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Thread: Doubletop Mountain, Baxter State Park

  1. #1
    Senior Member csprague's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Portland, ME

    Doubletop Mountain, Baxter State Park

    Yesterday, my girlfriend and I decided to go for a hike up one of the peaks in Baxter that gets a bit less attention, due to it's not being a 4,000 footer, not Katahadin, etc. Doubletop stands impressively over Kidney Pond, and is one of the more striking peaks seen from the road as you drive further north, do to it's right-triangular shape and namesake dual peaks.

    Last year I ascended the mountain from the Kidney Pond side on a wet day, something I do not recommend. The trail was so treacherous we decided to descend via the north side and endure the long road walk back. Luckily a young couple from Florida gave us a ride back to Kidney Pond. I noted to do the whole thing from the north side the next time, starting at Nesowadnehunk Field campground.

    The weather yesterday was predicted to be a bit on the hot, humid, and hazy side, but as luck would have it, the conditions in BSP were very comfortable. The haze was there, but not the rest of the icky stuff. Temps were in the low 70s and the humidity was manageable. Mercifully, as long as you were a couple hundred feet away from a water source, the bugs were mostly absent as well!

    Here's a shot I took of this mountain in the fall 7 years ago, from a viewpoint on the Sentinel Mountain trail along Kidney Pond:

    Something both funny and a bit freaky happened very soon after starting the hike: my girlfriend spotted a partridge perched atop a rock beside the trail that had it's feathers all ruffled up. I didn't pay much attention, but when I took a few more steps it charged us while hissing!!! I had no idea partridges could hiss. Obviously, the bird did not want us walking wherever we were waking, and would NOT let us by. It was truly a Monty Python "None Shall Pass!" moment, with a bit of the killer rabbit scene thrown in. Afraid it was going to start pecking, I had my girlfriend get behind me, and we very slowly walked around it, but not before it charged and hissed a couple more times. Luckily it was absent on our descent.

    There are other advantages to doing the trail from the north, apart from having a drier, more cushioned, less steep ascent. For instance, for a narrow band of trail starting at around 2,100' until 2,300' or so, if you look carefully at any sandstone erratics you see, there's a substantial chance that you will find Brachiopod fossils, carried and deposited on the mountain sometime during the last ice age (similar finds can be had on the Marston Loop, particularly on North Brother).

    We found these yesterday:

    And a closeup:

    Note, park rules forbid collecting these as souvenirs. The only ones we found were too large to carry anyway, though this may not be a coincidence...

    While this trail is rather gentle overall, there is a 700' vertical section that is somewhat steep, after which it levels off almost perfectly for a quarter mile or so before making the final push to the north summit at 3,488'. When you arrive there, you are treated to 360' uninterrupted views, but obviously most interest is concentrated to the East, towards the Brothers, Coe, OJI, The Owl, and of course, Katahdin.

    Interestingly, this is the one angle at which Katahdin sort of resembles Mt. Washington. At least I think so. Does anyone agree?

    After having lunch on the north peak, I ventured over the shorter south peak, a mere .2 miles away along a neat, narrow ridge:

    Unsurprisingly, the views from the south peak were very similar, though you do get the nice views of Kidney and Daicy Ponds, plus a view of the Sentinel Mountain, which looks very small from this vantage point. The haze in that direction was so thick I didn't bother taking a picture of that.

    Before leaving I took one last shot of the south summit post, and also noted a plaque dedicated to a certain Keppele Hall, whose ashes were scattered at sunset by his wife on August 20th, 1926! I have to wonder what it must have been like to hike down that steep south trail in the dark back in 1926, presumably in a long skirt!

    Upon returning to the north summit, we encountered the only 2 other people we saw all day, a young couple from Medway and Orrington. They were kind enough to take our picture together at the summit, after which we returned the favor and started our hike down.

    Doubletop doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves, as it's slightly off the beaten path, but I suppose that helps add to the solitude and peacefulness of this hike. The only sign of human habitation observed from the summit is a small 2-car dirt parking lot along the Nesowadnehunk Stream 2,400' below.

    Otherwise, this is wilderness beauty at its' best.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    New York City
    Thanks, great trip report and photos. Doubletop is next on our list when we get back to Baxter.

  3. #3
    Senior Member audrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    MA. Avatar: Pat,Audrey,& Leo on N Moat
    Very nice. I like the perspective in the photos, and the Coe and OJI slides. Can't wait to get there!

  4. #4
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Manchester, NH
    Love Doubletop. It's a lovely double peak for one thing, but it's where Brian and I sat down together on the same rock for lunch and had our first conversation, brief though it was. The rest, is history...

    Volunteer Maintainer: East Pond Trail

    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Pittsfield, MA
    Nice pictures, wish I had more time at Nesowadnehunk, your pictures make it look like a pretty trip..

    You must go and you must ramble
    Through every briar and bramble
    Till your life is in a shambles
    Maybe then you will know
    -"You Must Go" - John Hiatt

  6. #6
    Senior Member hikes-with-him's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Small Town in Maine
    WICKED nice...great day for it too.

    I've often looked at this Mt. and thought it was a really cool one.

    As for your comment about Kathadin and Washington...yes, I've seen them look very similar. We were in Franconia a few weeks back and were given one of those tourist guide thingies that tell you about area attractions. There was a picture of two guys in a canoe on a pond somewhere with a very large Mt. Washington in the background. From that vantage point, you couldn't see any of the building. I told hubby that WOW...this really looks like that popular picture of Kathadin from Daisy pond (I think)...I even looked to see if I could find that picture online to compare...couldn't.
    It's never too late to discover who you really are

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