Saturday, August 25, 2012

Doubletop and a CoeSoBro Loop: Two days at Nesowadnehunk (BSP) 8/22-23/12

Day 1: Doubletop (North Peak 3489 ft., South Peak 3455 ft.)

I left Portland under sunny skies at about 6:20 in the morning, destination, Baxter. After a stopover in Newport for breakfast with a good friend, I was in the park by 11:30, headed north on the park tote road at 20 miles per. Nesowadnehunk bound!. Impressive views of what I was about to climb, towered above me as I wound my way along the road, glimpsing it rising above the road as I came around corners. I checked into my site, a nice little lean-to set off in the bushes, then headed past the ranger station, and up the trail.

The Doubletop Mountain Trail starts off innocuous enough, pretty woods, and a smooth, soft trail. This persists, with only a couple rocky sections, until about a mile in, you reach Doubletop Brook, which is where the fun begins.

Doubletop Brook

The trail becomes rocky, and full of roots as you climb away from the brook, and it went on like this for what felt like quite some time. Lack of decent sleep, the 5+ hour drive, and the heat of the day took their toll on this section, and I felt like I was crawling up the mountain at times. The reprieve came, however briefly, as the trail leveled out for a bit, with a gravely footbed. It then continued steeply to the summit.

Old sign, after the first steep section

Steeps on Doubletop Mountain Trail

At the summit, I was greeted with spectacular views in all directions. Across the Nesowadnehunk to the Brothers, Coe, and OJI, over to Barren, The Owl, Katahdin, and the Traveler off in the distance. Equally impressive were the views to the South and West.

The Brothers from North Peak

Coe and OJI (front), Barren and The Owl (middle), Hamlin, Pamola, Baxter (back)

Looking South down the Nesowadnehunk

West view

The Traveler in the distance

Looking down from South Peak

After going out and back to the South Peak, I lounged around on North Peak for a while, chatting with a couple from New York. Once I had my fill, I worked my way uneventfully back down the trail.

I loaded up some wood into the car, and drove over to my lean-to, started a fire, cooked dinner after a fashion, and was ready to sleep before the light was out of the sky... that's unusual for sure. My only company were rabbits and chipmunks, the neighbors at the nearby sites were quiet. Tomorrow will be challenging, as back to back hiking days aren't something I usually experience.

It's just a rabbit...

A sliver of moon

Day 2: Mt. Coe (3795 ft.), South Brother (3970 ft.)

Alarm went off, I went back to sleep. I eventually got up at about 6:30. Thought ahead and made "iced" coffee (a relative term when camping, see: cold coffee), and had a cold breakfast, which I ate in the Marston Trail parking lot. Part of a trail crew arrived while I was eating, and headed up to do some work on the Mt. Coe Trail, I'd run into them later..

Doubletop, a nice breakfast view for sure
I set off up the Marston Trail under bright blue skies, gusty winds, and a chill in the air that would linger all day. The goals for the day included 3 peaks, Mt. Coe, South Brother, and North Brother. Stretching out my legs felt good, but they remained sore and protesting for a good part of the day. Don't underestimate anything in Baxter.

Nice rock work on Marston Trail
After being passed by several straggling members of the trail crew, I turned onto Mt. Coe Trail. The climb up to the junction took it out of me for some reason, but I was able to pick up the pace a bit, as the grades were mostly moderate. Views started to open up behind me as I popped out into a gravely area, nearing the base of the slide. Most of the crew was at the base of the slide, starting their brushing, the corridor should be much improved now. I never did see the sign for the OJI Link, I'm sure its there. Next came the slide!

View from near the base of the slide

Coe Slide

Coe Slide

Coe Slide
This was, to date, the least terrifying slide climb that I've done. The rocks, with the exception of the black lichen covered ones (which I only found near the base), were dry and grippy, and what seeps there were, were few and far between. I found myself wishing there was more of it as soon as I reached the top, so I lingered a while, before diving back into the trees.

Top of the slide
Presently, I came across the other two members of the crew, brushing out the trail above the slide, they weren't thrilled at the thought of going down the slide after they were done. A few moments later, I popped out on the bare summit of Coe. The views were tremendous, and I set myself up out of the wind, and took it in.


Slide down into the Klondike

The Owl and Barren nestled up against Katahdin

Lenticular clouds forming over Katahdin

Fir waves on the Brothers

Lenticulars over Katahdin
I watched the spectacle for a while, the wind buffeting the scrubby trees, the lenticular clouds forming over Katahdin. A truly special piece of time. Shouldering the pack, I made my way off the summit, and back into the woods. The Mt. Coe Trail seems to descend nearly all the way to the spur going up South Brother, and only starts climbing within a couple tenths of the spur. That led me (rightly) to believe that the spur trail would be steep. I wasn't disappointed, as the trail was basically a jumble of boulders. I topped out on the flat summit of South Brother, the wind started to knock me around a bit, and I couldn't find a decent place to get out of the wind.

Mt. Coe Trail leaving Mt. Coe

Mt. Coe Trail

South Brother

Coe from South Brother

North Brother from South Brother

Northwest Basin from South Brother
So I retreated down the boulders back to Mt. Coe Trail. By that point, my body was no longer a willing participant, and complained of being under extreme duress. I decided to skip North Brother, but I'll be back. Descending from the col went well, steep at times, and there were several viewpoints, and small pond along the way. The clouds had started to roll in while I was on my descent, and it was cloudy by the time I reached the trailhead.

Along Marston Trail

Along Marston Trail

Doubletop from Marston Trail

South Brother from Marston Trail

At one end of the pond
Seeing as it was early in the afternoon, I drove up the road to Ledge Falls, made myself some proper lunch, and hung out on the rocks, watching people sliding down the natural waterslides carved into the rock. No sooner did I get back to the car after lunch and pictures, that it started to rain. I then made my way back to Nesowadnehunk, and hung out in the lean-to reading, enjoying the soft sounds of the rain.

Ledge Falls

Ledge Falls

Ledge Falls

Ledge Falls

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