Katahdin - September 1994

By David Metsky

Here is a trail map of the Katahdin area.

Here is a trail map of the Kidney Pond area.

Day 1 - Kidney Pond and Mt OJI

I drove from a friend's house in Augusta to Baxter State Park, arriving near noon on the first day of the trip. From the park entrance I drove the very rough road to Kidney Pond, where we stayed for the next two nights. The rest of the cast arrived the day before.

After a quick lunch we headed up Mt OJI, named for the massive slides which used to form the letters O-J-I on one side of the mountain. The hike consists of going up a steep slide, using hands to assist, crossing the scrub ridge, and coming down via another slide. From the summit we had our first good views of Kahtahdin.

Day 2 - Kidney Pond and Mt Doubletop

The next morning we chose Mt Doubletop, another closeby peak with a striking silluette. The first stream crossing was a mess, due to a beaver dam, and we promptly lost the trail for about an hour, but we stumbled on to it and kept going. While climbing we saw a black bear running off into the woods. The trail is very steep and you need to use you hands to climb up some sections.

The summit ridge is long and thin, and has some excellent cliffs for photo ops. On the way back to Kidney Pond we picked huge numbers of raspberries which we had on pancakes the next morning.

Day 3 - Chimney Pond and Pamola Caves

The last morning at Chimney Pond I woke up around dawn and went out for a canoe in the boats they rent for $1/hour. I was the only one on the lake and saw plenty of loons and had nice views of Doubletop and Abol slide.

We packed up and headed for Roaring Brook, which is the trailhead for Chimney Pond. On the way I saw a deer in but I was too busy concentrating on the rough road to notice much else. We started on the trail before 1:00 and made it up to our shelters at Chimney Pond by 3:30 after several view stops along the way. We then took a quick trip up to Pamola Caves which are a few tenths off the Dudley trail. They're big faulted rock caves and the trail to them goes up and over and around and through.

We spent the night in two 4-person shelters at Chimney Pond listening to the wind try and lift the structures off their foundations.

Day 4 - Davis Pond and the Northwest Basin

Because we had reservations for one 4-person shelter at Chimney Pond and one 4-person shelter at Davis Pond, we had to split up for the next two days. Ed and Ching were going to head up the Dudley trail and do the Knife Edge while Lafe, Allison, and I headed up the Saddle trail and along the North West Basin trail to Davis Pond, where we spent the night at the shelter.

The trip across the Northwest Basin trail was exhausting for Lafe and Allison, because they had frame packs which caught the 40 MPH wind and threw them all over the place. We didn't spend any extra time above treeline and crashed early at the shelter.

Day 5 - Baxter Peak and back to Chimney Pond

This day dawned slightly cloudy, but with much less wind. We quickly made it up to treeline and spend a much more enjoyable trip across the ridge. This time we took the side trip up to Hamlin Peak and got some excellent views of Pamola. We met Ed and Ching for lunch on the ridge and they told us that while we were fighting the high winds on the North West Basin trail, they made it across the Knife Edge without much problem.

We dropped pack at the Saddle and hiked to Baxter Peak for some great views of Chimney Pond. I had to take the required Limmer boot shot. Then, back down to Chimney Pond and a well deserved dinner.

That night we heard a park storyteller relate very interesting tales of Pamola and Katahdin in the bunkhouse.

Day 6 - Knife Edge

I woke up early on this day to take some early morning photographs of a very still Chimney Pond. Lafe had to leave so he hiked out after breakfast and Allison and I started up Dudley Peak to do the Knife Edge. It started hailing and raining before we'd gotten too far, so we decided to go back down.

About 30 minutes later the rain stopped, things cleared a bit, and we decided to give it another shot. We stopped at Index Rock for some pictures and pushed on to Pamola Peak. The ridge was in fog which is a bit unnerving considering the drop but when it cleared off the views were well worth it.

We spent some well deserved rest on the summit and headed down via the Cathedral trail. From there we got excellent views of the Chimney, an technial climb that isn't for the faint-hearted. Our legs were completely shot by the time we got down and we took a quick nap. Ed and Ching arrived from Davis Pond and we had our final dinner, which included squid and Chinese hot sausage.

Day 7 - Out

The last day was just packing up and hiking out. Since we had a long drive ahead of us we left early and made it out to the parking area well before noon. All and all, a fantastic trip.

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