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Thread: Barren Mountain - Baxter State Park, Maine

  1. #1
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    Barren Mountain - Baxter State Park, Maine

    My Wife and I climbed Barren on Sunday which lived up to the hype as being the hardest mountain in Maine. It was like getting a root canal done without anesthesia. It felt like a gyro-cyclone car wash of Medusa snakes on angel dust.
    Barren is such a misnomer. Calling this mountain Barren is like calling the length of the Presidential Primary season "short." It should be called: Covered mountain or at least: Unbarren mountain. It took 11 hours.

    We climbed up The Owl. Descending off the Owl into the col between Barren and Owl the woods existed in two states: S**tty and S**ttier.
    The descent off the Owl encompassed all the truly special hallmarks of a great whack:
    -Can't see your feet,
    -Have no idea if you're walking off a cliff,
    -Imminent blindness,
    -Destroyed clothing,
    -Loss of reproductive ability,
    -Apocalyptic hellscape travelling slower than a fossil trapped in amber.

    In the Owl col we needed water and readily found a nice running brook just off the back side toward the Klondike to fill up.
    From the col we ascended mostly from the back of Barren as opposed to taking a height of land to rise to the ridge. This was refreshing because the woods actually weren't too bad and it was the only decent woods we'd have for the rest of the day.
    We arrived at the ridge near the summit only to whack through what felt like being buried alive on Christmas from hell.
    It was super funny though because I reached the summit rock first and I looked back and couldn't see my wife as she was talking to me trying to figure out where to go - all I could see were conifers rattling & swaying back and forth as if the conifers were the ones actually talking to me, but I couldn't see my wife whatsoever because they were so dense. It was hilarious man. Voices coming from the talking rattling spruce below!

    The summit of Barren is a true gem. The weather was 55-60 degrees, no clouds anywhere, with 360 degree views to like Russia.
    We descended a couple contour lines off the back of the ridge and then looped around over the ridge to descend down the front on a somewhat gentle-sloped rib parallel to the Owl trail northwest of the Katahdin Stream. We hooked back up with the Owl trail where it crosses the Katahdin stream at about 1,950'. This criminally thick descent route can only be summed up as follows: As we were leaving the ridge, the sun was just beginning to set, which, as I learned on the descent was in actuality the sun setting on all my hopes and dreams.

    Summit of Barren. I like this photo because you can't tell if my wife Renee is smiling or struggling for survival:
    Spencer
    Bigfoot

  2. #2
    Senior Member JimC's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    North Conway, NH
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    You gotta love The Barren!
    Best Bushwhack around.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Gorham NH
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    Classic trail report!

    Of course deviously intended to keep the masses away from this summit
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-28-2019 at 01:59 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Spencer, you have definitely convinced me not to attempt this hike. Very entertaining reading. PS Always keep your wife within shouting distance.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    Great report! Now you need to do it in the winter, preferably after a snowstorm.


    :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by SpencerVT View Post
    My Wife and I climbed Barren on Sunday which lived up to the hype as being the hardest mountain in Maine. It was like getting a root canal done without anesthesia. It felt like a gyro-cyclone car wash of Medusa snakes on angel dust.
    Barren is such a misnomer. Calling this mountain Barren is like calling the length of the Presidential Primary season "short." It should be called: Covered mountain or at least: Unbarren mountain. It took 11 hours.

    We climbed up The Owl. Descending off the Owl into the col between Barren and Owl the woods existed in two states: S**tty and S**ttier.
    The descent off the Owl encompassed all the truly special hallmarks of a great whack:
    -Can't see your feet,
    -Have no idea if you're walking off a cliff,
    -Imminent blindness,
    -Destroyed clothing,
    -Loss of reproductive ability,
    -Apocalyptic hellscape travelling slower than a fossil trapped in amber.

    In the Owl col we needed water and readily found a nice running brook just off the back side toward the Klondike to fill up.
    From the col we ascended mostly from the back of Barren as opposed to taking a height of land to rise to the ridge. This was refreshing because the woods actually weren't too bad and it was the only decent woods we'd have for the rest of the day.
    We arrived at the ridge near the summit only to whack through what felt like being buried alive on Christmas from hell.
    It was super funny though because I reached the summit rock first and I looked back and couldn't see my wife as she was talking to me trying to figure out where to go - all I could see were conifers rattling & swaying back and forth as if the conifers were the ones actually talking to me, but I couldn't see my wife whatsoever because they were so dense. It was hilarious man. Voices coming from the talking rattling spruce below!

    The summit of Barren is a true gem. The weather was 55-60 degrees, no clouds anywhere, with 360 degree views to like Russia.
    We descended a couple contour lines off the back of the ridge and then looped around over the ridge to descend down the front on a somewhat gentle-sloped rib parallel to the Owl trail northwest of the Katahdin Stream. We hooked back up with the Owl trail where it crosses the Katahdin stream at about 1,950'. This criminally thick descent route can only be summed up as follows: As we were leaving the ridge, the sun was just beginning to set, which, as I learned on the descent was in actuality the sun setting on all my hopes and dreams.

    Summit of Barren. I like this photo because you can't tell if my wife Renee is smiling or struggling for survival:
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

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