Family Baxter State Park Trip – Upper South Branch + Bonus Black Cat Summit

Family Baxter State Park Trip – Upper South Branch + Bonus Black Cat Summit

44 pics from an early season visit to Baxter State Park. The Traveler Loop was still off limits, but we found a fine replacement in Black Cat. It certainly was a lot easier 🙂

Other than a bit of a cliff face hanging over the lake it was a pretty casual hike in to our camp. The cliff is pretty, but also pretty exciting in a few spots. The camp at Upper South Branch is nicer than in years passed with a new lean to and latrine a few years back. Very relaxing, but very buggy!

Very peaceful provided you have bug protection. We didn’t bring the pie irons but managed to make do with foil for our campfire pizzas. Many were eaten, none remained for the bears to scavenge. Best way to keep a clean camp is put all the food in your face!

Morning dawned sort of purple and fuzzy, but coffee and hot mush solved most of our problems in quick order.

Black Cat took a little longer, but was a nice consolation prize for Traveler being closed. Many flies on the summit, but we did not let that deter us from our sausage and cheese. Then it was time for the views!

Dinner that night was not as photogenic as the pizza. A wonderful mashed potato concoction with mixed veggies and bacon, but no thought was given to taking pictures. Might have been hungry, might have been the rain that started just before we ate.

Wet night, wet morning and a wet hike out. It stopped raining soon after we left camp and no one fell off the cliff, so definitely a pretty good ending to the trip. There will be a couple of videos at some point, but I am really busy getting things ready for the next couple of trips on the calendar, so no promises.

Hope you are getting out there when you can too!

Two Night Caribou-Speckled Wilderness Loop

Two Night Caribou-Speckled Wilderness Loop

I had the East Royce parking lot to myself and only saw a couple of cars on the road walk north to Haystack Notch TH.

That looks like antler damage to me. No claw marks and there was plenty of “evidence” along the trails.

My campsite had a fire ring so I thought that would be a good place to put my wood stove. Plenty of dry birch twigs to be found. The forest is really dry right now though, so be careful with any fire or stove.

After passing through a section of private land at the Miles Notch intersection it was a steady climb up towards the top of the notch, mostly along the brook.

Being wilderness there were plenty of obstacles to manage. Some easy to step over or around, others requiring some bushwhacking.

After loading up with a heavy load of water to get me through the next 24 hours or so I headed up the Red Rock trail. Some nice views in spots, but the ridge is really just a series of hills. I guess they may be mountains heh, but it was definitely a lot of elevation change. Given the heavy load of water I wasn’t always amused when spotting the next climb.

I’d hoped to spend the night on top of Speckled, but I was pretty wiped out by the time I got to the base of the final climb. Definitely a good thing I can camp anywhere because this was as far as I was going.

Trail clothes hanging out to dry while I enjoy what I can see of the after dinner sunset. It was an early night with no reading in bed, just zzzz

I started up the climb in great spirits, filled with vigor after a restful night. Heh, no, that wasn’t it at all. Coffee got me moving, but I am not sure what got me up that mountain. Mostly wanting to see the views I think. Well that and the scoot being parked on the other side of it.

It was a pretty morning, with the light hitting the new green leaves and the pines. There were some rolling sections between steep pitches, but I have to say I think I like coming down this side of Speckled more than going up it.

Oh but those views at the top make it worth all the troubles. Pardon the black spots in some of these pics, but I was not alone up there.

We’ll end the trip here looking at this gnarled old beast of a tree that just keeps going. Might be a lesson there 🙂

Function Follows Form

The more time you spend on trail the more you can benefit from a bit of thought about your own personal mechanics. In one last spring training video before my backpacking season kicks into high gear I spend a few minutes focusing on form and how our function on trail is directly related to how we use our bodies. See if taking a little time to think about how you hike can bring you a bit more happiness out there!