengers will get a look at Katahdin and the Traveler Ranges which also pop into view as you proceed in rural Maine towards the gate.


Stan, great advice. We're planning on staying with another AT buddy of ours that night near Bangor, so it's at least a shorter drive back from the hike. I like the sound of this Horse Mountain. I'll take a look at my maps and the driving directions sometime soon and let the others know what it looks like. Really, it's all about the scenery and catching up with old friends this weekend, so a long drive isn't the worst thing in the world.

BCSkier, thanks for the suggestion on Stratton Pond. I do plan on spending a lot of time there this summer and fall. Love that place.

bobandgeri
03-20-2011, 04:08 PM
Just back from a few days at Baxter and glad to report there is still a very lot of snow there! Managed to fall in a few spruce traps that were much deeper than I am tall, leaving me dangling!

Currently, the tote road is fairly hard packed/frozen not very good for skiing, but great for a set of micro spikes. If you go on a warm day the skiing would be great.

If you park at Abol Bridge, be sure to walk out onto it where you have an awesome view of Baxter! Some great trails off of that area to explore.

Have fun!

spencer
03-22-2011, 01:51 PM
I just came out of the Park, too, and there is indeed lots of snow. That's the good news. I think your best bet for excellent scenery (but there won't be much climbing) is to follow the AT from Abol Bridge as far as you have time for. There will be plenty of snow for 'shoeing (barebootable on a crusty morning, not so in the afternoon) and you'll get fine sights along the Penobscot. If you have time, head all the way to Big Niagara Falls - it should be raging!

I think the Horse Mtn idea from Stan is a good one if you want to ski but otherwise I think it would be boring walking on the Tote Rd. and you might think the long drive was not worth it. You could do a lot better than that in the western hills, I think.

have fun!