My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, September 16, 2016

Exploring Baxter State Park by Car

I was late getting to Baxter State Park because (fortunately) discovered I'd grabbed up my winter clothes bag instead of my tent bag - they are the same except for color.  So I had to spend most of Sunday driving from Aroostook to Moosehead and then back to Baxter State Park.  So I got to Baxter in evening light.  I was camping not far from the north entrance at South Branch Pond.

Grand Lake Matagamon lies along the road, just as one gets to Baxter State Park - Next time I'm going camping and paddling on it

Road View not far from Baxter State Park

I didn't take many pictures because I was in a rush to get to camp and get set up before the sun disappeared behind a mountain.  And the road to camp was pretty much all trees - sometimes I was in a tunnel of them and other times I could see sky above the road. But I did grab a few of Southern Branch Pond and the hills behind it as soon as I got to the Ranger Station and parked.

This park is both very unusual and very expensive to visit.  There is no potable water, no flush toilets, and no electricity.  You cannot cook inside the cabins you may rent, the road runs close to the northern and western boundaries, so most of the middle is only accessible on foot. You may not bring your pets into the park. The northwestern corner is open to hunting except for moose.  I had to pay $30 per night for a tent site.

Evening view across South Branch Pond

A look to the left of the picture above - on South Branch Pond

I started out pretty early the next morning, because I'd been warned that the roads are busy and slow and the maximum speed limit is 20 mph. However, I was almost on my own for most of the morning. I stopped when I saw something that interested me and took many of my first pictures with the hand-held night scenes setting. After the sun got above the trees, I  stopped and made coffee and a breakfast of eggs before deciding to go explore the Kidney Pond area, in the Southwestern corner of the Park.

Think this was a Trout Brook view

Falls on Nesowadnehunk Creek

View along Nesowadnehunk Creek

Another View along Nesowadnehunk Creek - it runs along the road a ways

The park rents lean-tos for $30 a night - same price as a camping site - they also have a fire ring

Kidney Pond Campground only has cabins for rent.  They don't have water, or electricity, or any kind of bathroom and most are walk-in.  What I found interesting was the library which was a building with two rooms.  One room was full of tables and looked like it could be used for eating while the other room had several bookshelves of books available for loan on the honor system.  I particularly enjoyed the propane lamps.  One of these is in the living area of each cabin, but the bedrooms have no lighting.

One of the propane lights in the Library at Kidney Pond Campground

The remains of pileated woodpecker housing - at Kidney Pond Campground

Baxter State Park is currently has 209,644 acres to explore. Only a small part of it is accessible by car.  Mostly you have to hike, and especially in the northern parts, you have to backpack. It is famous for Kathalin Mountain which has five peaks. Baxter Peak is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and the southern terminus for  the International Appalachian Trail, a trail still under construction that will include Canadian Maritime Provinces as well as Greenland, Scotland, Ireland, wales, England and several other countries.

There are over 200 miles of hiking trails in Baxter state park.  So by 9:00 AM, I had decided to hike up the trail to Sentinel Mountain.  Stay tuned. I'm back at Moosehorn, with a few more hours of assigned work to complete as I cook and pack to go camping with my Florida friend Julie, starting next weekend. And I need to see the green flash  do a little fishing and ...... Too much to see, too little time to see it all.