Thursday, September 5, 2013

North Brother (#67/67 NE4k) plus 3 NEHH peaks.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO New England Hundred Highest (NEHH) list.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my Winter New Hampshire 4K (NH4K)Hikes.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my Maine/Vermont 4K Hikes.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my New Hampshire 4K Hikes.

Third day of my Baxter Park trip 08/06/13

Mt Coe (NEHH), South Brother(NEHH), North Brother (My last NE4K) ,and Fort (NEHH bushwack)

Baxter State Park Trip,  Day 3; 


Click here to go back to days 1 and 2 of this trip (Katahdin).

The following is a blow by blow verbose description of the 3rd  days of the trip that probably is only of interest to myself. Jump down to the photos and captions for the  short version.

          Thursday Sept 6, 2013, I wasn’t sure if I’d hike today or wait until Friday to do the Brothers loop hike because of threat of morning rain.  I didn’t get up until 6am, the weather looked okay and I didn’t feel too sore so decided to go for it.  The new resident to the bunkhouse had slipped out early.  I Started the wood stove to try and dry off some gear while I packed, then headed to the Martson Trailhead ~4 miles away down Tote Rd. Got to the trailhead at ~ 0715 and found a group of 7 hikers that are members of a website I use to check trail conditions on and occasionally post to (Views From the Top VFTT).  Chris Dailey was one of them and this is the group that had hiked the Katahdin Peaks the day before just behind me.  Looking back at my times now, I believe I was ahead of them all day and they may have just passed me when I had to cut back to Chimney Pond to pick up my gear.  I knew several of the members of this group by their on-line trail names and had emailed several of them over the last few years concerning trail options. They asked me to join them since we had basically the same hiking plans for the day, but at the pace I hike I would have held them up or killed myself trying to stay caught up, so I declined.   I’ll reference Chris’s blog of this hike here since he has much better picture than I took.
     My plan for the day was to do a counter clockwise loop hike of Mt Coe, South Brother, and North Brother (my last NE4k), and if my legs and time permitted to pick up Fort Mt. which is another NEHH peak but is ~ an hour out and an hour back  bushwhack/heard path from  N. Brother.  Since I did get a late start (for me), at this point I was thinking of probably passing on Fort, if for no other reason, to have an excuse to come back up to this great park.
·         0716:  Left the Martson trailhead on Tote rd.  10 minutes after the VFTT group.   After 1.5 miles Martson intercepts Cole trail and turns left toward N. Brother.  I turned right onto Cole trail to pick up Mts Coe & S. Brother.
·         08:15 on Mt Coe trail to Mt Coe. This starts off as an easy trail on an eroded high side of a river but turns into a fairly steep hike up a long rock face passage that was also mostly wet a bit slippery in spots.  Once I reached this open area I could see the VFTT group almost out of sight ahead of me (see pics).  Mt Coe trail continues over the top of Mt Coe to intercept back with Martson trail forming a large loop.
·          10:40: Mt Coe ~3.2 miles from TH. Mt Coe had some excellent views North (East?) to Katahdin showing a side that I hadn’t seen yet.  I had and odd feeling here when I realized I had been hiking over 3 hours already. It really felt more like half an hour.  Did I blank out from exhaustion from the day before and was hiking on auto-pilot.  Or did somehow my internal clock get messed up – strange.
·         12:08 a short hike to S. Brother spur.  Then .3 miles up to S. Brother.  I almost dropped pack here and wished I had, it’s a long 0.3 boulder hike to S. Brother. Half way up I ran into the VFTT group again and exchanged photos. (see pics).  Someone made the comment that I wasn’t that slow of a hiker, but I was already half an hour behind them and I’m sure they took longer for photo shots on Coe and S.B. than I did.  On S. brother I tried to take a time lapse picture of me on top of the large rock there but 10 second delay wasn’t enough time to get up on it. (see pics)
·         ~1300 back down from S. Brother on to the junction with Martson trail and on to N. Brother, I think I was on auto pilot again because in don’t recall much until I reached N. Bother my 67/67 NE4K peak.  It’s a rocky peak with great views but by now it was very windy and cold ~40F?  so I didn’t hang around much and didn’t bother to pull out my celebratory bottle of Corona that I had packed up.
·          Now was decision time.  I figured I still had a 4 hour hike back to the trailhead from here and I should be able to finish by sunset, or I could go on and try to bag Fort and put in my bag of New England Hundred Highest (NEHH) and finish the last few miles in the dark.  What the heck I have a good headlamp, flashlight and plenty of batteries - I’ll go for it.  Somehow at that point I had forgotten the rational of leaving Fort as an excuse to come back.
·         Evidently the Marston trail once continued from N. Brother to Fort but it had long since been abandoned as a maintained trail and was now a bushwhack/heard path.   If you pushed the spruce branches away you could still see signs of a beaten trail.  Going over to Fort proved easier than coming back and I stayed on the old trail most of the way. I ran into the VFTT group one last time as they were coming back from Fort.  I found that Tim had deliberately skirted the peak of N. brother so that he could claim it on the way back for completing his NE4ks and NEHH simultaneously I gave him a premature congratulations and he congratulated me for just finishing my 67NE4k. I should have rubbed it in that I finished the NE4k before him since he hadn’t tagged N. Brother yet – LOL. ( Technically I didn’t because you have to make it back down to a trailhead for a peak to count)
·         The bushwhack to Fort wasn’t nearly as tough as Mendon was several weeks earlier.  There are two cairns on Fort A lot of people tag both just in case though I think it’s apparent which the summit is. For some reason there was a lot less wind on Fort and I spent way too much time enjoying the day before heading back to N. brother and then down. This was #75/100 NEHH for me.  I’ll try and pick uop the other 25 next spring and summer. The winter will be devoted to my Winter NH4ks
·         Somehow I lost the heard path part way to N. Brother and had to do some climbing over a lot of dead trees and moss covered boulders, but still it wasn’t bad.
·         I reached North Brother the second time at ~ 1800, and it was still windy and even colder than before (strange that Fort wasn’t bad).  So my celebratory Corona stayed in the pack. A quick hike down put me back on the Martson trail / Coe trail junction just as it was starting to get dark, I pulled out my head lamp, flashlight and stashed spare batteries for each in my cargo pockets for easy access and headed on down.
·         Shortly thereafter after it got dark, very dark. I tried a few times to shut off my head lamp and had zero visibility.
·        Hiking down the dark narrow trail I couldn’t help but recall the flyer on the bunkhouse warning about black bears in the area. and was wondering what color the reflection of bear’s eyes are in a bright light.  My neck was getting sore from alternately looking down to see the trail and looking ahead for eye reflections.  “Lions, and Tigers and Bears Oh, My”  I went as far as unsheathing my folding 4” knife, wishing that I had brought my 6” K-bar, but knowing that if I did run into a bear , the outcome wouldn’t have anything to do with my actions – LOL
·         I have noticed that when I get real tired near the end of a long hike, I have semi - hallucinations where inanimate objects seem to move or metamorphasize (sp)?).  On the way down I saw several white rocks that temporarily changed into a wolf and a sleeping possum that looked was so real that I had to poke it to see of if it would wake up, a stack of dead trees that became a moose, and a huge white rock that I was certain was a pile of snow.  Must be some chemicals in my body left over from the 60’s.
·         I made it back down to the trailhead without incident except one slight slip and prat fall with no damage. Near 2245. (10:45pm) , my GPS claims I hiked 12.2 miles in 15.5 hours (Other than 0 .5 hrs on Fort Mt. most of this time was spent hiking. Yes, I am 1slow hiker – LOL
·         I signed  in at the logbook at the trailhead and found that the VFTT group had finished at 7:15 pm just before sunset as they had planned.
·         When I opened the back of my truck cap to stash my gear, there was a cold bottle of “Long Trail Ale” sitting on top of my cargo boxes waiting for me from the VFTT group.  I drank it and my bottle of Corona, just sitting in the dark in my truck with my boots off enjoying the rest of the day.
·         At midnight I headed back to my private $11/day “private cabin”, started a fire in the wood stove (it was getting nippy) and collapsed into my Bunk.
BSP trip day 4:
 I slept until about 7am (got up once to throw on a few more logs into the wood stove) packed up and headed out. Just as I was leaving the Nesowanehunk camp road, a female moose crossed the road in front of me and wandered into a field to munch on some frosted leaves. I took a picture from my truck, and since she seemed obliging, I got out and was able to get a picture from  less than 10-15  feet away (see pics) before she moved on. This moose was much smaller than the one I saw the first day so it may have been pretty young.
·         Justoutside the gate I picked up a backpacking hitch hiker and his dog.  Turns out that he was an AT section hiker (from W. Va.  I think) that had just finished the last 100 mile wilderness section of the AT, and needed a ride into town to get cell service to call someone for a lift back to his car at the start of that leg.  Dogs are not allowed in BSP but he said that they turn a blind eye to AT finishers that come in from the AT.  I think this dog may be the dog that Chris Dailey has a picture of on his Katahdin hike.
·         Uneventful drive back to RI.  -  but lots of good memories of this and the past hikes that got me to theNE4K finish.   I’ve told my wife I’m going to give hiking a break until at least Dec 21st when I can start picking away at my winter NH4k peaks.  I enjoy hiking in the winter better anyway; less  people,  no bugs,  smoother trails, and easier on the knees.  Her response was;  SURE!


