Member Trip report
Hiking the "quiet" side of Katahdin
Trip Report/Photos from BillyB1976
Trip to Baxter State Park to hike the "quiet" side of Katahdin.
It has been a few years since I've been to this part of Katahdin. The last time I was at Hamlin Peak and the North Peaks was July 2006. The last time I was at Blueberry Knoll was June 2004.
I managed to get a cabin at Daicey Pond for Sunday night. I arrived at the cabin in the late afternoon. It was a cool night and I was glad I had a cabin with a wood stove. The fire was out by morning but it was still warmer than outside.
It was a perfect day for a hike up Katahdin on Monday. I went up the Chimney Pond Trail from Roaring Brook to the North Basin Cutoff. Before going up Hamlin Ridge I went to Blueberry Knoll and the pond in the North Basin. The pond is technically a bushwhack but I came upon what looked like a heard path and noticed someone had marked the route with cairns. I had the North Basin all to myself.
After visiting the North Basin I made the steep climb up Hamlin Ridge. It took me 1 hour 42 min. to go the 1.3 miles up Hamlin Ridge, an elevation gain of around 1,756 feet. It took me almost 5 hours to reach Hamlin Peak from Roaring Rook.
I met some people coming down Hamlin Ridge and a few people stopped and/or passed by while I was at Hamlin Peak. To my surprise a lady came off the North Peaks Trail. She had come from Russell Pond and was doing the loop using the Northwest Basin Trail. She was going to stay the night at the lean-to at Davis Pond in the Northwest Basin.
I decided to venture over to the North Peaks (aka Howe Peaks). This was easy compared to Hamlin Ridge. There are two actual peaks plus several rocky knobs. This trail is not nearly as well traveled as other trails on the mountain. There really isn't much for a defined footpath.
I turned around at the last rocky knob where the trail drops down off the ridge. I wanted to continue to the final rocky knob down the ridge but it would've required climbing back up 500 feet in elevation and it was already 2:30 in the afternoon.
I made my way back across the North Peaks and joined the Northwest Basin Trail at Caribou Spring. I was surprised to meet a couple on the North Peaks Trail hiking down to Russell Pond. The water from the Caribou Spring was crystal clear and ice cold. There was even a piece of ice on the trail there! From the spring I continued to the Saddle Trail and dropped down off the mountain on the somewhat tricky Saddle Slide.
I stopped at Chimney Pond for a break before continuing down to Roaring Brook. While making my way down the trail a lady in a group asked me if there was an easier way to Roaring Brook. I told her it was the ONLY way to Roaring Brook.
I finished my hike in the dark, using a flashlight for the last 20 minutes.
This was a long 11-hour day going a little over 13.5 miles. The total elevation gain was around 3,800 feet.
I was above treeline for over 4 1/2 hours.
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