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Backpacker Magazine – September 2010

Rip & Go: Horse Mountain to Traveler Mountain - Baxter State Park, ME

Reach great granite heights on Katahdin's next-door neighbor.

by: Text and Mapping by Christopher Keene

Little Knife Edge (Tim Seaver)
Little Knife Edge (Tim Seaver)
Gregory Serrac 45 (Courtesy Photo)
Gregory Serrac 45 (Courtesy Photo)
Waterfall at mile two (Tim Seaver)
Waterfall at mile two (Tim Seaver)
Traveler Mountain (Tim Seaver)
Traveler Mountain (Tim Seaver)

trip iconTAKE IT WITH YOU
Download a printable version of this entire trip right here.
Key Gear
Stable Pack

Whether tromping up 2,200 feet over two miles on Peak-of-the-Ridge’s loose talus, or tiptoeing across Little Knife Edge, you need a weekend pack that holds everything without swinging around like an empty horse trailer on a light truck. Gregory’s climbing-inspired Serrac 45 holds enough gear for a couple of nights, has an ergonomic hipbelt for all-day comfort, and its light-but-stiff suspension keeps the weight evenly distributed. A top-to-bottom zipper offers easy access to all your gear, and compression straps secure large and small loads alike to enhance stability even more. $160; 3 lbs. 6 oz.; gregorypacks.com

See This
Virgin Red Spruce

Apart from Katahdin, the park’s only stand of virgin red spruce is on Traveler. See it at the end of a three-mile (one-way) trek on the Pogy Notch and Howe Brook Trails. The route follows a stream so clear it seems invisible, and leads to a 20-foot cascade (pictured) at mile two. At the head of these waters grows a stand of red spruce dating back more than 275 years. These are the sole survivors of logging and fires that deforested this region in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Locals Know
At 3,541 feet, Traveler Mountain doesn’t even rank in the top 20 highest peaks in Maine. But it leads another category, albeit obscure: It’s the highest volcanic peak in New England. About 400 million years ago, Traveler blew its cone in an eruption comparable to Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The remnant hulk, clearly visible due east of South Branch Mountain at mile 12.4, is still enormous—enough so that trappers on the East Branch Penobscot River thought the distant mountain was moving with them, hence the name Traveler Mountain. The peak’s rocky ridge wasn’t revealed until 1902, when the Great Wassataquoik Fire consumed much of what would become Baxter State Park—even the topsoil.




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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

BSPDCR
Jul 04, 2011

As Mr. Keene states, this a 3 day, 2 night trip. Even in 3 days, many find this to be quite challenging.

BSP visitors have been mistakenly planning this as a 2 day 1 night trip. Most if not all of those that do leave very frustrated without completing their objective.

Otherwise, this is a good description of a less traveled part of Baxter.

BSPDCR
Jul 04, 2011

As Mr. Keene states, this a 3 day, 2 night trip. Even in 3 days, many find this to be quite challenging.

BSP visitors have been mistakenly planning this as a 2 day 1 night trip. Most if not all of those that do leave very frustrated without completing their objective.

Otherwise, this is a good description of a less traveled part of Baxter.

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