Tuesday, June 12, 2012

After 5 days roughing it in the wilderness, I'm at the foot of Mt. Katahdin

The West Basin of Mt. Katahdin towers over Davis Pond

The trail to Davis Pond was a pretty tame 5.3 miles, but it was a wet 5.3 miles. Right at the beginning we came to a pretty wide river we had to rock-hop. I almost made it safely across, but then I landed in a marshy section by the bank.

The trail followed above and alongside the river for a while. We were travelling between two small mountains through a valley that led to the base of the largest mountain in Maine, Mt. Katahdin. Then, the trail dipped back down and we had to cross the river again. Though, the point marked by blue blazes as the crossing spot was pretty flooded. We had to trekked up the side of the river, clinging to the scraggly pine branches poking out from the banks. It took us about half an hour to get to a better crossing, and I still slid off a particularly slippery and slanted rock and fell waist-deep in the cold rapids.

We had a lunch of GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts, a hiking classic) at a clearing in the woods where a huge slab of rock shimmered in the sun. A thin layer of water ran down the face of the rock, which stretched over 50 feet, and made it shine. After we ate, we followed the trail as it scaled this rock.

The Davis Pond lean-to was as isolated as it gets, but I didn’t see a single critter. Austin and I were truly alone in the middle of Baxter State Park and in the shadows of Katahdin. The views of the mountain as it rose sharply over the litter alpine pond were impressive. Near the top of the mountain you could see a glittering waterfall from the melted snow.

I began to worry about the intimidating hike planned for the next day. We were to take the Northwest Basin trail up to Hamlin Peak and descended along the exposed Hamlin ridge. I had never done a hike that technical with such a large backpack. Rain was in the forecast and could really complicate things. But rain or shine, we had to make it over that mountain.

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