The "Cozy Cabin" bunkhouse at 6 a.m.

Somehow I forgot to get a picture at the trailhead while talking to the VFTT group

Start of the Coe Trail along an eroded side of a river..

Coe open rock bed (slabs) trail up to cole

wet rock face trail not too slippery and easily managed (at my pace)

more slabs

you can almost make out some of the VFTT group here.

Partially zoomed in.
The VFTT group almost out of site but visible with my telphoto.

Day starting to clear - I'm glad I decided to go for it even though I got a late start.


views from Coe

Coe Peak (NEHH)

  Coe summit #74/100 NEHH

more views: from Coe:

I didn't know it when I took this, but after seeing Chris's site I now know this is double top Mt. with views of "seahorse",  "witch", "slice of pizza", and "moose print" slides.

zoomed in below;
 {add zoomed in pic here}

The VFTT group coming down the spur from S. Brother as I was going up. I would see them one more time as I was bushwacking to Fort from N. Brother and they were returning to N. Brother

S. Brother Peak # 74 NEHH peak in the bag

I was trying to take a self photo, but my 10 second delay wasn't long enough to make it to the boulder peak on S. Brother.

views of the Chimney, Baxter Peak and the Saddle  on Katahdin

a closer view of the Chimney 

Another view of double top and it's slides
N. Brother - my final (#67) New England 4,000 footer. I should have taken a a better time delay pic for my last peak but it was too cold to stay long. I should have brought some light winter gloves but didn't.
Looking back at N. Brother from Fort Mt


Zoomed in view of Fort, You can just make out a few of the VFTT group celebrating Tim's simultaneous #67 NE4k and #100 NEHH. Being down wind I could hear them hooping and hollering ,  

Exploded view of the above.
One of two cairns on top of Fort #75/100 NEHH

Views from Fort. It was a lot less windy and warmer on Fort than on N. Broteher so I hung out here for a while,  (too lomg - burning daylight!)

Still on Fort with both peak Cairns behind me
(there is some dispute about which is the true peak so I tagged both.

Back on the bushwack to N. Other some of the trees were marked with orange surveyors tape (center)to mark the way. I still managed to lose the heard path a few times.

Coming up  to N. Brother the mountain shadows were filling in behind me..

There is an old trail in here somewhere.

A jet passing over N. Brother

cairn marking beginning of the bushwack from N. Brother is now visible

Back at N. Brother, even colder than before. guess I'll be carrying my celebratory bottle of Corona back down with me. Somehow I lost the time stamp setting on my camera, but I think this was near 6pm so I used up over 3 hours of daylight bagging Fort. It was worth it.
It got pitch dark by 730pm so there are no more photos until I'm down at the trailhead.

Not sure why I took this picture with a flash. I think it was at the only real river crossing going back down.

As I was hiking down the trail in the dark by headlamp I couldn't help but think about the bear warning sign that was posted in the bunkhouses:

Finally down, I Signed in at the logbook back at the trailhead.  My time: 7:20am - 10:40pm:  15 hrs and 20 minutes.
VFTT group: 715am - 715pm:  12 hours.  And one of them had said that I didn't seem that slow when we met on Coe spur trail.

