Maine Trip 1 Pamola 4919 6/21/99
7.8 miles 3439 Elevation gain
Kevin and Judy
After a six hour drive to Millinocket we set up camp at Spring Valley and pretty much had it to ourselves. A little rain over night and a deflated air mattress made it a rough night, but the morning was beautiful, so we decided to head out. On the road into the park we were the first car to stop as a mother black bear led her cubs across the road. One reluctant cub refused to cross and the mother who had crossed with the first cub had to return across the road for the second. The first decided this was a signal by mother to follow and returned across the road with her. Finally, all three crossed together and dissapeared into the woods. In fine city style the traffic behind us honked at the hold up. You must get into the park early as they only let in so many hikers a day, but have some patience for crying out loud! Figuring I would miss seeing the bears if I reached in the back for the camera, I decided to just watch instead. We stop in and register at the cabin at Roaring Brook Campground, and also so I can check out the model of the trail system inside. Our plan is to take the Helon (pronounced Heelon) Taylor Trail to the summit of Pamola, across the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak and then down the Saddle Trail to Chimney Pond and out the Chimney Pond Trail. We start up The Helon Taylor Trail and soon realize its going to be a hot one, and the blackflies are biting big time. There is much scrambling over boulders out in the hot sun. Judy is carrying a backpack for the first time and I am still carrying my camera bag! I still havent smartened up. Finally, after a very hot and buggy climb with much cursing and gnashing of teeth, we came to the summit of Pamola to find it infested with people, blackflies, and some kind of huge hornet which seemed to be nesting in the trailsign on the summit. After about one minute of flies and huge buzzing hornets we decided to move on, but upon reaching the chimney climb just below the summit leading to the knife edge, Jude decided she had had enough. Dissapointed but determined to not let the situation get any worse we chose a the Dudley Trail down, as we didnt want to retrace our way out. this trail proved very steep and probably much worse than if we had returned down the Helon Taylor Trail, which would have been the shortest route out. Climbing down above the Chimney Pond Campground Cabins, they looked so tiny below us we thought we would never reach them. Our legs were tired and wobbly at the bottom near the pond, where we rested and were rewarded with a tremendous view of the South Basin, Chimney Pond complete with moose, and the peaks and Knife Edge of Kahtahdin above us. The landscape here is as wild and beautiful as it gets in New England. For those not interested in climbing the peaks in Baxter, the hike into Chimney Pond on the Chimney Pond Trail would still offer an excellent wilderness experience. Taking this trail back out proved easy and we were rewarded again with a deer sighting right on the trail close enough to touch, as the pictures show. It was a great day even though we did not accomplish our goals of the Knife Edge and Baxter Peak. Pamola dosent count as a 4000 footer. The extreme heat for that time of year, the hellish insects and the overall difficulty of the climb beat us this time, but I at least will be back, it may take more convincing to get Jude there. The next day on the way back down to the seacoast we sidetracked to the Gulf of Hagas. It was extremely hot and buggy again and that combined with being worn out from Kahtahdin made it hard to enjoy.