Baxter State Park – Pogy Backpack


THU – The end for me, but an apt warning

Pogy Notch Trail connects Baxter State Park’s less visited north with its Mount Katahdin-dominated south. Pogy is a relatively flat, low-level trail; its highlights are ponds—Lower and Upper South Branch, Pogy, and finally Russell. I had visited Russell 12 years before, hiking north to it from beneath Katahdin. Hiking south to it now gave me the satisfaction of connecting on foot the distinct worlds of Baxter’s north and south. I don’t think it’s a popular activity, particularly in bug season. I chose this trek to see Baxter’s deep woods and hopefully some of their “charismatic megafauna”. I met a lot of utterly charmless microfauna. I would repeat this hike, but in the fall.

DATE: Wednesday and Thursday, June 13-14
START & FINISH: South Branch Pond Campground, Baxter SP, Maine.
ROUTE: Pogy Notch, Grand Falls, and Wassataquoik Stream trails to Wassataquoik Stream lean-tos; return via Wassataquoik Stream and Pogy Notch trails.
DISTANCE: About 24 miles (13 out, 11 back).
TIME: 8:45 a.m. Wednesday to midday Thursday.
TERRAIN: Mostly level or gently up and down; mostly dry underfoot; two thigh-deep streams to wade at Wassataquoik Stream lean-tos.
MAP: AMC Maine Mountains from the AMC Maine Mountain Guide.

WEATHER: Wed—sunny, warm, humid (70s); Thu morning—rainy and cool (upper 40s).
WILDLIFE: Of the bug variety.
MEALS: On Wednesday, oatmeal for breakfast and freeze-dried beef & veg stew for supper; otherwise, the usual trail rations.

UPS: (1) Making good time through the rain on the return leg. (2) The mountain views from pondsides and riverbanks.
DOWNS: After the first hours, I didn’t really enjoy Wednesday. The bugs were a plague and, when they were not, you knew it wouldn’t last.
KIT: I occasionally made use of a head-net that I packed at home at the last minute. Drawback—too hot to wear when actually hiking.
COMPANY: None at all in 27¼ hours.

6 thoughts on “Baxter State Park – Pogy Backpack

  1. Hi Rob! I just found your blog thanks to a post by Visit CT, via Facebook. Trying to get over my fear of lyme and back to hiking; your posts and photos are great inspiration!

    I’m using 30% deet, but it’s greasy and smelly and can make a long post-hike drive home miserable. Do you take any special precautions against ticks, or have any tips?

    Can’t wait to dig into your blog and map out some new hikes!

    • Hi Lisa, I must admit I’m not as careful as perhaps I should be. I use DEET only when the mosquitoes are pretty bad, and I agree about the bad smell. For ticks, I never hike in shorts and try to check my body for ticks after a hike. I would never want to downplay the risk, but despite spending a lot of time hiking the woods, I haven’t had Lyme in 15 years or more (I had one bout before that, which was treated early with antibiotics). Here is some good advice from the AMC: Hope this helps, and you get back to our great outdoors!

  2. Pingback: Baxter State Park – Two Short Hikes – McWilliams Takes A Hike

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