 The VFTT guys left me a present of a cold Long Trail Ale in the back of my truck. Tim had a cooler of beer in his car to celebrate his finishes.  I sat in my truck in the dark with my boots off enjoying it and the Corona I had humped along on the hike. It had been two long hard enjoyable days of hiking.

Day #4 at Baxter State Park: 

I  woke up in a toasty wood stove heated cabin Friday morning with freezing temps outside and frost on the ground.

Just as I was driving out of the camground a female moose crossed the road in front of me and into a nearby field to munch on frosted leaves. I first took a picture from my truck;

but then got out to get a closer picture. She let me get to within 10-15 feet, gave me "the eye" then calmley walked off:

 Leaving Baxter State Park after a great 4 day hiking trip.  Hope to get back here some day.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Katahdins (Baxter & Hamlin)

The two major peaks of Mt Katahdin;   Baxter (5268') and  Hamlin(4756') :   09/04/13

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Maine/Vermont Hikes.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO New Hampshire Hikes.

These were the first two 4k peaks of a 4 day trip to Baxter State Park for my last three New England 4 thousand foot  peaks (NE4Ks) as well as putting 3 peaks in the bank for my New England Hundred Highest (NEHH).   I held off on doing Baxter State Park until most of the summer crowd and bugs were gone but before it got too cold. The park has been known to shut it roads down for the winter as early as Sept 15th.

The following is a blow by blow verbose description of the 1st 2 days of the trip that probably is only of interest to myself.  Jump down to the photos and captions for the  short version.

Day 1 Tuesday, Sept 4, 2013:

