2005-02-19 to 21Baxter State Park winter trip

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  1. #1

    2005-02-19 to 21Baxter State Park winter trip

    Date(s) Hiked: 2005-02-19 to 2005-02-21

    Trails(s) Hiked: Old west gate road

    Total Distance: 5 miles in, 5 miles out and trekking around the park???

    Difficulty: The first 2 miles in were packed by snowmobile so very easy. The last three, we had to break trail. Total elevation gain was only 700 feet. Fairly easy.

    Conditions: Partly cloudy on Saturday, beautiful blue skies Sunday, snowy on Monday

    Special Required Equipment: Tray of lasagna to top off a full gear sled each of us dragged in. The bunk house made it very nice. Skiis and snowshoes were used on this trip.

    Trip Report: This trip report submitted to me by Twigeater:

    02/18-21/2005 Nesowadnehunk bunkhouse
    Bob & Jeannette McQueeney, me

    uphillklimber and skier75 arrived my house Friday night. Charlie and Karen had come over to help me drink some cherry bounce I’d made, plus Charlie brought over the lasagna he made for us. I had forgotten to mention using a disposable pan, and since I was still packing I just didn’t have time (i.e., was too lazy) to put it in a different pan.

    Saturday, February 19
    We jumped out of bed, showered, packed up, and were on our way a little after 8am. We stopped at Dysart’s for a yummy breakfast, and then headed on to the parking area at the William’s Pond Road.

    After unloading the truck and loading the sleds up, we decided to snowshoe in. It was around 1pm, temps were 5-10 above, no real wind, blue skies. The going was okay, then my sled starting to feel like it weighed 400 pounds, and I had a hard time keeping up with the others. After some time (like a mile or so) I bent over to look between my legs at my sled. Skier75 asked if I was gonna make it, as I probably looked like I was dying, LOL…I told her I was just looking at the sled, then I swore as I realized the drag rope had fallen under the sled! I had carefully coiled it up and put it under some things when we left, so I was surprised. I cursed it soundly and dubbed it the “devil rope.” We decided to have a ritual burning for it at camp, since now that I have stiff traces I don’t need a brake.

    We plugged along, not stopping much, ‘til we came to a fork in the road at about the halfway point. Unfortunately, we had to take the road less traveled, so off we went, breaking trail for the next 2.5 miles. Here again my sled started misbehaving, pretending it was a snowplow. I moved my daypack to the back which helped bring the front up out of the snow some. Skier75 (aka “the machine”) was cruising along breaking trail like there was no tomorrow.

    My Gatorade had frozen even though I’d kept it down my shirt, so I was low on hydration. Turns out everyone’s water had frozen, even in the insulated camelbaks. I wondered why we didn’t have any “official” fueling stops, but tried to munch along the way. Finally we arrived at the BSP boundary, and that’s where I learned that Skier75 had worn her Cresta hiking boots and her toes were freezing – that’s why she cruised along as she did.

    The extra snow had weighed the trees down and totally obscured the trail. By that time I just wanted to get to the bunkhouse, and did not want to waste 45 minutes doing the cross country ski trail that I hate, plus it was getting dark. I don’t mind the moguls of the trail ahead so I forged on through the trees, with Jeannette occasionally asking if I was SURE this was the right way. I said yes. Actually I was following the little fox’s path…hehe….though I didn’t tell her that. A couple of times we had to go into the woods because the brush over the trail was so thick there was no way through it. Then we finally came to the deep ditch just before the campground. There’s no longer a bridge across it since the west gate closed, so we did as we did the last trip – Skier75 stayed up with the three sleds, I straddled the ditch, and Bob crossed. Skier75 lowered each sled down; I caught them, and then passed the traces over to uphillklimber who pulled them up. It was during this time that I realized why Skier75 could cruise along so…her sled weighed next to nothing! I gotta learn to do that! After that we were home free. Except that Skier75 and I were COLD, with Skier75's toes being seriously cold.

    While Skier75 and I visited the outhouse – the cover was frozen to the seat and I thought sure I’d lose some butt skin -uphillklimber went to work starting the fire, brought in his sled, and got some hot food going. Skier75 and I huddled around the woodstove, peeling wet things off, thawing cold and frozen body parts, and unthawing my frozen hair.

    Hot chocolate and teriyaki noodles never tasted so good! We were very thankful that we did not have to pitch a tent. Probably the toughest five miles I’ve done with a sled. Some felt that wrestling thru the brush was invigorating at the end of the hike, but some didn’t care for it.

    As soon as we were warm enough to function, we set the lasagna on the stove, and then we bundled back up and went out for water. I had been having some muscle cramping around my knee on the way in, so I knew I was dehydrated. We all drank lots of the cold clear spring water that night.

    Later we feasted on yumminy lasagna, had some wine, chatted, and then hit the hay. As usual, uphillklimber retired first, and as Skier75 and I sat finishing our wine, we discussed the bucket on the porch…and the best plan of the weekend hatched, as we decided not only to use it as a pee bucket, but we brought it right inside, so no frozen butt skin, no having to wake up and get dressed to go out in the freezing cold. When uphillklimber got up in the night and saw what we did, he agreed it was a great idea.

    Sunday, February 20
    We got up around 7ish I think. It was a windy, cold day, 10-15 below. After a breakfast of bagels, assorted cream cheeses, bacon, sausage and spiced potato chunks, we bundled up to get water. We hoped to wait out the wind and go out and play later in the day. In the mean time, Skier75 cleaned up and started her tortellini soup. I decided to do something with the deer chops I’d brought. uphillklimber sat in his chair and directed our activities. LOL.

