Baxter Winter Traverse 2005

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el Bagr and Shizzmac get organized at McDonalds in Millinocket Our starting point and lodging for the night If you've forgotten anything essential, the store at Matagamon is sure to have it View of Horse Mountain from the East Branch of the Penobscot River Coyote's tail on a picnic table Sled prep at Matagamon Camps el Bagr and Olivia attach the traces to their sleds on a cold morning Coyote tracks along Billfish Brook Sherpakroto starts up the hill toward Matagamon Gate Horse Mountain Spencer - our fearless leader Olivia, el Bagr, Sherpa and Chris rest at the bottom of the first big downhill Heading along the shore of Matagamon Lake Looking across Matagamon from the BSP Gatehouse Man with pack Lunch break at Trout Brook Farm Birches along Trout Brook A beautiful stand of birches Sherpa explains how he fended off a wolverine with his ski pole Sherpa finds a whoopie pie in his sled... ... and loads up for the climb up the South Branch Road View down Trout Brook We arrive at Lower South Branch Pond in a snow squall The snow squall envelops Lower South Branch Pond A view of North Ridge on North Traveler Mountain GO and Spencer fill a dry bag with water in the snow Thin ice at the pond outlet Shizzmac waits with a sled to carry the water back to the cabin Canoes stacked up behind the ranger's cabin A view from the ranger cabin's porch The squall begins to abate The sun peeks out as the snow squall ends The North Ridge reappears as the snow moves down the lake The snow squall moves on to Upper South Branch Pond Eight pairs of skis at South Branch Cabin Sherpa watches a game of backgammon while GO studies the rule book Ployes - a buckwheat pancake that requires no oil to cook I pour out the last of the ployes batter The last ployes A morning view of North Ridge Birches and blue skies A lean-to among the birches on Lower South Branch Pond Spencer and el Bagr take a break as we climb South Branch and Black Cat Mountains Sherpa makes a flawless run Snow covered birch polypore mushrooms Shizzmac and el Bagr at the first viewpoint on South Branch Mountain A view of North Traveler from South Branch Mountain GO and Shizzmac at the viewpoint A brief flat section on the climb up South Branch Mountain Shizzmac and the Traveler in the background Turnbill with Upper South Branch Pond and the Traveler Upper South Branch Pond and the Traveler View of the Travelers, the Turners and Katahdin from Black Cat's summit Close up of the Travelers from Black Cat Close up of Katahdin from Black Cat el Bagr looking towards Katahdin Sherpa reaches Black Cat's summit Turnbill on the summit of Black Cat Spencer takes a photo of me while I take a photo of him Sherpa snaps a picture while Olivia watches GO on the summit of Black Cat The “open glades” on Black Cat Mountain Another view of the Traveler from Black Cat Sherpa makes a run through the “open glades” View of Pinnacle and Center Ridge from Upper South Branch Pond Pinnacle Ridge with the Traveler in the background GO and Spencer on Upper South Branch Pond A view of North Ridge  from lower South Branch Another view from the leantos at South Branch The sun sets on a beautiful clear day at South Branch Moonrise over North Ridge GO sports the latest in eyewear Preparing the communal meal Sherpa attemps to fit a quart of food into a pint sized pot Shizzmac does some binding repairs Spencer and Shizz tighten down a binding The cabin at night Loading up the sleds for another day on the trail Snow devils on Upper South Branch Pond GO, Chris and el Bagr ponder a cold ski across the pond Olivia stops to take a picture Cliffs on Upper South Branch Pond More cliffs The team makes it way downwind on the pond in the blowing snow Interesting lichens on Upper South Branch Pond More lichens And even more lichens Meanwhile, the pond traverse continues Dry Gorge flowage Dry Gorge Brook Old tracks and fallen trees The trail has been groomed by BSP rangers View of Katahdin from the Pogy Pond leanto Spencer helps himself to some leftover pasta from last night's dinner The wind kicks up snow on Pogy Pond and on Katahdin in the background The team leaves Pogy Pond and the Travelers Rock in Russell Pond GO holds a pre-dinner chilli-dog snack Russell Pond cabin chimney and a nearly full moon Shizzmac and Chris relax by the stove More lichens on the rocks in Russell Pond Cloudy morning at Russell Pond Spencer and Sherpa admire their handiwork after cleaning the cabin before leaving Russell Pond and Wassataquoik Stream Trail junction Sherpa makes his way across Wassataquoik Stream GO negotiates his way down into one of the many Tracy Horse Trail gullies... ...and heads up the other side A sketchy stream crossing on the Tracy Horse Trail Lichen on a tree The lumpy and bumpy Tracy Horse Trail Old and new blazes A spruce grouse takes off, leaving it's foot and wing prints in the snow View of Katahdin from Whidden Pond Tracks of a pine marten on Sandy Stream Pond trail Katahdin is barely visible through the snow from Sandy Stream Pond A view of South Turner Mountain from Sandy Stream Pond Sign for the Sandy Stream Pond Trail Trail junction Crossing Roaring Brook Looking down at Roaring Brook el Bagr, Olivia, Chris, Sherpa and Spencer play hearts Spencer, el Bagr and GO on Sandy Stream Pond Moonlight photo on Sandy Stream Pond with South Turner Mountain in the background Spencer links some turns GO goes! Group photo before heading to Abol Bridge Morning prep The ranger's cabin at Roaring Brook A pine marten pays a morning visit Olivia comes over the crest of Windy Pitch Would YOU register to camp with this guy? Spencer relaxes as we wait for the rest of the group Sherpa finally arrives Snowflakes on my hat The medium and extra-large inflatable skiers Getting ready for the final five miles el Bagr carves some turns at the Abol gravel pit A logging truck blows past as we wait for Sherpa and Shizzmac Shizzmac at last! A final meal together at the Millinocket House of Pizza. We smell bad!