·         Drove from RI to Baxter State Park (BSP), Maine (410 mile drive to the gate - supposed to be ~7 hrs took me ~8) BSP is 330 square miles of very rural land, donated to the state of Maine by one of its former (very rich) governors under strict guide lines that it remain undeveloped; no paved roads, no machinery other than autos (not even chain saws), no dogs, no logging, no running potable water or wells. etc. etc.  
·         Drove 14 miles up a winding narrow gravel road (Tote Rd) ~ 14 miles from the gate with speed limits of 10-20 mph  which are needed so you have time to put one set  wheel off the road when approaching another car.
·         Claimed a bunk I had reserved and dropped off a mattress and some gear at the Nesowanehunk (pronounced “Sowdehunk” by the locals) campground bunkhouse (BH). The 4 bunk BH was empty, as expected since I didn’t see any other reservations for the next 3 days.  Not bad, my own private cabin for $11 / day.
·         Drove back to the gate almost hitting a large moose on one turn – luckily she was traveling the same direction. I didn’t really come close to hitting her but she gave me quite a start as a rounded one turn and this huge black animal was trotting right down the middle of the road. All within a second (as I’m locking up the brakes in the gravel), my mind thought; ” what’s this guy doing riding this huge horse down the middle of the road?”, then,” oh, there’s no rider it must be loose from somewhere?”, then; “Duh!, you’re in BSP Maine, this is a Moose!” . The huge female moose politely pulled over and stepped a few feet into the woods. I grabbed for my camera but when I looked back up she was gone.  I’m assuming it was a female because of no antlers and I don’t think they start shedding them until early winter, but by its size I would have thought it was a bull moose
·         Then another 8 miles from the gate  on another winding narrow gravel road to the hiking parking lot at Roaring River  Campground (CG).
·         At about 15:30 I started up Chimney Pond (CP) Trail to CP Campground.  I got rained on in a flash storm half way up.  I can’t say that I had no warning because there was a lot of lightning followed quickly by load thunder, but being stupid and a procrastinator, I waited for the rain before pulling off my pack and digging out rain gear, by which time I was pretty much soaked. I stayed hunkered down under an umbrella (yes, I do sometimes carry an umbrella in my pack) until the worst of the torrential down pour was done - then continued up the now flooded trail. 
·         ~18:30 I arrived at Chimney Pond CG (~ 3.1 miles, per my GPS:  ~1530’ elevation gain.)  I checked in at the ranger station there and told him of my intension to go up Dudley trail the next day and hike to both Baxter and Hamlin peaks.  Seeing that I am not in the greatest of shape (obviously overweight, an inhaler hanging off my pack and still very winded from the easy hike up to CP), he tried to persuade me to go up Saddle trail or at least Cathedral  trail to avoid the Knife’s Edge and warned me that a hike to both peaks might be too ambitious.  That was actually the reason I had reserved the CP BH for 2 days; in case of bad weather or if I had to take two one day hikes to do the two peaks.
·          Claiming the next to last available bunk at almost full 12 man CP BH, I said my hellos to the other residents, heated up some dinner, and started separating out my packs for the stuff that was to stay at the BH. I had carried my large backpacking pack up to chimney pond to carry my sleeping bag, food and stove for the night, but also packed my lighter day pack to hike the upper trails.  As I was packing I realized I had left all my dry socks at the other BH and mine were soaked from walking through a trail that had turned into a stream.  One of the other hikers was nice enough to offer to lend me a spare dry pair which I could return if we met up later at the BH, or I could just keep them as his contribution to my finishing my NE4K peaks.   Hikers are such a nice people.
Day 2, Wed Sept 5, 2013
·         Up at 03:00, I quietly finished packing my day pack, heated some coffee & cooked some oatmeal in the common room before anyone else was up.
·         04:00 I signed in at the CP ranger station and started up Dudley trail (of course) to Pamola peak (1.4 miles, 2000 ft elevation  gain, 3.3 hrs).  Dudley is probably the steepest and hardest marked trail to use to get to Baxter from Chimney Pond even without the infamous Knife’s Edge.   I didn’t want to have to post in my blog, like I’ve seen others do, that I really wished I had done the Knife's Edge  when I had a chance. 
·         Dudley trail is a steep Boulder climb and I have to say, at that point, the most technically “difficult” scramble (almost a rock climb) that I have done so far.  N. Tripyramid slide was probably “harder” for me because I was in worse shape then, but technically I think Dudley beats it.  Also I was doing Dudley in the dark via headlamp.  That wasn’t really a factor though, the route up through the boulders is well marked with blue blazes, and my headlamp was sufficient to see as far as I needed.  I do have to say that whoever laid out the route with the blazes had kind of a sick sense of humor putting blazes on the middle of huge vertical rocks when there were obvious easier paths to take around them.
