Our third day in Baxter greeted us with yet another sunny, clear, warm morning as we headed back down the 3.3 mile Chimney Pond Trail to conclude our adventure.
Tenzing composed this panoramic photo of Basin Pond.
Soon after, we encountered a relatively long wooden bridge that was in the process of being replaced with new timber. The trail is more heavily maintained that others in the park, as it is one of the few that is set up for snowmobile use by the ranger who lives at Chimney Pond in the winter season.
One of the many highlights of the return hike was the initial sighting 3 young women on the trail hiking toward us: two in bright aqua, one in bright yellow cotton full-length dresses which were perfectly pressed and immaculately clean; all with white bonnets. They were the first of 51 members of two Amish communities from Smyrna and Unity, Maine whom we passed on our way out. Shortly thereafter we passed three eager young Amish boys, one of whom was wearing a black teddy bear back pack who seemed amused when I told him I hoped he didn’t run onto a nearsighted Momma bear!
Another group was composed of an older woman resting with three very young children: a 6 year old girl in traditional dress excepting her crocs, and two boys about 4 years old, one of whom was now hiking in his socks because his shoes hurt his feet.
Two elders had told us that their plan for day was for the women and children to hike into Chimney Pond and enjoy the views while the men ascend the Armadillo route to the Knife Edge. According to the Baxter website the Armadillo is a long, very exposed buttress climb. The Armadillo has been compared to routes in the Tetons. Depending on how one climbs it, the difficulty can range from 5.7 to a fairly sustained 5.8. I located this very cool 5 minute Youtube clip of the waterfall approach to the Armadillo.
It is most inspiring to experience this final uplifting record or human contact of communion with the ancient rocks. I imagine the spiritual community of Amish connecting in such a deep way on our final day. I joked with the two elders that I might well sign up. They welcomed me.
[Note: John Clark, AKA Tenzing contributed most of this entry]