January 24, 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.
The temperature at Chimney Pond was 37 degrees F. at 7am on Tuesday morning after receiving 0.75" of rain after midnight Monday night. This season, we've recorded 52" of snowfall at Chimney and currently snow depth is 34" on the measuring stick.  The Saddle Trail has been broken out and after cold weather arrives tonight conditions should be firm and crusty over most of the Park.
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 had about 6 to 10" of snow with bony spotsbefore last nights rain and will be fair at best.  The current forecast indicates the next chance for precip is Thursday night/Friday morning.  Let's hope for snow.