Friday, April 1, 2011
Ah, finally. I got very lost on my way to Baxter. First, I got turned around at a town that was totally stopped up because of some parade or event getting started. I outsmarted myself by trying to go around on little side streets and apparently missed my turn-off! I also lost about 1/2 hour in that mess. By the time I realized I must've missed, I was way north of where I wanted to be! After another wrong turn or two, and miles and hours, later, I finally did get on the right road. I had to ask someone going by if I was on the right road though - there really wasn't any indication! I had decided to go up to the northern entrance (Matagamon Gate), thinking I would go again on another day and do the southern entrance (Togue Pond Gate). The park's main through road is something like 50 miles end-to end, and about 20 mph the whole way on a very dirty dirt road. In the above photo, you can see a pretty version of the dust in the air left by my truck!
Baxter State Park is an interesting entity. It was set up by huge land and money donations from the apparently super wealthy 1921-24 governor of Maine, Percival Baxter. It's operated by certain designated ME government officials but not by the normal state park folks. Most of it (75%) is strictly controlled as a wildlife preserve, but 14% of it is "Scientific Forest Management Area" where they harvest timber, and 25% of it allows hunting and trapping (sans moose hunting). They try to keep it wild, uncivilized - there are no facilities in the park - no water, no electricity, no trash containers or pick-up, etc. They want the visitors to have a very peaceful, pristine, pure nature experience. So it was a real irony when I got out of my truck, at the trailhead, to the sound of a female ranger-type loudly ranting on and on to her cohort about some unpleasant work experience or project management dispute! Kind of screwed up my personal peaceful experience!