|Where:||Baxter State Park, Maine, USA|
|When we hiked:||June 2023|
|Elevation gain:||446 м|
|Route type:||Out & back|
|Address:||Chimney Pond Trail (Coordinates of the parking lot)|
The Chimney Pond Trail hiking trail was after our hiking on Acropole des Draveurs Trail in Charlevoix, Skyline Trail in Nova Scotia, Summit Mount Alban in Gaspésie, Plain of Six Glaciers Trail in Alberta, Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop in Vermont... In short, we've seen quite “a few beauties” before. However, this trail impressed us in a special way. First of all, we were desperate to get on it. Secondly, by its diversity along the trail.
Though the whole trail goes mostly through the forest, but the landscape changes all the time: you climb on the rocks under the murmuring of streams, then you cross these streams on rickety masonry, then you leave the forest to the clearing and find yourself at the foot of the mountains, then you come to a lake...
And at the end, as a reward, a pond surrounded by mountain peaks with snow thawing. And silence... or almost silence: when we came there was a group of three young men. One of them was playing a piper. The acoustics there are amazing! The music sounded magical!
Later we heard the sound of a helicopter flying by. Afterwords we read that it's not uncommon for people to get lost. So, safety is taken seriously at Baxter State Park. We realized this from our experience when we saw a sign before we started the trail inviting us to register. Registration looked like that: we wrote down the time of the start of hiking, the name of one person in the group, how many people are in the group. Later on the way out, we wrote down the end time of the hiking. There was one additional safety-related nuance that we haven't encountered anywhere else so far. When we paid for the park at entry, we were given a ticket. This ticket was then taken away at the exit of the park.
We suggest you take mosquito spray. You will probably need it at the end point.🙂
We need to says a little bit about why we were almost desperate to get to the Chimney Pond Trail. The thing is, this trail is located in Baxter State Park. To go hiking, you have to reserve a spot in the parking lot where the trail starts from. But the whole thing is that the Chimney Pond Trail is part of a 12-hour hike to the peaks of Mt. Katahdin. So, people reserve parking spots and arrive by 7am to make the long trail during the day. On the day (which was Wednesday) that we wanted to go to the Chimney Pond Trail, there were no spots available. But we weren't desperate. We called the park. We were told that there is Baxter State Park Visitor Center at the entrance to the park, where they monitor the situation in real time for availability of parking spaces. We decided to go there with plan B in mind: in the worst case scenario we can go to any other trail. It was nice to see that the Visitor Center is located before you have to pay the entrance fee 😉). We like the user experience like that! We got a happy news that there were available parking spots; and we headed to buy tickets to the park with enthusiasm.
By the way, right after entering the park and taking the direction to Roaring Brook, we spotted a lovely picnic spot near the lake on the left side. It looked very tempting. After hiking we were coming back at dusk - no the best time for the picnic.
Take seriously the tips for hikers. There is no phone service in the park. You can turn your phone off when you enter the park to save battery life. You will only need it in an emergency.
As for how long does it take to complete the trail, we can say that you need minimum 5 hours if you like to enjoy nature and go at your own pleasure, sometimes taking photos. Rule of thumb: it is better to arrive as early as possible for hiking, even if you are not going to the 12-hour trail.
|Where:||Underhill State Park, Vermont, USA|
|When we hiked:||October 2019|
|Elevation gain:||818 м|
|Address:||Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop (Coordinates of the parking lot)|
The Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop is one of the trails we've done that we'd like to do again. This trail is in the shape of a loop, which means you can go clockwise or counterclockwise.
Keep in mind that the parking lot is not very big. When we arrived, there were no more spaces. The park workers were distributing the arriving cars to the curb. We had to walk a kilometer from the car to the start of the trail.
The first reason why we would like to repeat Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop is to take it in the opposite direction. We randomly chose the path from left to right, i.e. clockwise. The path lay at the beginning through the woods, then came out onto an open gentle rocky expanse. We were delighted - you walk a few meters and look around: there is always something new added to the landscape. You climb higher and higher and the view encompasses more and more. It takes your breath away!
Up ahead, at the very tip of the mountain, the silhouettes of people were faintly visible. We thought to ourselves: "Well, no, there's no way we can be there! It's so far away! Most likely those hikers in the distance went to some other extra trail (for those who can't get enough!)". But as we progressed, we saw people getting closer and closer. Until we were at the peak ourselves! But once you're there, you refuse to believe you're on top. Only the 360 degree panorama and the lack of other objects higher up tells us we are at the top. You feel like the king of the mountain! 🙂
Having refreshed ourselves and enjoyed the vast expanse of land, we followed the loop back to the trailhead. We had to descend!!! We mistakenly thought that we would also go down smoothly. Not so. The descent was the steepest!
Then we rejoiced that we always take hiking poles. It was simply our salvation. Don't think that descending is easier. That's a misconception!
The second reason we would like to return is, as you might guess, the scenery. We couldn't stop marveling at the every second change in nature's fall pictures. You definitely won't get bored in this trail!
What we realized when we first started hiking is that the most important thing is to have enough water. At some point you get tired of carrying bottles of water with you. Plus, you have to carry them back. Not heavy, but why? So we decided to end this problem once and for all by buying a combo: