doubletop mountain, baxter state park

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My last work day is just over a week away. Things are wrapping up quickly, packing is crazy, and last minute Amazon purchases for our trip are trickling in. And meanwhile I’m tackling final projects at my job, trying to tie up loose ends and present a tidy summary of everything I’ve worked on and created over the past three and a half years.

So this week, my manager let me choose a destination location for my last staff meeting with the company. My options were paddling or hiking, so naturally I chose a hike in Baxter State Park, a few hours’ drive from the office.

I chose a trail I hadn’t done before, which was a nice short up and back (3.1 miles from the Nesowadnehunk Campground to the North Peak of Doubletop Mountain) that I hoped would make the trip more inclusive for all my coworkers, while still providing rewards – a nice view at the summit.

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What we didn’t count on? A record spring snowstorm the day before that dumped 3 – 7″ in the region. Add that to the snow and ice that remained from winter on the higher elevation portion of the trail, and you get a bunch of ill prepared foresters in jeans, plus one well prepared athletic junkie outfitted with all the right gear. Though I felt chilled watching him climb through the snow in shorts, he definitely had the right idea.

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Big thanks to my crew for suffering through the wet and cold so I could enjoy a last Baxter hike.

What started as a promising, if slightly overcast day turned into pea soup fog thirty minutes before we reached the summit. While I would have happily awaited clearing conditions, three of the six were so cold and miserable that it would have been rude to keep them waiting longer than a quick lunch and group photo. We were treated to a brief break in the cloud cover as we prepared to descend, as seen in the top photo.

The last time I summited Doubletop Mountain was in the summer of 2011. We approached from the south that trip, while this visit brought us in from the north. On my last hike, I fell asleep in the direct sunshine on the exposed rock face slab, and woke up with a peculiar sunburn. No dice on achieving a sunburn yesterday.

In an amusing twist, ten minutes into our descent, the skies began to clear, and within a few minutes, we again had 100% visibility. A gorgeous afternoon emerged, and while we were traveling the same trail we had climbed up, it was also completely different, as much of the snow was either melting or had melted.

Near the base of the trail, trillium was in bloom, and I saw my first fiddleheads of the season. Freak snowstorm or not, Maine was showing all of her colors yesterday, and it was a gorgeous day to be in the woods. My Altra trail runners, while clearly inadequate for deep snow, were super grippy on the chunky granite slabs, and it was actually a blast wearing them for this hike. Inappropriate, but a blast nonetheless.

One more week, and then I know I will be missing this place fiercely.

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10 thoughts on “doubletop mountain, baxter state park

  1. Yeah, for sure I can imagine that you are having the mixed feelings thing…lovely photos, as usual, tho. Really liked that last sepia-like one…

    1. Not too shabby for an iPhone! Luckily I can always come back, but yes, it’s been a pretty wild place! It’s been great, but I don’t mind leaving.

  2. When it’s raining a lot my father-in-law always likes to say “you know, this could all be snow.” We’ve had a ton of rain this month (seventeen straight days of it!) and I’ve been feeling pretty bitter about it, but this is the perspective that I needed. :) I’m so looking forward to following you along on your trip!

    1. That’s a very good way of looking at it. 17 days of rain! I love rain, but that might get to be a bit much.

      Looking forward to having you follow along — I can’t wait!!

  3. That is absurd! So much snow! And you hiked in leggings. I would be dead. I’m such a wuss about hiking and snow! Grippy shoes are a must–mine are so flat and worn that I’ve been sliding around more than I’d like so far this season. We did climb a mountain a couple of weeks ago under silly flurries and no visibility at the summit. There was ice melting and a fair bit of sliding. But that was nothing compared to your adventure. Glad you got to have one last hurrah! Baxter always wins :)

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