January 23, 2012

Sadly, Baxter Park has lost a friend.  Avid hiker and outdoor writer Brad Viles is gone.  Anyone who knew Brad will remember his always friendly approach with an ear always ready for a story – especially about hiking or camping or any outdoor activity.  Brad’s many stories in the Bangor Daily News are a testament to his interest and experience in hiking, camping and the people who liked the outdoors. Unlike most others, Brad always called to check the factsbefore sending in his article - his objective was always to get it right and to help others enjoy the outdoors.
 In recent years, Brad contributed to the annual Youth Wilderness Leadership Program in Baxter Park organized by the Friends of Baxter State Park.  Brad’s work with these motivated kids in how to journal their experience often surfaced as a highlight in the trip evaluations provided by the participants.  The observations and heartfelt joy found in Brad’s book  Dreaming the Appalachian Trail, A Backpacking Novel,  declares Brad’s love for the natural world, especially as viewed from the campfire, a lean-to, or on the high ridge of a mountain trail.
Happy Trails, Brad.
Chimney Pond has been below zero F. for several nights recently.  Basin Pond is holding 12" of ice.  The Roaring Brook Road and the Chimney Pond Trail are both good for skiing at this time, but the current weather forecast includes rain for Monday night.  Rain in the winter is just plain wrong.  The Saddle Trail has been broken out to the Tableland and waist deep or deeper snow lays at the approach to the Saddle, and Dudley Trails.  Cross country skiing in the Togue Pond area is good.  Skiiers should expect to meet snowmobile traffic on the Park Tote Road.  The Logan Pond road was groomed for snowmobile traffic last night for the first time this year.
Trail conditions into South Branch Pond from Matagamon are fair with a soft snow cover over an icy base.  The trail from South Branch to Russell has about 6 to 10" of snow and is bony in spots.

Baxter Park held a very successful Opening Day of Reservations on Tuesday, January 12.  Deirdre Fleming covered the event for the Portland Press Herald.  You can read Deirdre's great story here: