Erin and I met in Millinocket after work and got to the Roaring Brook Campground at around 7 or so. It was getting dark and we wandered around aimlessly looking for our lean-to for a while. Nothing can confuse a couple of foresters more than a bunch of signs telling them where to go.
|Home sweet home, Roaring Brook|
Eventually we found our lean-to settled in and had some dinner. We hadn't seen each other for a long time, years actually, but it was like we had just seen each other last week. We talked late into the night and eventually our conversation drifted off to sleep.
Day 1 - hike to Russell Pond
I woke up, stepped outside the lean-to and saw this guy:
We had breakfast, packed up, threw what we didn't need in the truck (including my keys), and started searching frantically for my keys. I eventually gave up and said I had a spare set. I figured I packed them away by accident. We headed to Russell Pond ~ 7.5 miles.
The hike was fairly flat and easy, with a few small stream crossings that had bog bridges over them.
|Wassataquoik Stream Crossing|
|Home sweet home, Russell Pond|
I was pretty excited that there was a 2-hole-ah outhouse. I don't know why but I thought it was awesome. No, we didn't poop together, but it is still funny to think about.
We woke up to a clear beautiful day. We were excited to get to Davis Pond, Maine's most remote campsite (~ 6-7 mile hike from Russell).
|This guy started grunting, so we started moving along|
|One of many small stream crossings|
The hike to Davis Pond is beautiful, I would call it a moderate hike with some stream crossings and some slippery granite slick rock/slides to climb as you approach Lake Cowles and Davis Pond. This place is worth every effort, it is pretty amazing. A lot of people don't realize the awesome stuff Maine has to offer, and I think if you were to show someone who didn't know a few of the following shots (especially the stuff from Day 4), they wouldn't guess it was Maine.
|Erin looking at Lake Cowles|
|Davis Pond (and my toes at the bottom of the pic)|
|Home sweet home, Davis Pond|
This was amazing because we had the entire place to ourselves, our own little slice of paradise.
Day 3 - The North Peaks, Hamlin Ridge, and Chimney Pond
We knew the next few days were going to be some rugged hiking, and we were psyched. This is where this gets very picture heavy, with very few words.
|Coming up out of Davis Pond|
|Hiking the ridge line on North Peaks Trail|
|North Peaks Trail, looking toward Davis Pond|
|Katahdin looking toward Pamola Peak and Knifes Edge|
|Erin pointing at Knifes Edge|
|Me on top of Hamlin Ridge|
|Hamlin Ridge Trail|
|Chimney Pond from Hamlin Ridge|
We decided on a 3:30am wake up to try to catch the sunrise on Baxter Peak.
|Home sweet home, night #4|
Day 4 - Early Summit, Knifes Edge, and home
We were up before the alarms, and the wind was really howling, but it wasn't raining. We got packed up and ready to roll. The plan was to leave the heavy packs at Chimney Pond and summit light on gear, and pick the packs up on the way back. We were on the Cathedral Trail by 3:45 am.
My headlamp was giving me some trouble, it would go off after about 5 seconds. It was beyond annoying. The Cathedral Trail is the most direct route to the top, requiring some bouldering type climbing. It is a ton of fun until your headlamp craps out. Anyway, I would turn it back on to see my hand hold, get the hold, turn it back on, get the foot hold...it was interesting. Erin helped the best she could by climbing then turning and lighting things up for me with her headlamp. As we got closer to the summit, we got into a thick mist which was kind of neat. By 5:45 or so we were very close to the top and we didn't need headlamps anymore thankfully.
|6am summit - in the mist|
|The mist starting to clear|
|Erin posing with a cairn near Knifes Edge|
|Mist rolling off Baxter Peak|
|Looking down on Chimney Pond from Knifes Edge|
|Part of the Knifes Edge trail, climbing to Chimney Peak|
|Me and the Knifes Edge|
|Erin and I, mist rolling off Baxter Peak|
|Dudley Trail down to Chimney|
We were back to Roaring Brook before noon. Once at the truck, I unlocked it (with the spare key - remember, I had somehow lost my keys at the beginning of the trip) and dug around for my change of clothes. In the pocket of the jeans I had packed away were my keys. Ha. I guess at least they were safe.
I took Erin back to her car, and as we were trading gear around, it started raining. We both looked up for a second, mouths open, then looked at each other and smiled.