Monday, August 19, 2013

A South Turner Warm-Up

On Monday of Baxter Bash the weather was looking good and the whole group decided that it was the time to go for Katahdin.  The plan was to go up Helon Taylor and over the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak, and then if things went well also hit Hamlin.  We hadn't hiked in nearly a month and I didn't feel like my legs were up to that hike without some warm-up first (and I also didn't know that I wanted to do the two-peak hike vs. just doing Hamlin this year as we'd planned).  We decided to sleep in and do South Turner instead.  It's only two miles each way and the first 0.7 is the flat walk along Sandy Stream Pond to the outlet that we'd done the evening before.  That leaves just 1.3 miles from the South Turner junction to the summit and just 1600' of elevation gain - how hard could it be?

As it turns out, the first few tenths from the junction are pretty flat too (although there's quite a lot of rock hopping on some big boulders), so all of that elevation gain is in about a mile.  It's really steep and it feels it!  That trail really kicked my butt and I kept thinking what I would have felt like on Katahdin.  Definitely the right choice.  The other reason I was glad to be there was that the wind was howling all morning at probably 30mph or higher.  We were nearly getting knocked off our feet on the summit of South Turner and  I couldn't imagine being on the Knife Edge in that.  We heard from the rest of the group later in the day just how tough it was.  A couple came back after hitting the summit of Pamola and being knocked over too many times by the wind.  The rest went across Baxter and Hamlin and down Hamlin Ridge - a really long tough day.  They were all tired but very happy when they got back to camp that night.

Our hike turned out the be really nice and just what we needed.  The views were beautiful and we got a bonus on the way back, seeing the lady moose that seen the night before taking an afternoon break in Sandy Stream Pond.  South Turner is really a nice 'little' mountain and like so many of the peaks in Baxter it has an open summit with 360 degree views.  Not much to dislike there.  Pretty much a perfect first day of Baxter Bash.

The pictures tell the story from here...

Just 1.3 - piece of cake!

Lots of this

Getting close to treeline

Start of the slide

First views to Katahdin

Sliding up

Almost on top

Views from South Turner summit

Katahdin Lake below

Nice spot for lunch

Sandy Stream Pond and Katahdin


Looks like there could have been a lot of fines

The Travelers in the distance

Our group is up there somewhere

Going exploring

Windy up here!

Nat and I on South Turner

Heading down


Looking back at South Turner over Sandy Stream Pond

1 comment:

  1. Beatiful pics, Mark! I was hankering for a good Ramblings report. Thanks! :)