·         There was a thick low under-cast when I started which I quickly rose above and was able to stay just ahead of for quite a while.  But then it caught up as the sun rose and surrounded me in a thick London Fog.  So much for views from Pamola.
·         At 07:20 I finally reached Pamola peak(4919’)  still in the fog along with 15-20 knot winds that had been picking up since I started.  There is a sign there that says not to continue to the Knife’s Edge in bad weather.  Is no visibility with heavy winds considered bad weather?   I did hang out at Pamola for a while hoping the fog would continue to lift and I called home for a weather update. (The only place you can get Cell service within BSP is near the peaks with a direct line of site to Millinocket.)  My wife said that NOAA said that Baxter was presently sunny with calm winds.  RIGHT!  At any rate I wasn’t about to go back down Dudley or way down Helon Taylor trail only to have to hike back up to  Chimney Pond. There was really never any question.  I started out on the Knife’s Edge to Baxter Peak; 1.1 miles ,  350’ elevation gain.  Sounds easy, right?
·         Shortly along the initially easy trail the blue blazes quickly disappeared down a near vertical cliff. This is what I think is called “The Chimney” it’s a sharp  gap that is visible in the ridge profile from miles away (see pics) and goes nearly vertically down  ~100 ft from Pamola then back up another  ~80 foot vertical wall to Chimney Peak.  This quickly became my newest most difficult scramble (and really was more of a rock climb then a scramble). My pictures don’t really capture the difficultness (is that a word?) of the Chimney and following Knife’s Edge because of the fog and the fact that there was no one else on the trail to gain a perspective.  As it turns out Chris Dailey (also from RI) was with a group that followed after me that day (up from Roaring River via the Helon Taylor trail) He has a blog that has excellent photos of this section as well as the rest of the day’s hike.  His photos are quite large and uncompressed so it may take a while to load on a slower machine but well worth the wait;  (the chimney pics start near his 30th picture)
·         I crawled (literally at most times) at a snail’s pace along the Knife's Edge in 20-30 knots of wind with three out four limbs always firmly attached to the mountain. I  following the blue blazes as best I could, but at times when the "trail"  went right over the peak of the spine I tried to side skirt it either on the lee side (with less wind) or the windward side (where the wind was blowing me into the mountain rather than off).
·          09:55 Baxter Peak (5268’), the fog was just starting to lift when I reached South Peak then Baxter Peak .  Several "AT through hikers" had just finished the 2,000+ mile Appalachian Trail (AT) and were mugging up with the famous Katahdin sign that marks its North End.
·         Saddle trail & Hamlin Ridge trail from Baxter to Hamlin 2.6mi (include 0.4miles on wrong trail). This is a very easy almost level, section called the table top  which in the high wind reminded me of a wheat field (see pics to see what I mean).
·         13:00 Hamlin Peak (4756’). Spectacular views of Pamola, Chimney, Baxter, & North Peaks, the two basins, and the Knife’s Edge.  Most Katahdin hikers only go to Baxter and don’t realize what they are missing from a relatively easy hike from Baxter to Hamlin. North peak is not on any lists but it looks like it would be a great ridge hike for another day.  Not sure if there is a direct route down from there though.
·         Down Hamlin Ridge & North Basin cutoff back to Chimney pond to pick up my other pack and gear. (2.1 miles).  Hamlin Ridge is another boulder hike but not too bad, even going down. Some of the lower parts of the cutoff trail were still flooded though.
·         16:08 Back at Chimney Pond CG.  I signed in at the ranger station then took ~ 0.5 hours repacking my gear. The gentleman that lent me his socks was there but was fast asleep. My own socks were dried by now and I offered (to his wife) to swap them out, but his wife said not to bother and congratulated me on finishing two more peaks on my list.
·         16:36 Back down Chimney Pond trail to Roaring River trail. The trail was a lot drier now but there were still a few flooded out sections.
·         19:15 Back at Roaring Brook TH.  Today’s hike:  10.3 miles, 15.3 hours. 
·         Back at Nesowanehunk CG  ~ 1100 after a slow drive to the  gate,  a 10 mile drive downtown (Millinocket) for beer and a sub from Subway  then back to the gate & another slow 14 miles to Nesowanehunk CG.)  I’m starting to realize why it’s a lot easier to get reservations at Nesowanehunk compared to Roaring River campground. Technically they close the gate at 10pm and campers are supposed to be in by 8pm (not sure why). But the ranger at the gate said that as long as I was back by 10,  I’d be okay, and if it was later I could probably improvise and get by the gate (wink - wink). I also went out the gate to get cell phone service to give my wife a ring.  As I found out from the ranger at the gate, there is a dirt off-road section 1 mile on the left past the painted rock where most people can get cell service. That section of the road is nicknamed "the phone booth".   When I returned back to the bunkhouse, it had 1 other hiker sleeping in it.  I wanted to start a fire to dry off some more gear, but it was after quiet hours so I waited until morning to do that and to repack for the next day’s hike


