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7/26/08 - Katahdin via Chimney Pond / Saddle (pics)

salsgang

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
817
Points
16
Location
Southern Coastal Maine
Date(s) Hiked: July 26, 2008

Trails(s) Hiked: Chimney Pond / Saddle

Total Distance:11.0 miles

Difficulty: Chimney Pond Moderate - Saddle Strenuous in parts

Conditions: Pretty Wet

Special Required Equipment: None

Trip Report: After conquering Old Speck the previous weekend - we were ready to take on Katahdin. With a 12 and 10 year old in tow, I decided the Saddle up and down would be the best bet.

We started off at 7:30 from Roaring Brook campground. Fortunately the weather was good and we got to hike on only the 7th Class I day of th Year. The chimney pond trial was very wet. A lot of mud and quite a few puddles to hop around. The ranger said they got about 2.5 inches of rain the day before. Chimney pond trial is a moderate 3.3 mile hike. There are a couple of moderate climbs, and quite a bit of rock hopping and a climb out the basin ponds, but it is a fairly easy go of it.



We were hiking with a college buddy of mine and 2 of his kids and we made it to Chimney in about 2hrs 15 min. Not doing to bad. I personally think chimney pond is the prettiest place I have ever been too. It amazes me every time I go.



We start the ascent up Saddle. This is the 2.2 mile trail to the top that is the 'easiest" of the trials up. It is not a piece of cake by any means. The first .5 miles of the trial out of chimney is pretty tame. A gradual ascent to the slide. Then after crossing a small brook the serious climbing begins. Its a steep ascent through some trees that kind of grow sideways, then you break out of the scrub onto the slide.



Then it is a very steep scramble up some pretty loose rocks... have to be careful not to dislodge rocks to send them tumbling down... then the last couple of hundred yards is a extremely steep climb over some boulders and big rocks. We had to rally my youngest boy as he was starting to get a bit uneasy, but he pulled it together and made it to the top of the slide. My college buddy decided to turn back with his kids part way up the slide. They were getting tired and he was feeling a bit under the weather. A good decision I think in his case.





It is then a mile moderate climb to the peak. The tablelands are fascinating. You can see forever and it has a mystic quality about it.




We made it to the peak in about 5.5 hours. We didn't break any speed records but I was certainly proud of my boyz for ascending the highest peak in Maine! They did great and the old man made it to the top of Maine of the 5th time. The views from the top were stellar.



The trip down went fine. We had to really pick our way down the Saddle slide, but after that it was just a bunch of rock hopping / mud jumping back to camp at Roaring Brook. About a 5.25 hour descent. We got back to Roaring Brook at 7:10... dead tired but very happy to have made it to the top and back.

Baxter is a very special place.
 

Skier75

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Feb 16, 2004
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Location
Barrington, New Hampshire
Very nice report, glad to hear your kids got to see one of God's creations.

Yep, that's one of my favorite places in Maine. I love Baxter, there is so much to see and do there! Those trials are the only way I'd ever take to reach Katadin. Hamilin Ridge isn't too bad to decent, except for one spot I'm not too crazy about. Don't like areas that isn't too much on either side of you, it freaks me out....don't know why, just does.
 

severine

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Feb 7, 2004
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poetinthepantry.com
That is gorgeous!!!!

Katahdin is on my "I want to do this someday" list. Now, it may have moved up a bit on the list. Thanks for sharing!
 

salsgang

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
817
Points
16
Location
Southern Coastal Maine
Nice TR...Is the Knifes edge a different route??? How far is Katahdin from Portland?

From Baxter peak - you can keep going across knife edge and down Helon Taylor trail to do a circuit back to Roaring Brook. A lot of people do Helon Taylor, Knife edge and down Saddle direction. We just did up and down Saddle for starters.

Plan on 5 hours from Portland. You could probably do it in 4 to 4.5 without stopping and going at a "steady clip"
 

ComeBackMudPuddles

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Great sequence of pix, thanks. I've never been, but would like to go. Looks pretty desolate and other-worldly (especially for the Northeast).
 

MichaelJ

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The Watch City
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www.saletnik.org
One way to think about the drive to Baxter is that it's exit 244 off I-95. Then it's another 28 miles, which will take you an hour, just to get to the Togue Pond gate. From there it's however many more miles to wherever you're camping, at about 10-15mph on the Tote Road.

It can take a *long* time to get there, and once you're there, you're not "running into town" for dinner or supplies or ice. :)

And if you're going in the north entrance, tack on a few more hours!
 

Mike P.

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BSP rocks, especially the view from Chimney Pond. I need to get back.
 

powbmps

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Jul 8, 2007
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Great pictures!

Katahdin looks like something you would find out West. The whole top of that mountain is so exposed. Not too many places to hide if nasty weather rolls in.

Knife Edge = :-o
 

zook

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Feb 24, 2006
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Queens, NY
Thanks for sharing - I miss that place. And you had such a wonderful weather!

I definitely want to go again, Baxter is special.... Now I only have to wait for my kid to grow up to take him :)
 
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