Chimney Pond –>Roaring Brook Campgrounds–>Lean-to at Russell Pond CG.
Despite adding another hiker to our duo, we were able to started hiking today at 7:15 AM. We encountered dozens of hikers that were coming up the 3.3 miles ( and 1500′) from Roaring Brook campground to Chimney Pond.
Chris had come in on his own, and had the consciousness of a heap of throb after he lumped his 40 pound pack up here yesterday afternoon. However this morning, he carried himself surprisingly well on the descent. We stopped just once on the way down. Here is a video clip of Chris checking in with “The Daily Inventory of Pain”, a phrase and practice coined by my Canadian hiking buddy The Burglar.
When we reached our cars at the parking lot, Chris decided to take me up on my offer to look through his stuff and suggest what might be left behind to get his pack weight down. I implemented the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and clothes closet pile technique and watched him orient his gear in the proper categories. Chris’ empty backpack/ day pack military ops combo weighted 6 pounds one ounce empty. He reluctantly replaced that with the 3 pound ULA Catalyst that I had given him. Even his camp chair was dumped, shedding 2+ more pounds. In the end, Chris reduced his load to 28 pounds, a much more reasonable weight that included even more meals than he carried up last night.
Guthook was on his own today. He went back up high over Hamlin Peak then took the North Peaks Trail and ended up with us in lean-to #5 at Russell Pond.
I was hoping to meet up with the Russell Pond ranger, Brendan, who lives not far from my house, but Guthook met up with Brendan, who opted for the challenge of the high route as he was headed home for a couple of days.
The walking was especially great, and followed a big day of going up and down. I was transported back in time as we passed the huge glacial boulder known as Halfway Rock. My wife Auntie Mame and sons Lincoln and Arlo were in my thoughts today, as they were physically back in the 1980’s when our family traversed this and many other of Baxter’s trails on our annual Columbus Day weekends. Today the trail was wooded, dappled in greens, and frankly, easy. We were in the green tunnel all day long. Today, Chris and I took the right fork over the Wassataquoik Trail.
We made two fords: one little and another wider over Wassataquoik Stream, about 2 miles before we ended the day’s walk. It made sense to keep my feet bare and walk the 100 feet or so across a fairly soft footpath to the second ford, rather than putting the boots on and taking them off and then putting them on and off again a minute later. I was shocked to find a leech already stuck to the heel of my foot, even though I had been in the water for less than a minute.
We were way off on our own in Lean-To #5 at Russell.
Dead wood was scarce, and what few solid sticks we could find were some distance from our spot. I bear-bagged my food way up in a tree after I spotted a huge pile of bear crap beside a nearby blueberry patch.
The crowds are gone now that we left Katahdin.
We had our session of “cowboy TV ” on a small wooden bench in front of the cracking spruce wood fire.
I was asleep before dark.