    I threw a bunch of stuff in a pot to marinated the chops, and then put it all on to cook. The place smelled yummy with all the cooking going on. uphillklimber threw a cake mix at me and asked what I could do with it. We were missing eggs, oil and apples, but finally, just because of the challenge I guess, I mixed up a little batter with water, powdered milk and butter buds. I threw in some stuff from various trail mixes – nuts, raisins, chocolate chips… I threw it in the coals to bake for 10 minutes. That method got us a hockey puck. Next one I put on top of the stove and flipped it – much better. So I mixed up the rest, put it on top of the stove, and we cooked up a pretty good tasting cake. Cream cheese for frosting if anyone wanted.

    Here we’d eaten all this food (the soup and deer chops were soooo good) and had lots more good eating ahead of us, so we bundled up, put the skis on, and took off to play. The temp was up around 10ish by this time (1:30) We’d heard a few snowmobiles, but didn’t see a one. These last two trips I’ve noticed how much the Nesowadnehunk campground has changed. I wonder if it’s to make the area more attractive to take the pressure off the southern part of the park.

    We started down the perimeter road, and as we came up by the service area, we went off into the woods to play. The snow was perfect for skiing! The first gravel pit we came to was too steep to ski down. The next one was just right, we walked up and skied down some of the smaller hills, then walked the big one. We made three trails, a green, a blue, and a black. I had fun skiing the green, but fell on the blue. After some more exploring and a coupla more falls, we started back to the cabin. uphillklimber had blisters and wanted to save his skin for the hike out. We skied the fields back. Once there, we switched skis for snowshoes and went out for water again. Along with drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, it also helped wake us up in the night….whenever anyone got up to pee they were supposed to stoke the stove.

    That night we feasted on tortellini soup and lasagna. Skier75 and I worked on her nalgene of schnapps for a while, then she went to bed. uphillklimber and I chatted by the fire for a bit, then he went off to bed. I sat up until midnight doing crossword puzzles and trying to reduce my wine pack weight.

    Sometime in the night I heard uphillklimber say it was 30 degrees below zero!

    Monday, February 21
    Got up around 8ish, to uphillklimber claiming it was 110 degrees over by the woodstove, 85 degrees by the door, and nalgenes that were left by the bottom of the door and on the window sill had ice in them. We had noticed the day before that the bunks had frost under them.

    We had the same breakfast as the day before, though at one point we mixed the remaining potato, bacon and sausage altogether.

    So began the washing up and packing…all the stuff that goes along with leaving…boo-hoo…uphillklimber quite gallantly brought over two huge sled fulls of wood to stock the woodpile on the porch. I stirred the ashes and shut down the woodstove. It was about 5 above about that time.

    Rather than burn the devil rope, I had decided to keep it for emergency uses, but to tie it off somewhere. Then it occurred to me that if I tied the devil rope to my hip belt, it would work to pull the front of my sled up, ending that snowplow effect that dragged me down. So I did that. Most of my food and wine was gone (including the 400lb lasagna, though the pan still weighed in at 7lbs anyway!) plus I packed my sled a little differently, but was still surprised when I started off that my sled felt so light…I had to look back and make sure my gear was still on – definitely a trick to remember.

    We had decided to ski out, but since Jeannette wanted to do the ski trail, she and I opted for snowshoes for that portion. uphillklimber “there ain’t much I can’t ski” decided to start right out skiing. They went on ahead. By the time I caught up with them (I had to take my jacket off and secured a couple of hanging straps) uphillklimber was rolling around in the snow. I don’t know what happened, but my guess is he started up that damn hill I hate and slid off the trail, falling. While we were stopped, I put some heaters in my boots as my toes were getting cold. Skier75 had used heaters the day before, and was using them again today along with her ski boots rather than the crestas. She found that combination to work well for her.

    At this point, uphillklimber took his skis off and bare booted it to the top of the hill, then put his skis back on for the downhill portion. Once we were back at the “road” Skier75 and I put our skis on. After a bit I had to take the heaters out of my boots, as every time I stopped it felt like my feet were gonna burn up.

    We stopped along the way to eat and drink, and made pretty good time skiing. We started out around 11 and were at the truck by 2:30 – but we also didn’t have to break trail like we did on the way in. After loading up, and me changing, we cranked the heat and drove to Millinocket for a pizza. It was so yummy and we raved about it so much, that you’d think we starved in them woods.

    It snowed all the way home, at times there were white out conditions. We saw a few vehicles off the road here and there. I didn’t really notice any slick places until we got closer to home. We unloaded at my house around 7pm, Skier75 and uphillklimber changed, then headed home. It would be 10:15pm before they arrived home.

    THE END
    lovin life,

    Bob

  2. #2

    Pictures

    Pics are up and loading (dial up....)

    http://community.webshots.com/album/281448111qmIjFn

    I say give me another shot at that thar hill!!!!

    I am having quite a time finding a back country boot to cross country ski in. I have a regular boot that works very well, but there is no tread on it for bare booting. I'll return the boots to LL Beans and keep looking....
    lovin life,

    Bob

  3. #3
    Thanks, UK!

    Too bad those boots didn't work for ya, they have nice tread.

  4. #4
    The boots may not have worked -- glad every else did, including your superb trip report.

    Wish I was there !
    _________________
    Live well, laugh often, love much!


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