Hamlin and Baxter Peaks

February 7 – 11, Baxter State Park

After the 20 hour day we slept for a few hours and skied 11 miles back to the car. We were supposed to ski another 5 miles to the bunkhouse at Togue Pond but we’re tired and it’s already 5pm when we get to the car. We decide to sleep in my small car with our legs in the trunk. It got really cold and when we wake up the windows are all covered in frost on the inside. Packing up in the small car the next morning is a challenge especially being so cold. We’re finally ready to go again at 7 am. The skiing is much easier now since there has been some fresh snow on the roads. We ski 13 miles to the Roaring Brook ranger station where we leave the sled and skis. It’s now a steep hike up to the Chimney Pond cabin. The trail is packed by snow mobiles so luckily we can micro spike it up. The cabin has 10 bunks and 5 guys already there have warmed up it up nicely by building a fire in the stove.

The next day my face is swollen from the weird allergic reaction I get from differences in temperatures and humidity. A nice guy gives me some meds and I’m out most of the day. GL climbs Hamlin peak with the guys. It snows the whole day and all the direct trails to Baxter Peak are dangerously loaded with snow. Not wanting to risk an avalanche we decide to go up over the Hamlin ridge again the next day. GL will summit Hamlin three times in two days, haha. We have a beautiful morning with sweet views until just below Hamlin Peak where we enter cloud cover. It instantly gets much colder and I get to put my goggles on for the first time. Brr. Visibility is poor and gets worse towards the summit. We knew this could happen and come prepared with GPS and Inreach. It’s really cool to be on the top in the white out with nobody else around. On the way down it’s a challenge to stay on course. I veer a bit off to the left since I’m afraid to fall of the cliff on the right. GL checks his GPS and sees a trail to our left so we pick that up. It feels a bit different than what we have come up (less wind) and when we see a white blaze we realize we veered off to the Appalachian trail. Oops! We soon navigate towards a connecter trail and make our way to the saddle trail. We probably lost 45 minutes here but oh well we’re back on track. We’re now able to see cairns again and easily make it back to Hamlin. I do have to ask GL to dig my bomber mitts out because my hands are getting cold. I would never be able to do this cold weather stuff by myself. Mitts make it so difficult to grip things. He feeds me a warmed up snickers bar and we’re on our way again. I’m relieved we’ll be going down with day light left since there are some rocky sections. We have fun butt sliding down some of the steeper sections near tree line. Although I do break my trekking pole somehow. What an adventure!

The next day we walk and ski back to the car. The skiing with the new snow is really fun, I guess I don’t hate skiing after all. In total I skied 56 miles and hiked 21 1/2 miles this week. More skiing than I’ve probably done in my entire life.

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