Painted rock 1 mile befoire BSP

 a few people wadding in the stream along side Tote Rd. - they said it was freeezing cold.
4 man bunk house at Nesowanehunk campground (in BSP).  Sign on it says "Cozy Cabin"

Inside Cozy Cabin:

Even had firewood in the bin.


Start of Chimney Pond trail, parking was not a problem this time of day.

Views along Chimney Pond Trail:
a lot of recent bridge work over rivers and flooded sections of the trail

The roaring river. If you could hear my videos you'd understan how it got it's name.

first view of Katahdin along the trail

Got caught in a short down pour that got one set of clothes drenched before i could put on rain grear.

now flooded trail.

more bridges

Note the tree with the blue trail blaze in the middle of the river.
I think this river must have broke loose into the trail.

Chimney Pond Bunkhouse, 12 bunks in 2 rooms (behind the brown curtains) and a large common room with a wood stove, cooking table, and picnick table and 2 propane lamps.  These were taking with a flash after I got up at 0300 and started getting ready to hike before anyone else was up.

Rangers Station at Chimney pond, signed the log saying I was hiking up Dudley trail

Start of Dudley trail taking with a flash.

I started up the steep Dudey trail at 0400 by headlamp



A sandy ledge part way up -  almost seemed like beach sand -
pobably great place to hang for a while with great views in the daylight.

Typical view of Dudley trail (sorry7 about the blur) which is really a huge boulder slide. I think I can say this is the most technically challanging trail I had been on yet (but I hadnt yet reach the 'Knife's Edge"   At this point It was starting to get light out with a low overcast below me (undercast), that was rising and catching up to me.

