Baxter state park

Our plan is to hike 3-4 days on a loop trail towards Baxter Peak. We had 2 kids ages 6 and 10 along and wanted them to enjoy it without pushing for long mileage days. We would head for Russell pond for our first night.

  1. The trail heading toward Russell Pond.

Katahdin from Abol Bridge Campground.

The trail out to Russell Pond was pleasant and easy, the woods were deep and mossy, we kept an eye out for bear and moose, but didn’t see any. It was about 7.2 miles to our first hut at Russell Pond, we crossed Wassataquoik stream barefoot and hoping we wouldn’t slip and fall, the water was frigid and fast moving.

At Russel Pond,we rented canoes to paddle around, at only a dollar an hour! We paddled across to check in at the ranger station. Then stayed out awhile paddling around the pond.

Our hut was 3 sided, we set up our tent to keep away the mosquitoes. The pond was close by just in front and the bear poles were behind the hut. We got a fire going in the fire ring, making it seem so cozy.

This was our view from close by the hut, the kids spent a lot of time playing on the pier here. The water was very shallow.

Wassataquoik stream was very slippery when we crossed it again heading towards Davis Pond the next day, we had to keep an eye on the blazes to stay on trail, once the trail followed a stream bed uphill for a bit and even along a creek, a few places were very muddy. It got very steep and we had to pull ourselves up holding onto roots and trees.

This place was awesome, it was like a bowl, the mountains surrounding us, the trees were short and scrubby. After this the trail went downhill to the hut at Davis Pond. Where a cute red squirrel lived, he was very bold and came right up to us.

The next morning was very foggy at Davis Pond. We got an early start as we had a lot of climbing ahead, the trail was very steep and the woods so dark and covered with moss. Once again we were pulling ourselves up holding onto whatever we could grab!

Once we were over the rock scramble, we were above treeline, wow! It was foggy and so surreal! We followed the Northwest Basin trail and met no one else until we were close to the Saddle Trail.

The rock scramble

The view from above saddle trail, looking down on Chimney Pond. The trail was rocky and well worn here from all the people, up to the Saddle Trail, we didn’t see many people and the trail wasn’t as worn.

Chimney Pond down below, so tiny.

The clouds were so heavy that it was dripping on us, our eyelashes and hair covered in dew drops. The summit was crowded with through hikers and others, we didn’t get any views at the top as the fog was so thick. So we didn’t stay long.

Saddle trail was rough and we had to hold onto the larger rocks to keep from slipping and falling from the loose smaller rocks. The trail was nice once we got further down, but well worn.

Chimney Pond
Advertisements

Cutler Coast Maine!

We drove all night, stopping once for a nap in the early hours. We headed for Cutler Coast right away and arrived in the noon and walked out along the beautiful path, sometimes on boards that were laid over the low areas, the the woods were beautiful, so dark and mossy, with white trunks dotted here and there.

We met quite a few people heading in and were surprised there were so many as it was during the week. It wasn’t very long until we came to our first view of the ocean looking out over the cliffs. So stunningly beautiful.! We kept on going as we were afraid we wouldn’t have time to get to Fairy Head campsites before dark,a 5 mile hike. We loved the place so much, there stunning ocean views and deep dark woods. The trail was well kept, a few places where there was a meadow, the grasses and wildflowers were higher then Cricket’s head, she disappeared in them, we told her that she could just walk under a moose and wouldn’t even know it. Just on the other side of a small stone beach,

We came to a few campsites and since it was so late, we decided to camp there, looking out over the cliffs. On the way out we saw minke whale and seals surfacing out in the water. The mosquitoes were very bad so we soon got out tent pitched and escaped there mosquitoes once it got dark. There was a white spotted seal on the rocks below us that we wondered if it was a baby, then a darker seal out in the water coming in a few times.

We watched the seals a long time that evening, enjoying a craft beer we took along out, such a pleasant evening relaxing until the mosquitoes were just too unbearable. We didn’t know if there would be black bears in the area or not but hung our food bag out over the cliff anyway. We slept pretty well considering the tent was sloped in the corners. The next morning we got up early and walked out on the rocks to watch the sun rise, which didn’t turn out to be very bright. The mosquitoes were horrid, we squashed so many, they attacked anything that wasn’t covered up.My husband went exploring on the rocks and seaweed below.

He saw crabs and salamanders, there were so many different types of seaweed there.we found an urchin shell that was broken but we took it along. After awhile we decided to go in and get packed up and move away from the mosquitoes. When we got to the stone beach, the mosquitoes didn’t bother us so we stayed awhile.

we explored the beach, so many different seaweeds! Then headed on, taking our time, taking a snack break at a view point. Dave’s knee started hurting him.

the kids had their stuffed animals along and were snacking rose hips that were everywhere, good vitamin c! We headed on in and met a lot more people coming out.

once we got to the parking lot, we were hungry and wanted coffee! So off we went in search of that, but first we stopped by the lighthouse.

