Hey! I am back from my traverse of Baxter Park. It was awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better crew to go with or for better weather. We ate like kings, laughed so much I think I might be getting 6-pack abs, and skied our butts off. It was cold, but that just made the trips to the outhouse that much quicker.
Day 1 - Gear Explosion
Yeah that is just one car, I don't know where we put the people.
We started the 10ish mile ski into South Branch Pond from just outside of the Matagamon Gate. It was cold, -4 when we left with a good strong wind. As long as you kept moving, you were warm. The packs were heavy with 5 days worth of food and gear. We were all happy to get to camp.
Day 2 - South Branch Pond to Russell Pond
Ahh, South Branch Pond. We were up and out of camp by 9am, it was cold and clear. Thankfully, there was no wind on the pond, but the ice began to groan as we got out to the middle which was slightly unsettling. The rest of the trail was a meandering and climbing (emphasis on climbing) 9.6 mile ski through the middle of the park. It was a beautiful ski, but we were all ready for a layover day.
Day 3 - Layover at Russell Pond
Ahh, a nice easy layover day. Yeah right! I am built to move, and luckily, so was everyone else on the trip. The good thing was we could ski without packs, which was pure heaven. We skied two miles to the tricky Wassataquoik Stream crossing that we had to do the next day to continue on to Roaring Brook. We drew straws and sent the one with the shortest across to see if he could break through. We tied a rope to the probe to make sure we didn't lose him.
Now sure that we could make the ski across the next day, we headed back to camp for some soup before heading out for a 3 mile ski to Wassataquoik Lake. I didn't get much for pictures there because although it was beautiful, the wind was howling. Rest day total mileage - 10 miles.
Day 4 - Russell Pond to Roaring Brook
Our shortest mileage day, 7.6 miles, took us the longest. After crossing Wassataquoik Stream, the trail dipped through drainages and seeps and climbed up the side of hills. It was my favorite day, but also the hardest day.
Near the end of the ski, almost at the Roaring Brook Bunkhouse, we were treated to our best view of Katahdin yet.
The last night of a trip is always bittersweet. You are still in the moment, enjoying the trip, but for the first time in a few days it actually occurs to you that you have to go back to the real world in a day or so. Re-entry is always tough, no matter what anyone tells you. Also, we ran out of booze, which kind of was a bummer.
Day 5 - The Ski Out
The ski out to our cars from Roaring Brook was our longest day in mileage, but our shortest time-wise. This was kind of a slog along the park access road. The good news was that there was a lot of downhill on a dirt road that is occasionally snowmobiled by park rangers, so the 14 miles went by fairly quickly. We were treated to a few final views of Katahdin on our way out. Here I am, all smiles after 8 miles, 6 more to go.
The next 6 miles were a little tougher than the first 8, but we got them done. At the cars, we agreed to meet at the local bar for a beer and some pizza. OK, I had 2 beers. Nothing like beer after a trip.
So there you have it, 5 days, about 51 miles. This weekend: Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic ! I better get a run in tomorrow to get my legs ready for the pounding!