July 4, 2019
This would at once be one of the best and one of the worst hikes of my life up to this point for one simple reason: no-see-ums, a family of flies that gets right in your face and can literally make you want to jump off the mountain.
John and I stayed at Roaring Brook Campground and started on the Helon Taylor Trail for the most direct route to Pamola Peak via the exposed Keep Ridge.
Picking our way through scrub and over boulders, we got glimpses of what lay before us: the Knife Edge.
It’s 1.1 miles from Pamola Peak to Baxter Peak over a serrated ridge with a 2,000′ drop into South Basin. This is way more extreme than any knife edge in the whites of NH. There’s a really tricky spot where you drop right before Chimney Top. You really have to pay attention to what you’re doing…
From the summit of Baxter we took the Saddle Trail over open tableland, then the Northwest Basin Trail to the Hamlin Ridge Trail. The views are amazing.
I wish I could have enjoyed the rest of the hike more, but at this point we had been dealing with those pesky no-see-ums all day, and they seemed to get worse once we hit the scrub on the Hamlin Ridge Trail; our bug spray did nothing to them. Eventually I put on insect netting, but without a wide-brimmed hat, it didn’t really help. The hike was beautiful, though, and I would love to go back… With a wide-brimmed hat, of course.
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