Sunday, December 20, 2020
Start: Baxter State Park winter parking, Abol Bridge, Golden Road
End: Daicey Pond Campground, Cabin #7 – Loon Lodge
Elevation gain: 692′
After getting up at home at 4am this morning, I was driving north by 4:30am. I made it the 6.5 hours to the winter parking lot by 11:30am, after two bathroom and gasoline stops on the way. I had no trouble on the drive in; Golden Road was completely clear and dry as a bone. The parking area was a flat, plowed section with a thin layer of snow and ice. My 4 door hatchback handled it easily.
I packed up the rest of my backpack, strapped my snowshoes to the back, threw on my microspikes for good measure, and headed out by 11:45am. I hiked the 6.2 miles into Daicey Pond in just under 3 hours, which included a 10 minute chat with a Rhode Island guy, Mike, who was heading back to his car with his sled after turning around due to blow-downs and narrow trail.
Given his equipment and lack of understanding of what he was endeavoring to do (he had MREs and 4 rolls of TP on his sled. 4!), I was glad he was heading back. Mike told me a group of 4 had passed him (Rebecca and 3 others), and to let them know he was making progress. He was eager to give away anything I might want, and he ended up thrusting an almost full 12-pack box of beer into my arms. I took the two low ABV ones, thanked him, and gave him the rest back. In retrospect, I should have taken the 12-pack and given the rest to the other 6 folks in my party. But oh well!
I found my way to my cabin, right by the woodshed and a nicely maintained privy. The #7 cabin is cozy, with just one single open room, two chairs, a dresser, and a ‘closet.’ There was already some wood in the cabin. I dropped my pack, used the privy (which was very clean with lots of toilet paper), and grabbed some more wood from the shed. Then I went in search of cabin 10, where everyone else was staying.
They had the stove roaring and the cabin was warm and cozy. I borrowed their hatchet and one of the guys who’d had a lot of coffee came back with me to help me out. We brought in another load of wood, and he chopped up a bunch of kindling and started up the fire. We chatted for a bit and then he headed back, and I stayed to unpack and babysit the wood stove until it got hot enough. I kept an eye on it until it was going strong and then I headed back to #10 to figure out water. They had a gravity filter set up, with a collapsible water jug on the table. I filled up my 2L Platypus, chatted for a bit, and then headed back to my cabin to check on the stove and start dinner.
I was delighted to find my cabin was cozy and warm. I started dinner rehydrating, filled up my water bottles for tomorrow, and then went back to #10 one more time to get 2 more liters of water for hot cocoa and evening water, and to chat with Matt about setting up the wood stove for overnight and in the morning. Then I headed back for my cabin, to eat dinner and relax before going to sleep early, since we’ll be heading out to summit Katahdin at 5am tomorrow.