This mountain and its west peak stand over the Nesowadnehunk Stream valley just east of the stand alone Doubletop Mountain
. The first thing I remember about this mounain are the big bare areas on its south face. These are landslides that have come down as recently as the 1938 hurricane. I don't think that they have changed much since I first saw them in 1956. This is the last in a series of peaks connected to Katahdin and proceeding west from that mountain. On its backside is a large unvisited spruce flat called the Klondike. The elevation of the "klondike" is 2900 feet and it is shaped like a triangle with OJI at its southwestern vertex. Prior to the 1938 hurricane the shapes of the landslides on OJI spelled out OJI. They have become more nondescript since then. There is a gigantic boulder near its base at the park perimeter road near the now closed north trail. I missed seeing this titanic boulder on my climb. The west peak of OJI is a bushwack adventure. The Owl
to the east is obscured by the intevening Barren Mountain.
Drive north from Boston Mass. to Portland and up I 95 to Bangor and turn north on that road continuing 60 miles to Medway, Maine. at Medway turn west on Maine route 11 and drive through Millinocket Maine getting a last prepared meal at perhaps the McDonalds there. Be sure you have enough bug repellant for the black flies and mosquitos. Head up northwest to the gatehouse for Baxter State Park about 25 miles northwest. You might want to stop at the dike between Millinocket and Ambijejus lake to get some snacks and admire the view of Katahdin
. Continue on the the gate house and pay a day use fee if out of state. Take the left fork of the road northwest past some ponds and abol campsite to Katahdin Stream Campground. Travel a couple of miles west to Foster Field near Nesowadnehunk Stream. The trailhead is on the north side of the road but you might ask the Katahdin Stream ranger for its exact location
All Baxter Park trails are painted a baby blue. Find the trail up the south slide posted on the north side of Foster Field. Walk back into the forest through swampy areas .4 miles to the fork between trails until the ascent starts. Pass through mixed coniferous and deciduous forest ascending to the base of the slide. The slide is composed of large talus and is quite steep. Exit to the left at the top of the slide and tunnel through Krumholz to the open top of OJI. Your distance is 2.7 miles via the north slide or 2.9 miles via the south slide and 2400 feet of ascent. If going on the north slide (trail no longer maintained owing to its danger in descent) at 1.1 miles from Foster Field you can see the giant boulder 45 meters north of the trail. It is 73 feet long and 25 feet tall by 48 feet wide. After your detour to the giant boulder continue on the the first smooth ledges and then up the landslide to the top 6 hours is a common tour de OJI time.
Flora and Fauna
The principal trees are coniferous: White Pine and some Red Pine, Balsam Fir (abies), Red Spruce (picea) Jack Pine scattered and american yew. Deciduous: Sugar Maple, Red Maple and Moose Maple- the only non oriental stripe barked maple, Paper Birch and Yellow Birch(furniture), Beech, Aspens,
Bayberry, Sorbus or Mountain Ash and Black Ash. Diapensia and several endemics including sedges and rhodora and tiny willows are found in these mountains. Flowers include cornus canadiense herbaceous and not a tree, Canadian Lilly and Trillium. Creatures: deer, moose and bear,lynx, bobcat,racoon, fisher, porcupine brook trout, landlocked Salmon. Birds: Gulls, Herons, Biterns, terns, horned and barred owls, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed hawks, coopers hawk, hawk owl grouse and partridge various song birds including the bicknells thrush and the loon.
Here is the weather
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OJI rock westward to Doubletop
Baxter State Park Wildlife Sanctuary
Baxter State Park Wild Life Sanctuary
”The conveyances of land for Baxter state Park to the State(of Maine) made prior to 1955 by Ex-governor Baxter contain a provision that the area shall be kept in a “natural wild state and as a sanctuary for wild beasts and birds” and that trapping and hunting but not fishing are prohibited. In fact 90,000 acres surrounding the Katahdin region was made a game preserve on May 1, 1922(Revised Statutes, Chapter 38, section 90). This litany of statutes continues so that by 1949 the Maine Legislature revised the boundaries of the Katahdin Wild Life Sanctuary to make it coextensive with the then State-owned land. In the early 1960’s the Sanctuary boundaries were marked by large red metal signs and blue blazes.
In 1981, A joint session of the Legislature commemorated the 1931 park stating:
Whereas, on March 3, 1931, the former Governor Percival P. Baxter deeded to the State of Maine 5960 acres of land, which included Mount Katahdin….
Whereas, in the 31 years that followed, Governor Baxter acquired an additional
195, 058 acres which were given to the people of Maine….
Whereas, during his lifetime he donated over $1,500,000 to maintain this land and, on his death, he left the bulk of his estate, a trust of over $10,000,000 to forever assist in maintaining the park, and to assure that it shall forever be kept in the natural wild state;” and whereas, the acquisition and deeding to the State of over 200,00 acres was an achievement unparalleled by any individual in the United States:...
- Surprise cliff on north slide
This cliff can give a nasty surpise when descending the north slide. Probably the reason that the north slide trail is no longer maintained