A large overhanging boulder called "Index Rock"
 Chris  Dailey has a good picture of this rock taken from a distance

Undercast and wind caught up to me. The Index is behind me.

I finally reached Pamola Peak at the start of the Knife's Edge. The sign behind me says "DO NOT HIKE THIS TRAIL IN BAD WEATHER"   Does 25 knots of wind and no visibility qualify as bad weather? 


From Pamola the trail (blue blazes) continues along a short ridge then seems to drop straight down into the gap. The fog lifted just enough to get a quick peak of the upcoming scramble up to Chimney peak on the other side. As I said in my long narrative, to see really good pictures of this area see Chris Daileys site at:

Climbing down the pomola peak side of the gap in the wind was a bit scary, and I took it real slow.

Down at the  low point between Pamola and chimney peaks  the wind was funneling through at what seemed like over 30 knots.

Looking South from the gap. equally unvisible. I took a long time in this gap, procratinatining about starting up the Chimney.

Taking one of many breaks going up toCchimney peak, you can just make out the signs on top of Pamola on the other side of the gap.
First almost view of the Knife's Edge west of chimney peak

misstepping here would be catastrophic.

along the ridge the sun kept trying to poke through the mist but usually it was gone by the time iIgot set for a shot.

Still no visible sign of South Peak or Baxter Peak but its trying to lift.

Following shots of the Knifes edge are taking as the fog was lifting.

My best shot of the day. The left ridge is Dudley trail.  The gap between the left two peaks is the Chimney.
TheKnifes Edge after the fog lifted
Looking North to what I thought might be Baxter but was South Peak.

South Peak

Another view back at the Knife's Edge

Cairn just South of the Katahdin Sign  (this may be the actual peak), #65/67 NE4K

  The famous Katahdin sign which marks the the Northern end of the Appalacian Trail. This sign has been kissed by hundred of Northern bound through hikers.  I had to wait until after a couple of AT finishers got through making love to it to get this picture. The bottom line say's Springr Mt, Georgia 2183? [miles]. Evidentley the Katahdin sign is replaced every 10 years because of wind damage and intial carvings.
The hike from Baxter to Hamlin peak is fairley easy over an almost flat area called the table land. "Amber waves of Grain"

The best part of hiking to Hamling Peak are the amazing views of Baxter, The Knifes Edge and the Chimney.

more of the table land.

approaching Hamlin

Hamlin Peak, #66/67 NE4K.  The wind seemed to have picked up even more here.
Later I heard that it was hit 40+ knot gusts at points on the mountain. I think the max I was in was probably closer to 30.

I think the Hamlin peak sign is about ready to be replaced. Thats North peak in the background.

Looking toward ridge to North Peak.
North peak doesnt quite fit the requirements to be on any of the peak lists I'm doing but looks like it would be a nice hike.

Looking down into the valley between North peak and Hamlin.
Breath taking views of the Knife's Edge from here. I'm so glad I decided to hike it or I would have been having regrets now.

I only took this pick to remind myself that these trails, unlike the other New England trails I've been on,  have hardley any mud, even after rain. Most of the dirt is more like sand or gravel and doesn't turn to mud. this is one of the few muddy spots I saw.

I can't stop myself from taking pictures of this majestic moutain. But it is hard to capture how impressive it is in person.
Looking NorthEast  again from Hamlin Ridge
 { no picure}
Back at Chimney pond to pick up my overnight gear and sign in at the ranger station.

Heading back down chimey pond trail toward roaring Brook campground
logs piled up for bridging work over flooded sections

Typical split log bridging over flooded areas.
Back at Roaring Brook Camp Ground parking area 07:10PM . Still 25 miles back along a narrow winding road to get back to my bunk house at "sowdehunk" but also a 10 mile trip past the gate for cell phone service, beer and a sub sandwich.


 A plot of elevation vs. time of my two Baxter State Park hikes. Note that the first 3 hrs of the Katahdin hikes is only to Chimney Pond on day 1.  Also note the excessive time taken at Mt Fort on the Brothers loop hike. Time is elapsed time.  (yea i know, Paloma is ispelled and I have way too much free time)


Click here to continue on to day 3 of this trip.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO Maine/Vermont Hikes.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO New Hampshire Hikes.