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February 2003 Winter Gear

Powder Hungry? Hike These Snowshoe Trails

Bust out of winter doldrums on one of these stellar snowshoe routes.

Maine

Katahdin Stream

Baxter State Park

Baxter marks the end of the road for northbound Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers, but by the time serious snow starts flying, most of them have gone home, leaving the park’s trails and roads free for winter enthusiasts. This remote wilderness can be hard to access in the summer and even harder in winter. But it’s an ice-rimmed haven for two large mammals: the moose and the woolly fleeced snowshoer. Both enjoy open views and easy walking across Baxter’s plentiful frozen marshes. Snowshoers slide in from Millinocket, then trek north along the main road or jump over to the AT at the bridge over Abol Pond, just north of the Togue Pond Gate. The snow routes through the pond-studded forests can be tough and the temperatures treacherous, so park managers enforce strict winter regulations, including a minimum party size of four people.

Guides: Winter Trails Maine: The Best Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails, by Marty Basch ($14.95). USGS topo Abol Pond (888-ASK-USGS;

backpacker.com/mapstore; $6.95).

Contact: Baxter State Park, (207) 723-5140; www.katahdinoutdoors.com/bsp.

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