July 5, 2016

FSAR SAR Duty in Baxter State Park, July 1-5, 2016

Each year Franklin Search & Rescue provides SAR coverage in Baxter State Park on 2-3 different weekends.  Park rangers and staff are grateful that MASAR teams are in the park on weekends to support rescue or search efforts when they arise. SAR team members are ‘on duty’ from 2-10 p.m. each day as this is when the bulk of the incidents occur in the park.

‘Baxter weekends’ are a great time to train, hike, eat and explore together as a team.  

Mt. Katahdin from our campsite on Togue Pond (Photo: Melissa)

6 FSAR team members provided Search & Rescue Duty for a total of 4 days this weekend!  

Within 2 hours of arriving on Friday, Skip, Mit and John were sent on a mission to check in with 2 separate injured hikers on the Chimney Trail.  We did not return to the Togue Pond crew cabin until after 11:30 p.m!

Saturday morning Mit and John hiked the new Abol Trail sign up the mountain.

The Abol Trail has been closed for a few (2-3?) years due to unstable conditions on the slide.  BSP has MCCC crews constructing a new section of trail that bypass the most unstable part of Abol slide. The new (longer) trail opened the day before we arrived!  This trail is beautifully constructed, with (for now) soft footing, switch-backs and some great overlooks to the Hunt Trail boulder ridge to the West. 

If you love the steep boulder scramble at the top of the old Abol trail, you are in luck, the new trail cuts back to the east to join the original trail near the top. 

We completed our mission with a few lag bolts on the sign post at Thoreau Springs.  The wind was really howling at this point and the rain became more steady.

70 mph. winds and steady rain did not dampen our resolve to summit!

It was not until we crested the Saddle Trail and began our descent, that we begin to get breaks in clouds (and rain). Here, Chimney Pond can be seen with sunny terrain beyond. Katahdin makes it's own weather, once we got off the mountain, it was sunny down below! We made it back to camp before 9 p.m.

We had a drying party the next morning, everything was soaked!

(photo: Melissa)

Jimmy rescued the utility rope on the water tower!

(photo: Melissa) 
Melissa, Jimmy and Mit visited Ledge Falls (looking south to Doubletop Mtn.) and the Nesowadnehunk Campground because we had never visited this part of the park.  An important part of SAR duty is to become familiar with as many trails and campground locations as possible. 

The weekend food was outstanding! Bill grilled portabella mushrooms with feta and tomato, Melissa brought a pasta bake, Jimmy made stir-fry and Skip grilled marinated chicken and made potato salad. OMG!

Oh but Bill is not done!, Grilled trout (caught earlier that day).

Not to be outdone, Skip rounded the meal out with fresh strawberry shortcake, mmmmm

One group explored the Nature Trail loop at Roaring Brook with guide, Bill.  They also visited Sandy Stream Pond and saw a cow and calf moose grazing in the pond! (I'll insert photo when someone sends it to me!)

On his way out of the park, Mit hiked the new OJI trail.

Doubletop from OJI

It was windy most days during this duty. 

Most team members pitched tents on the pond. 

John purifies water on the trail. 

View from the top of the Abol slide.