Neither a possible government shutdown or the approach of Hurricane Lee threatening strong winds and rain could keep two adventurous IAT members from joining us at Sandbank Campground in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on October 12-14, 2023. Last year on a 2022 IAT Sponsored Hike up Mars Hill Mountain, my husband, Eric and I asked the hikers who joined us what they might like to do for a sponsored hike this year. Resoundingly they said, “Offer a camping and hiking trip!” Listening to them, we planned a two night/three-day camping/hiking trip in Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument during Indigenous People’s Weekend.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as scheduled, but being flexible, we changed plans based upon weather and what our group wanted to do… Valerie Chaisson and her camper, Little Guy, arrived right before we did on Thursday afternoon. We decided to take a short hike to the Esker/Deasey Trail to check out the water level of the pond and head down the road to Hunt Mountain looking for rattlesnake orchids. We didn’t make it very far; the water had flooded the road! Friday morning, we headed out to Kelloch Mountain hoping for good views of Katahdin which unfortunately was still shrouded in morning fog. However, the leaves seemed brighter against the green of the fir, spruce, pine, and hemlock trees. On the way back to the campsite, we stopped to investigate house-sized boulders off the Loop Road. Very impressive! Eric even tried a bit of caving under one of the rocks!
Christina Perkins along with her dog, Rye, arrived by the time we returned from our short hike. A group decision was made to hike Bernard Mountain. The sun was peeking through, so we ascended the trail hoping for a view of Katahdin, Katahdin Lake, and colorful leaves. We were not disappointed. We enjoyed the view while eating lunch. Around the campfire that evening, many stories were shared including those of another camper from Idaho who was driving Rt. 1 throughout Maine and decided to make a stop at KWWNM to check it out.
Saturday dawned overcast. Valerie decided to head out before the rain arrived! Christina, Rye, Eric and I decided to hike the Esker Trail that parallels the Wassataquoik Stream. It started to rain really hard, but fortunately for us, it let up. On the way, we skirted one stream that was high, passed by artifacts from the lumbering era, and enjoyed lunch at the Esker Campsite.
Upon returning to Sandbank, the decision was made to head home before it rained too hard. Even though we did not have as many people and days of adventure as we anticipated, Eric, Christina, Valerie, and I had a great time camping and hiking. It was decided that we would schedule another IAT Sponsored Camping/Hiking Trip next fall!