We were sad to leave Canada behind, but easing back into the US via Baxter State Park was a brilliant idea. Initially, our daughter had considered climbing Mount Katadin here, but when we arrived at South Branch Pond, on the northern end of the park, we didn’t want to leave. Katadin was still two hours to the south, and this gorgeous place is only a day’s drive from home. We’ll come back someday and stay closer to the trailhead for that. Meanwhile, we just stayed put and enjoyed right where we were!
This lovely spot changes all day with its light and reflections. There are lots of snakes and huge rabbits. The loon pair on the lake have two babies that are fun to watch being fed, and the hills surrounding the pond act as an acoustical echo chamber for their fabulous calls. The birch trees were picturesque, abundant along the shore, and the weather was ideal. It was blissful, and we rested deeply.
We canoed and swam, and the water is the clearest I’ve seen since the Tetons. The canoes, at a $1 per hour, were the best deal of the trip. We canoed past a beaver lodge and the water was clear enough to see all the underwater infrastructure of it. We lazed about, floating on the canoe, playing gleefully bantering games of categories; Laura beat me at countries, types of boats, and musical instruments. I only won on kinds of vegetables, but I congratulated myself on a job well done as a homeschooling mother, as I was repeatedly trounced by my kid.
The campground has no potable water, only pit toilets, no trash removal (carry it all out yourself), with strict leave-no-trace requirements of straining dishwater, etc. It is the only place on our trip where there is no cell service or wifi. The ranger welcomed us back to the 1930’s, and that was fine with us. The pristine environment, reflected these policies, and we were more than happy to comply.
Baxter, whom the park is named after, was governor or Maine, and when he was unsuccessful at getting this land set aside through political means, in the 1930’s during the height of the depression he bought up 209,000 acres and gave it to the state along with funds for running the park. It was his stipulations, about leaving the area “unimproved” that we are still enjoying today. Bless that man for his foresight and tenacity.
There are tons of photos in this post, more than a few of you may want, but this place made my soul sing, and I want all these images here to reflect back on. I was in love with this place and want to paint it from every angle. The ever-changing light was a fascination for me. It was a sanctuary to worship in, and I was devout about my communion. I hope to be back.