West Quoddy Head lighthouse was pretty, we didn’t go in, only enjoying the view from the hill before going on and getting a lobster roll and fish and of course coffee!!

Whiteoak canyon

Icy waterfalls, new oversized puppy and snow.. We wanted to try out winter hiking but decided we should just stick to a day hike for the first time see how that goes, if we could stay warm etc. And also wanted to see how the new rottweiler puppy did, if he does good,he’ll be my hiking companion for future hikes. We started off early, we had a2 hour drive to go. We got to the lower white oak canyon parking area early, with only a few vehicles there yet. We bundled up well and started off. Demo the dog was ready to go. It was so cold, Dave soon had ice on his beard, but once we started uphill,I was soon warming up and taking off my thick coat. We crossed a few bridges and were by the first of the waterfalls soon,we were glad to see that the ice was still there and hadn’t melted during the warmer week before. The climb was hard but we stopped often to admire the beauty and take photos. A few people passed us but we didn’t care, we were out to enjoy it. A few people seemed wary of Demo but he did good with them. At the top we followed the fire road over to the next trail that would take us back down again,walking beside skyline drive in the snow a bit before heading down the hollow again, there we met an off leash dog that ran up and tried to attack Demo, we blocked him off till the owners came up and got him.. Demo obeyed well and didn’t try to attack back, thankfully. Near the bottom we came to the water again and more waterfalls. And also ice on the trail,which was tricky to cross sometimes, especially with the big dog trying to rush across, at a waterfall we took a break to enjoy the view then two men came up to talk and just walked right up, invading our space, demo was a bit nervous,I was afraid they would get bitten yet .. Eventually we saw the clear cut that was by the parking lot and crossed the bridge. The parking lot was as full as it could get. We were glad to get out of the cold and warm up again. And Demo slept most of the way home.

McAfee Knob

On the way to visit family in another state for Christmas,we decided to visit one of the most popular places on the Appalachian trail, McAffee Knob. It was a warmer day for December although pretty windy, we packed a lot of blankets to stay warm,with two kids that were coughing a bit, we really didn’t want them to get cold that night.. We got there at noon, the parking lot was filling up but not too full yet. We got the kids bundled up and packs on, looking like we were going out for weeks instead of only one night! Even a stranger in the parking lot commented on it but we really didn’t want the kids to get cold. We crossed the road and headed uphill,the trail was well used, getting a lot of foot traffic most days, there were brambles beside the path, and such pretty views right away,looking out over the valley below. The trail got a little rocky in some places and also had wooden sides built onto the smooth stone sections to make it easier to walk. The kids were doing great with a few breaks to rest here and there, although by the time we were going up the last hill towards the knob,they were quite tired! The five year old got a ride on daddy’s shoulders then. When we got to the overlook,it was cold and windy, we quickly put on thicker coats and took shots of the view,it was awesome, and so high up! We couldn’t stay too long as it was getting towards dark and we still had to go back a mile and a half to the shelter where we’d spend the night. We were surprised to see so many people still heading out and some with no packs and hardly any coats. The shelter was nice and had a fire ring there so we got a nice fire going once the bed was set up and enjoyed a cozy and warm dinner by the fire. Our bed kept us all warm that night,we were glad to have packed it all along. The next morning we packed up and headed in,deciding to get a warm breakfast in town. It was a pleasant walk,we walked some of it on the fire  road then. Once Cricket,our daughter let out a shriek,and stood there pointing, there was a black snake right beside the path, strange seeing a snake in such cold weather..We met a group going out and when we got to the parking lot,there were lots of search and rescue vehicles there,so we were wondering what happened. But didn’t find out then. It felt good to sit down and get warm again.

  1. The powerlines we crossed.
A snake in December??
Cooking outdoors, warm meal on a chilly evening!
Catawba shelter where we slept
These were hanging in a tree at the knob
The kids at the overlook

The overlook
Single file..
The trail
The smooth stone that came over the trail
The wooden path

