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Thread: Baxter State Park - 8/31 to 9/2

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gorham NH

    Baxter State Park - 8/31 to 9/2

    I went back up to Baxter after the storm to finish out my reservation which originally spanned the Hurricane. Overall the park had far less impact than expected. We ran into the head ranger and he confirmed that they were quite surprised by the minimal impact despite some heavy rain. I had hiked Kathadin last Saturday so this trip was to full in some lesser peaks and hang out at Daicey courtesy of Stan and Erik who I was supposed to meet earlier in the week in the north end of the park. I did Sentinel on Wednesday and we did Double Top on Thursday. Both trails were in good shape although the Double top Trail from Daicey is closed due to a bridge being washed out (easy to access it from Kidney Pond). The roads are in excellent condition. I could easilly do the speed limit with my Honda Civic.

    Roaring Brook day use parking was full up today. I expect the other lots will fill up this weekend.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Newton, MA
    peakbagger meant the Sentinel Trail from Daicey Ponds was closed due to the Nesowednehunk Stream levels. I'm not sure there was a bridge there recently unless it was a short log bridge over the main channel. It is mostly a lot of stone hopping and perhaps wading at normal levels. The Sentinal Trail from Kidney Pond is a bit shorter and, when it is a wet woods walk, probably appreciated by some.

    Double Top was enjoyable, especially that we were able to spot a car at the end of Slaughter Pond Trail. There was a stream crossing near the end that was running above summer normal but, being so close to the end, we cast dry feet to the wind and just walked across the stones as best we could ... as it turned out I don't think any of us got wet feet from that.

    We may have gotten wet feet from a few stretches where the trail had taken on drainage like a small stream and from a couple boggy areas around which there were no feasible routes.

    I had done this once before when the visibility was about 10 yards. It was a beautiful hike that day, too! This day we had panoramic views for many miles. The total hike was about 8 miles with an elevation gain of nearly 2200 feet. Real scrambles both ways near the peaks and a nice ridge between them.

    An extra treat was chatting with Jensen Bissell, park director, at the Doubletop trailhead. He noted that they had spent a lot of time preparing for "hurricane" Irene, cleaning drainages and culverts for example, and that helped minimize erosion. I thought it was interesting that instead of driving around in a classical forest green humongous SUV, he was driving around in, what peakbagger, a Honda Accord?

    That pleasant discussion was a follow up to a campfire talk given the night before by Buzz Caverly, the previous park director who had been hired by Helon Taylor, the first park director. Buzz came to know Governor Baxter and his intentions for the park well and told a couple stories, including one related to the fact that Baxter and one of state's US Senators were at odds; Baxter wanted an authority independent of government funding and politics, the senator wanted a national park ... I like Governor Baxter's solution better but his did come with an endowment.

    peakbagger and I agree on one complaint, that is, taking the "wildness" a little too far in letting some areas get overgrown, Nesowednehunk Field for example.

    While in the Park, Erik and I also enjoyed hiking Trout Brook Mountain loop and The Ledges near South Branch Pond where we stayed one night and canoed the Pond.

    ... of course, there was a moose on Stump Pond whereas we had seen none elsewhere, most unusual in our experience.

    After we left the Park we scouted out Debsconeag Lake which I'll report on the paddling forum and hiked into Maine Huts and Trails new Grand Falls Hut which I'll also report on in this forum.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gorham NH
    The Park director has a Subaru Forester to drive around in.

    Buzz's story of the Baxter's visit to the grave of his former rival was quite amusing! Definitely dry Maine humor.

    RE the bridge washed out at Daicey for the trail, I assumed it was a bridge as there was a wooden abutment visible on the other side of the channel that wouldnt be of much use unless there was a bridge attached to it.

    I di get my feet wet at the stream crossing near the end of the Slaughter Pond Trail. The rocks were about as slick as can be and I chose wet shoes over a unexpected splash.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lefty E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    at Madison summit
    Thanks for recent info, headed for knife edge this week!

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