Katahdin- Day 1

“We are watching the cloud factory”,  I said to Clarkie, as we both stared along the highest ridge above the Great Basin, the most formidable glacial cirque in the Eastern US.

All photos by John Clark

It was past 7 PM, and the sun had already dropped below the silhouette of the Knife Edge two thousand feet above us.

Great Basin from Chimney Pond

Earlier, the ranger at the cabin tipped me off that ,”If you go down to Chimney Pond later on, there should be some alpen glow along the southern end of the Knife Edge.  The show starts about six-thirty.”
There were several campers siting nearby on rocks that were also tuned into the Cowboy TV channel, playing in panorama mode tonight.

We’re in the sorta-narrow lean-to #5, the four of us.

photo by J. Clark

Along with Clarkie and me, there is my brother Roy, and Mike, my friend from Rockland.  Mike and I canoed the whole of Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway together a couple of years ago. On that trip, we were most fortunate not to have placed ourselves in some real big trouble, just big trouble.

Today we all met at one of the premiere breakfast and lunch spots in Maine- Dysart’s, who also let us park a couple of cars there for two nights. Very tasty, good service (mostly), pleasant happy people throughout the place. Roy had downloaded the illustrated breakfast menu and we ogled food porn on the drive up there.

Picture Rock, Katahdin in background

Just after we passed Picture Rock, we reached Baxter Park and our final driving destination at Roaring Brook Campground. We chose to take Mike’s Forerunner into the Togue Pond gate,to avoid the $14 entrance fee for non-residents.
The day’s hike was the 3.3 miles to Chimney Pond- one of the two walk-in campgrounds here.
We will always remember this trip if for nothing more than the fact that it occurred within the most perfect weather conditions imaginable in the Northern woodland forests. It  summer-like here in mid-September, with zero humidity, and 50 degree temps at night.
Today’s first mile went quickly. The middle mile took so long, and the last mile was not much better. The path here is ancient and so well-traveled that it sometimes cuts eight feet across and six feet down below the floor of the woods.

Uncle Tom on Chimney Pond Trail

There are tens of thousands of worn glacial rocks strewn along the base of that groove and it’s an ankle twister all the way.
It’s so quiet here, dark now at 7:48 PM.  Our food bags are hung from the group cable system here, which appears to me too low to do any good.  I can reach any one  of the bags by just stretching an arm up. These bears must be short guys.
Tomorrow, we plan to scale the highest mountain top in Maine, and maybe the Knife Edge.  Adventures await us !
Roy and I have been together up there several times. It will be a first for Clarkie, and this one is unchecked so far on Mike’s personal Bucket List.

Clarkie copied this picture (Courtesy , James W. Sewall Company, Old Town, ME) from a display at the service area off the Maine Turnpike in Gardiner, ME.   The Knife Edge, from Pamola to South Peak is outlined on the left side.  It is the first photo in Katahdin, by John Neff.


EXTRA BONUS! Clarkie’s Day 1 photo album is here,  – a visual history of our first day on Katahdin.

2 thoughts on “Katahdin- Day 1

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