Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Monday, September 19, 2011

THANK YOU GOVERNOR BAXTER

Maine Governor Percival Baxter left a great gift to the state and country….Baxter State Park. His initial gift of 6,000 acres has blossomed to over 200,000 acres of beautiful Maine wilderness. Governor Baxter pushed for such a park throughout his political career in state government. With a lack of support from other congressionals, he decided to spend some of his fortune (earned from the sardine cannery business) to purchase Mt. Katahdin and surrounding lands.
Mt. Katahdin.  The clouds cleared late afternoon for a beautiful view of the mountain.
The star of the park is Mt. Katahdin – an awesome mountain rising through the trees and into the sky; a cathedral built by God to reflect the power, beauty, and awe that nature is. Flanked by age-old trees, granite boulders, and flowing streams, this mountain attracts all kinds. Mt. Katahdin is the terminus (or beginning, depending on how you look at things) of the Appalachian Trail. The trail stretches 2,178 miles from Georgia to Maine and crosses some of the most beautiful lands in this country.
A hike along the Appalachian Trail leading up to Mt. Katahdin.  One of the greatest
things about the park is that there are very few visitors - only 14,000 per year. Often
times we hiked and did not encounter anyone else. 
"Little Niagara" - a short hike that affords great views.
"Big Niagara" falls in the park.  Despite the attraction of this area there are few people.
"Big Niagara" flowing fast with the rush of high water.  Hurricane Irene
gave us spectacular views of the falls.

Abol Pond Trail leads hikers through a
dense birch forest.  We were there just as leaves began
 their Fall change 
Katahdin was named by the Penobscot Indians and means “Greatest Mountain.” We had hoped to see the mountain and the entire splendor that it shadows. Our hopes were fulfilled and we saw so much more. Climbing the beastly Katahdin was not in our plans as it takes 10-12 hours and is a serious mountain “hike” at 5,267 feet. (The mountain has claimed 19 lives since 1963.) Instead our common sense and legs  directed us through various other trails in the park. All of which were spectacular and unique. Some trails led us through dense forest while others guided us to waterfalls, rushing rapids, birch groves, and along cool mountain lakes.
Many trails have primitive
wooden bridge crossing water features.
Age-old trees growing around
even older granite boulders.
The park is a treasure for those who appreciate nature and its solitude. The roads are not paved and services are limited. Governor Baxter wanted it that way. His dream was to preserve a true wilderness. The park is funded through an endowment he left and gate admissions. Since there are no state or federal funds, the
park is run the way he intended it to be – “that it be kept forever wild.”

Growing up I have gained an appreciation for wildlife. This park reaffirms the need to preserve the fragile ecosystem that defines life on this planet - life which includes our  own. Our desire to conquer, alter, consume, and exploit will be our own demise, and worse yet, that of other species which we are entrusted to preserve.

Thank you Governor Baxter for your forethought, appreciation of nature, and gift to all of us.
The "Library" at Daicey Pond.
They really did have books in the library!
Cabins for rent at Daicey Pond.
After our hike, we enjoyed the rocking chairs on the library's back porch.
The canoes (in the foreground) are for rent...just drop a dollar in the coffee can and bring it back in an hour. 
Paddling around Abol Pond.  No moose sighting but a beautiful morning.

Keep an eye out for trail markers - some are hard to follow.
High water from Tropical Storm Irene made this crossing a challenge.  We finally
gave in and got our feet wet. 
Fall foliage is beautiful, especially for the maple and birch trees.
Still no moose sighting but a beautiful pond.
The cool damp forest floor is ideal for mushrooms.
Reindeer moss.
Hiking the Hunt Trail.  This is part of the Appalachian Trail that leads to the
top of Mount Katahdin (the terminus of the trail).
Hiking trail through an evergreen forest.

1 comment:

  1. What a really beautiful place. The pictures are so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing

    ReplyDelete

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