Climbed with Peak of the Ridges and North Traveler via the Center Ridge Trail from South Branch. A great hike up this remote and rugged gem of a mountain. We saw not a soul during the entire length of the hike. Like the other peaks in the Traveler group, Traveler's barren and volcanic summit afforded great views of the surrounding lakes and mountains.
The traveler loop is awesome!
Then drop off NW to Howe Brook to avoid lightning storm
I figured I had about a 10-hour "window" of opportunity to climb the Traveler. Heavy rain Thursday, and the "remnants" of Hurricane Ophelia forecast to hit the area on Friday night made a dawn start on Friday morning mandatory. I had 1st attempted the hike in 1995 with my then 11-yr old son. We had made it to the meadow below the "Peak of the Ridges" but were unable to locate the "herd paths" mentioned in the hiking guide. In retrospect, it's probably good we turned around- it would have been too much for an 11-year old! I seriously wanted "dry" rocks this time around with my troublesome knees, and realized a sprained ankle would be more than just unfortunate!
This time, I was hiking solo, in September no less , having retired from science teaching a couple months prior, and I had recently learned that a new "loop" trail had been cut and marked. So from Peak of the Ridges to North Traveler I would encounter the new portion of the trail that hadn't existed ten years ago.
Picking up from the "meadow to nowhere" as we had referred to it in 1995, the new trail was beautifully carved through thick evergreens and nicely marked (blue blazes) and cairned in the sloped rocky sections. In short order I summitted and enjoyed a spectacular 360 degree view. I stayed on top for 45 minutes, seemingly on top of the world. (At one time the Traveler was thought to be the 2nd highest peak in Maine; it IS the highest VOLCANIC mountain in Maine-composed of extrusive igneous "rhyolite", according to the labeled sign on top!)
The trail down from the summit encountered more cut sections- lots of beautiful paper birch- and proceeded through artistically constructed cairns on the ridgeline all the way over to North Traveler. I had reached the summit of North Traveler previously- in 1995- as a separate hike with my son. This time, the entire loop was traversed and was very simply- spectacular! I'd rate this hike among my top ten of all time, surpassing in my opinion anything around close-by Katahdin. And this includes hikes like Paintbrush Canyon in Grand Teton N.P., the North Circle in Glacier N.P, and Electric Peak in Yellowstone N.P.
Oh yeah, if you like solitude and a feeling of true wilderness, this is the hike in Baxter S.P. for you- 10.5 miles, and not one....other....human being!
Blessed are those who live out their dreams!
This was certainly an interesting climb for me. The first 800 vertical feet were straight up! And then the rest was the trail that never ended. This is definitely a BIG mountain. As you near the summit you think you're at the top, but then you crest another ridge and see that there's more above you.
Climbed this with some bushwacking from South Branch Pond. Started by 6 a.m. Climbed the Pinnacle bushwacked to the summit and then began the arduous descent north to the middle Traveler a final descent and ascent of North Traveler where we met a moose in the col. Ascent and descent of North Traveler. Back by 3-4:00 p.m. Probably a 10 mile walk with no company. Great views of the East Branch of the Penobscot.