Whidden Pond and Russell Pond photo's courtesy of my son Alec of Alec Salisbury Photo and Video.
|The Pile of Gear & Food|
|Juley at Whidden Ponds|
From Whidden it is a 2 mile hike up an over a gentle ridge down to the trail junction with the Wassataqouik Stream trail. At this point we could either stay on the Russell Pond trail that goes up and over the side of Russell Mountain or veer right on the Wassataqouik Stream trail which is much flatter, but adds a half-mile to the hike and on its own has some tough muddy / rocky sections. With full packs on, we always choose flat over hills so the Wassataqouik Stream trail is the route we choose. It is a 2.5 mile slog and is the longest and hardest section of the trip.
|@Alec_Salisbury Crossing the Stream|
We then reached the crossing of Wassataqouik Stream which requires a wade of the river. Most of the time this is a piece of cake but during high water periods, the park sometimes has to close this trail because the stream crossing is too dangerous. However at this time of year it is typically not much more than knee high. It does require us to take off our boots and use crocs or sandals but at this point in the hike it feels pretty refreshing to have your feet in the cool mountain water. After drying off our feet and getting our boots back on it is only 1.7 miles to go!
The last section of the hike is very flat for the first 1.3 miles as the trail follows the valley floor next to Turner brook. Then over a small 'ankleknocker' bridge (logs sawed in half placed over a stream or muddy section of the trail) its up an over what is known as "Blisterbuster Hill" and we arrive at Russell Pond! It is a great sight to see after a long hike.
|Russell Pond in the Evening|
As far as activities go, there are lots of side hikes to some very interesting places. This year we made a trip to Wassataqouik Lake and Green Falls. The lake is situated in a valley with sheer cliffs rising on both sides. The water is crystal clear and has this blue/green hue to it. It is visually very stunning.
Green falls is about a 25 foot waterfall over moss covered boulders. The water is ICE cold and refreshing. It is about a 3 mile hike to Green Falls but you can use a day-use canoe on Wassataqouik Lake over the last .5 miles. We tacked on another 6 miles hiking this day. Although we did not have full packs on, we were pretty pooped and took a nap from 4:30 to 6:30 back in the bunkhouse!
One of the main reasons the boyz and I come to the Russell Pond area is to fish for native brook trout. The area holds some great trout ponds. I am going to keep my specific favorite fishing areas to myself but it would not be too hard to figure out if you looked at a map. We did pretty well fishing this year and we were able to have our traditional trout meal. I have been coming to Russell with my father since the early 1980's and it is great to now share this treasure with my wife and sons.
After 4 days and 3 nights it was time to pack up and head out. The hike in took 5 hours but the hike out only took 4 hours 13 minutes. Shorter breaks and lighter packs! It was great to be able to unplug for a few days and spend some time together in God's wilderness.
|@MaineSkiFamily getting ready to hike out. Great trip!|
Here are some other great pictures that Alec took:
|Watching the Stars on the Russell Pond Dock|
|@ISalisbury and Dad Heading Out to Fish on a Quiet Morning|
|An HDR Image of the Katahdin Basin from Whidden Pond|