Moose sighting near Chimney Pond
Another Maine treasure is Baxter State Park, home of Mt. Katahdin. The highest peak in Maine at roughly 5,300 feet (way above Cadillac), Katahdin is best known as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Once again there are several different ways to get to the top, but being a Maine resident, I always enjoyed residency privileges and ascended via the Helon N. Taylor trail, which begins from Roaring Brook campground (it is a lot easier to reserve a tent site here if you are a Maine resident).
The beauty of this trail is that it requires you to navigate the Knife Edge. This is an arduous trek and I won’t suggest it unless you are fit and capable.
Atop Baxter Peak ---looking back on the narrow ridge known as the Knife Edge
The elevation gain is over one mile to Pamola and despite the amazing views afforded, it is constant uphill over rocks and boulders.
Once you gain Pamola Peak
, the remaining hurdle is the Knife Edge…another mile along a narrow passage with severe drops on either side (in many places the trail is only a few feet wide --- and with the notorious high winds fairly perilous).
I have escorted several groups of friends along this trail and once we stopped for a break after acquiring Pamola --- and I could tell the gang was getting unnerved just looking at the Knife Edge. I had to immediately urge everybody on because as usual, it really isn’t as awful as it looks, but if we had tarried I’m certain everyone would have bailed.
It is a truly joyous moment when you acquire Baxter Peak (the end of the Appalachian trail if you started in Georgia)…and we descend along the long, but mild, Saddle Trail. This trail circles back to Roaring Brook past the Chimney Pond campground (where there are cabins, but you probably can’t score one if you aren’t a Maine resident). I have never been on this trail without seeing a moose, reinforcing how magnificent this hike is!