McAfee Knob

On the way to visit family in another state for Christmas,we decided to visit one of the most popular places on the Appalachian trail, McAffee Knob. It was a warmer day for December although pretty windy, we packed a lot of blankets to stay warm,with two kids that were coughing a bit, we really didn’t want them to get cold that night.. We got there at noon, the parking lot was filling up but not too full yet. We got the kids bundled up and packs on, looking like we were going out for weeks instead of only one night! Even a stranger in the parking lot commented on it but we really didn’t want the kids to get cold. We crossed the road and headed uphill,the trail was well used, getting a lot of foot traffic most days, there were brambles beside the path, and such pretty views right away,looking out over the valley below. The trail got a little rocky in some places and also had wooden sides built onto the smooth stone sections to make it easier to walk. The kids were doing great with a few breaks to rest here and there, although by the time we were going up the last hill towards the knob,they were quite tired! The five year old got a ride on daddy’s shoulders then. When we got to the overlook,it was cold and windy, we quickly put on thicker coats and took shots of the view,it was awesome, and so high up! We couldn’t stay too long as it was getting towards dark and we still had to go back a mile and a half to the shelter where we’d spend the night. We were surprised to see so many people still heading out and some with no packs and hardly any coats. The shelter was nice and had a fire ring there so we got a nice fire going once the bed was set up and enjoyed a cozy and warm dinner by the fire. Our bed kept us all warm that night,we were glad to have packed it all along. The next morning we packed up and headed in,deciding to get a warm breakfast in town. It was a pleasant walk,we walked some of it on the fire  road then. Once Cricket,our daughter let out a shriek,and stood there pointing, there was a black snake right beside the path, strange seeing a snake in such cold weather..We met a group going out and when we got to the parking lot,there were lots of search and rescue vehicles there,so we were wondering what happened. But didn’t find out then. It felt good to sit down and get warm again.

  1. The powerlines we crossed.
A snake in December??
Cooking outdoors, warm meal on a chilly evening!
Catawba shelter where we slept
These were hanging in a tree at the knob
The kids at the overlook

The overlook
Single file..
The trail
The smooth stone that came over the trail
The wooden path

Old Rag

We’ve wanted to go see Old Rag mountain in Shenandoah National Park for a long time and now we finally had a chance to go,we were on the way home from visiting family in another state. We got to the parking lot in the middle of the night,got a few hours of sleep then got up and packed what we’d need for the day and got going. We started off at Berry Hollow Fire Road,going uphill awhile on the gravel road,the scenery was pretty and there was a creek beside it. The kids were soon saying they were getting tired and we were thinking, Oh no,was it a mistake doing this difficult trail with them along,we haven’t even gotten to the hard part yet! But we kept going,after awhile the road went downhill then they were running ahead, quite happy again. We were glad to come to the trail finally and get off the fire road, the trail went up steeply and was rocky, the kids were doing great though, every once in awhile we took a short break, a few people were passing us, but we were surprised there weren’t more, no complaints here, we love an empty trail! This trail was very popular so we went during the week to miss most of the crowd. The trail got more rocky as we got further up, soon we came to the rock scramble section and had to search for the trail. We had to go down between the rocks, it was a bit difficult handing the kids down then climbing down and trying to keep the kids from falling or going too close to the edge, my husband took our son and I took our daughter,we climbed up and between and scrambled over and under those rocks,the kids and us had a blast but it was hard too! And wow were the views awesome! totally worth it! My husband scared me by going closer to the edge a few times and climbing further out to explore, I kept picturing him slipping and falling over that edge.. At the top were more people enjoying the view, but it wasn’t too full. We hung around awhile taking pictures and getting a snack and drink then moved on to another view and more scrambling over rocks, we had to keep an eye out for the blazes as some places it was hard to see where the trail went! Finally we headed down and down some more, through the pines and rocks, saw the hut and took a break there then went on. The kids were getting really tired now but were keeping on,we tried to take a break often for them and giving them snacks, eventually we came to the next hut then soon after back to the fire road heading back to the parking lot, the kids were really dragging by then, we carried our five year old daughter a few times and were relieved to get back to the parking lot and soft seats again. But they said they enjoyed it even though they were tired. It was their longest and hardest trail yet. 

Big Run/Rockytop Loop

  • We fairly recently discovered hiking and fell so thoroughly in love. I’ve always loved being outside and working hard and the fresh air and beauty makes it all worth it! Me and my husband started off with cheap packs from bass pro shops and reading online on what all we’d need to take along.  Our first trip we took to Big Run Portal/ Rockytop loop at Shenandoah National park.  Our kids ages 3 and 8 were along, they had so much fun as did we! We crossed creeks barefoot and saw several snakes,including copperheads😨  but thankfully they were lazy and didn’t bother us even though we walked right past without seeing them at first. We had a great day and even 

    had time to play on the rocks before we made camp,the next day we headed up the mountain, it was quite a steep climb,we stopped often to rest and had a nice lunch break at a rocky overlook. 

  • But soon we discovered our first mistake, we hadn’t brought along nearly enough water.. It started drizzling though so we ended up licking rainwater off the leaves,that helped a lot. 

    Our view!

  • We found water then at a spring before our next camp, it was so cold and delicious.  Our night went well and the next morning after breakfast we headed on in towards our vehicle, we weren’t too far then we saw 4 black paws coming down a tree close by and a bear ran off into the woods, we were so glad to have seen one.  The kids loved hiking and are always ready to go again.win win!