On the week before last, we took a family vacation to Baxter State Park in Maine. Lindsay’s Aunt Jean also joined us, fresh off a New Hampshire hiking trip, with her eyes set to Katahdin. We packed up and took the 6+ hour drive to Baxter State Park without much hiccup…..just one small detail to deal with: Lindsay’s car had mice living in it. For the past week, she’d been trapping and releasing several mice out of her car. Once releasing a mouse at the bottom of the driveway and then another time miles from home (only for the mouse to run between her legs and hop back into her car – as if it had done this plenty of times before). So without a lethal trap around, we brought the live trap with us to Baxter in hopes that we could continue to trap and get the mice out of the car.
We arrived at Baxter late afternoon and headed straight for our cabin at Kidney Pond Campground. We kept an eye out for moose as we traveled along the dirt tote road through the park. Andrew and Lindsay last visited the park 4 years ago (you can read about it in our blog: Doubletop and South of the Pond) and had scoped out the cabins. Kidney Pond Campground offers many cabins, as well as canoe rentals, a common area library, open field for playing games, small sandbox for the littles, and several short hiking trails direct from the campground.
Upon checking in with the Ranger, we found out the mice were abundant and in every cabin. Several traps were in our rooms and one even snapped before we finished eating dinner that first night. We quickly decided that we would need to sacrifice a snap-trap from the cabin to put in our car. Our food wouldn’t be safe anywhere! By the end of our 2 night stay at this campground we managed to trap 4 mice from the cabins and 3 from the car!
The first full day in Baxter, Andrew’s brother Mike and his two sons joined us; they live close by in Surry on the Maine seacoast. We decided to take a short hike to Lily Pad Pond, as Andrew’s guide book research promised one of Alden’s favorite trail features; bog bridges! The clear day turned into some showers but we still enjoyed the hike around Kidney Pond and out to the wetlands at the inlet of Lily Pad Pond. It looked like the perfect place to spot a moose, but none were seen. We found some locked canoes at the end of the trail, which enticed us to want to plan a trip next time for a paddle out into the pond.
The next day Lindsay and Jean hiked up Katahdin (which deserves its’ own blog post: Highest Point in Maine) while Andrew and Alden moved cabins from Kidney Pond to Daicey Pond Campground. They explored the water and found frogs and leeches. Daicey Pond is much more wooded, but has the same amenities as Kidney Pond Campground such as a library, canoe rentals, and cabins (but less mice). Alden even found a friend to play with for a while too; an older boy who’s mini adventures kept Andrew busy trying to keep Alden safe, as they scampered up and down boulders at the ponds edge.
The last morning we took a short hike to Little Niagara Falls. The short spur trail from the campground brought us to the more heavily used Appalachian Trail. At mid-morning we saw many AT hikers. Most looked clean and happy – as we guessed was the result of staying at the Abol Bridge Campground the night before. Little Niagara Falls had some impressive falls and swirling pools of water. Jean took her shoes off and soaked her feet in the cold water, and Alden enjoyed picking different colored rocks out and playing in a small pool.
Since Alden seemed content to play where we were, Andrew took off to check out Big Niagara Falls and Windy Pitch. Upon his return we headed back up the trail to the car, ready for a long car ride back home. This was another great trip in the park and we were already making plans to come back as soon as we can. Baxter State Park holds a special place in our hearts, since no other place we have ever visited in New England compares to the remote and wild feeling while being there.