Monday, 16 September 2013


Some views I positively will never tire of.

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Growing up in Maine, I never quite made it up the coast to Arcadia to the national park. The Bostonians, the New Yorkers, the moneyed crowd. That's where they go to part with their money. It just seemed ludicrous to spend time in a beautiful spot criss-crossed with heavily trafficked roads and tour buses and all the headaches that ensued. On one hand, it seems kind of a pity to have such a beautiful place nearby and never go, but I didn't go without nature entirely. We prefered the roads less traveled and spent part of every summer up in Baxter State Park.


True, you won't find a lobster roll for miles and several comforts will be done without. The park is for serious hikers. No buses, no easy access. No ski lifts to take you to the resort on the mountain top for pastries and photo ops. You hike in, you hike out. You nurse your blisters and aches with a beer you smartly stashed in the creek back when you were freshly hitting the trail.


It's a wild, wild place.

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While we didn't do a top hike this year, we had a few nice hikes around the park. Some years a peak hike just doesn't work out between the weather and schedules. You need good weather or they close a lot of trails, as once you get above the tree line it gets miserable and dangerous in bad weather. Plus, it requires a really early start. Like, you have to be at the gate of the park before 6am to ensure a parking spot. They strictly limit the number of cars they let in daily, so you have to be there early or be ready to turn around and go home.


Still. It's one of my favorite places to hike. You encounter very few people, and the only sounds you hear aside your footsteps is the rushing of the creek below you and birdsongs. It's marvelous.


It was a bit soggy this day, and we did encounter a handful of people turning back from the treeline because of the weather. We hiked up to that point and were happy to call it a day by Katahdin Stream falls. The further up we hiked, the wetter we got, but I guess this is why I continue to spend money and haul around rain gear.


But the forest floor was amazing. So many varietals of mushrooms and lichens, and the dank good forest smells punctuated by sinus-clearing pine.

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The views were a little disappointing, but I'm glad we didn't push for the top. I am optimistic for the hiking prospects of next year.


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