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Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Katahdin (Hamlin Peak), Mt. Katahdin (Baxter Peak), Doubletop Mountain (South Peak), Doubletop Mountain (North Peak), ME
Trails
Trails: Wassatoquoik Lake Trail, Wassatoquoik Lake view spur, Russell Pond Trail, Northwest Basin Trail, Hamlin Ridge Trail, Saddle Trail, Hunt Trail, Grassy Pond Trail, Daicey Pond Trail, Kidney Pond Trail, Doubletop Mountain Trail, roadwalk
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, September 21, 2017
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parked in the designated parking area for Wassatoquoik Lake Trail, just south of the bridge over Little Nesowadnehunk Stream, prior to Nesowadnehunk Field Campground. Usual Baxter fees and whatnot apply. Tote road in good shape, with a couple of minor washboard sections between Togue Pond and Katahdin Stream. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The Wassatoquoik Stream crossing on Northwest Basin Trail was rock hopped with care, but it's a big crossing, wouldn't take much more water in there to make things interesting, if not impassable. The unbridged crossing of Nesowadnehunk Stream on Kidney Pond Trail was running knee to thigh deep, and fairly fast. Just as I stepped in, I slipped on an underwater rock and went in, my whole lower body and left side now drenched. Nothing like wet hiking on a cool, but dry day. All other crossings on the route were easy hops on mostly dry rocks.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Overall, trails in excellent shape, well marked/signed, and up to the standard of Baxter trails. Most trails had some minor to major brushy sections, but it never affected navigation, and were generally short-lived. The AT sections were the most manicured. Of note, beaver(s) have dammed an inflow to Davis Pond, just above the lean-to, flooding a 75-100 foot section of Northwest Basin Trail. I ended up bushwhacking upslope slightly in thick woods to get around it. Also, just after the crossing of the Nesowadnehunk on Kidney Pond Trail, it is VERY grassy for just less than 0.1, before resuming trail status.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs
Bugs: Black flies pretty heinous at Davis Pond and associated ledges nearby in the Northwest Basin on day 2, while the sun was up. Black flies likewise heinous at Nesowadnehunk Field while the sun was up on day 4. It got down to 30 degrees Thursday night/Friday morning, so hopefully that does it for those buggers. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
 
Comments
Comments: Did this clockwise loop over four days, September 18-21. Got lucky with the weather, as there was no rain, and only occasional cloud cover, though sometimes obscuring the summits. Day 1, I hiked the mellow 10 miles in to the lean-to at Wassatoquoik Lake, arriving with enough time to gather wood and settle in for an evening fire and dinner. Low clouds obscured the tops of the peaks on either side of the lake, and remained that way until I left in the morning. Day 2, I continued along the lake to Russell Pond, clouds clearing as I headed east, then up into the Northwest Basin, Davis Pond being my stop for the night. Other than the aforementioned bugs once there, the trail up was really easy going for many miles, then after crossing the Wassatoquoik, got steep with wet slabs before leveling out toward Lake Cowles. Day 3, I headed up to the Tableland, and down to Daicey Pond for the night. From Davis I quickly climbed into the clouds, where I had a nearly silent, foggy traverse across the Northwest Plateau to Hamlin. I started to run into people about 0.4 from the summit of Baxter Peak, the first humans I'd seen in nearly two full days. The clouds started to part, and I even got to see a "fog bow", which was a new one for me, pretty spectacular! The summit wasn't mobbed, but there were a dozen or so thru-hikers finishing up, and a guy finishing up his NE111(115). Hunt Trail was something else to descend, once it drops off the Hunt Spur, steep, steep, steep! Really glad it was dry! Easy walking comprised the rest of the day, as I followed the AT along ponds, and through pleasant woods to my cabin for the night. Day 4 dawned, and I woke with a start, something wanted me to see the sunrise colors off the shoulder of Katahdin, reflecting in the pond. Good start. I then took the dunk I talked about before, so that's that. More very easy, pleasant hiking along ponds, up until the climb to Doubletop started... which was way closer to the mountain than I'd hoped. It started fairly gradual, diverging from Slaughter Pond Trail, then gets progressively steeper, until the col with Squaw's Bosom, where it goes skyward. Sadly, there aren't really any views until just before the summit when you pop out of the trees, but when you do get them, boom. Hung out on South Doubletop for about an hour and a half, before moving over to North peak, where I chatted with a guy from Portland for some time, before heading down. After setting up at Nesowadnehunk, I went over to Ledge Falls, and hung out in the sun, took a swim, and relaxed. Back at the campground, I got a fire going, and settled in for a clear, starry evening, which was COLD. Ice on my windshield in the morning, and my car saying it was 30, led me to believe that my night chills were for real. Thanks to Ranger Charity at Daicey, and Ranger Betsy at Nesowadnehunk, you guys are part of what makes Baxter work!  
Name
Name: Bill Robichaud 
E-Mail
E-Mail: bill.robichaud@gmail.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2017-09-22 
Link
Link: http:// 
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