Katahdin Backcountry Loop
Earlier this month I went Baxter State Park to see some foliage and visit some lesser traveled trails on Katahdin. The first day I left the Roaring Brook Campground and headed up the Russell Pond Trail. This trail is super mellow with only a minor amount of elevation gain.
Soon before making it to Russell Pond the trail crosses the Wassitaquoik Stream, which almost always has to be forded. The water was about knee deep for me on the day I went through.
I made it to my campsite and set up my tarp, ate some food, then took out a canoe on the pond to paddle around.
The next morning was my usual routine of multiple cups of coffee, breakfast, more coffee, privy run, and then pack up to hit the trail. I made my way down the Northwest Basin Trail about a mile to where the North Peaks Trail starts. A short ways down that trail I had to once again cross the Wassatiquoik Stream where a dry crossing wasn’t possible.
The North Peaks Trail doesn’t see very much traffic so most of the trail was nice soft tread with very little erosion. The trail climbs very gradually most of the way up with no significantly steep sections, very different from every other Katahdin trail. Once above treeline the views were incredible in every direction with plenty of fall colors down below.
The trail traverses over first, second, and third Howe Peaks, and then makes its way over to Hamlin Peak where I saw my first group of people for the day. They had left Russell Pond earlier than I did and took the Northwest Basin Trail all the way up. Right off the summit of Hamlin, Caribou Spring was running strong so I topped off my water and made a cup of coffee after eating lunch. I left the spring and headed over to Baxter peak. Once I hit the junction with the Saddle Trail there were tons of people out enjoying the beautiful fall day.
I got a few quick pictures at the summit then headed across the Knife Edge, and down Helon Taylor back to where I started at Roaring Brook. It was a great 1 night trip out to see some foliage and checkout new to me trails on my favorite Mountain.