Penobscot County Highpoint Trip Report

East Turner Mtn

Date: October 2004
Author: Tramper Al

This trip report is the true account of what transpired that day, to the best of my recollection. As always, if you don't like the way a trip report is composed, you can always go to the HP and write your own.

Spencer has made photos available, most of which have captions, at this site.

I also include a link to a topo view, which may help the reader to better visualize our route, if he/she so wishes. One can also toggle to an aerial photo on that page as well.

A local fellow, Spencer, and I decided to hike out to East Turner from Roaring Brook campground in Baxter State Park. The other approach that I considered was via the camps on Katahdin Lake. For the right price, one can hike in and sleep there, have a fine breakfast, and rent a canoe to travel across the lake to the base of East Turner. Alternately, it might be feasible to portage your own canoe in by trail from the Baxter tote road but I would think that would make for a long day. Ultimately, we chose the route via South Turner because we both love to go to Baxter, we anticipated that the view of sunrise from South Turner would be pretty fine, and because we could not find a report of anyone reaching East Turner this way (at least in recent memory).

We awoke at 4:00 am at Roaring Brook and were on the trail up South Turner just a little after 4:30. With occasional clouds passing over the nearly full moon, we used head lamps most of the way up until we peaked out onto the slide by dawn's light. We made the 2 miles and a good climb in about an hour and a half. Nice pinks and oranges, a fine sunrise from the South Turner summit, and we were quite pleased with the start of the day. Our destination of East Turner lay a mere two or so trailless miles to the east. We had all day, right? No problem.

We started our bushwhack just after sunrise, about 100 yards north of the South Turner summit. The woods here were quite open, and we had some of our easiest bushwhacking of the day. If you can see where the "X" is next to 2592RT, that's pretty much where we were headed. We crossed a couple of nice streams draining down from the South Turner - 2795T col, and then we hit the thick stuff. After some time in tight squeezing saplings, we got out into the most difficult part of the day. Fields of young fir, about 8 to 12 feet high, with tons of logs and brush underfoot. Walking on rotten logs 5 feet off the ground, falling off, climbing up onto next log, etc. -- you know the drill. Our speed slowed to probably less than 0.25 mph, and we began to question whether we would make it all the way to East Turner and back but how do you turn around at 8:00 am?

Eventually we did get out, into more open woods, right around the time we were to turn right a bit, down towards the 2795T - East Turner col and the county line. This is where we started finding moose antlers, 3 total. We also saw some bear scat in there and of course we were often ankle deep in moose signs. Incidentally, we saw no indication of either the county line or the "Boundary Monument" line set down by the old surveyors. We climbed easily through many moose yards with scattered connecting trails, reaching the East Turner (2456T) summit area around 10:45 am. The highest ground is probably 20 feet east of one of the bigger moose yards. High fives and summit pics all around, we had made it. It had taken us over four hours to bushwhack from South Turner and that was all flat or downhill. We had to climb at least 700 feet or so on the return.

After the first col, we stayed higher on the shoulder of 2795T than we had on the way out and this was much better going. We still got caught again in thick stuff coming down into the 2795T - South Turner col and we seemed to find all the tough bushwhacking we could on the climb back up South Turner. So it ended up taking about 4 hours back as well, but I was pretty tired at that point, and not moving very fast. We came out of the scrub about 20 feet from the summit and took in some fine late afternoon views of Katahdin and all surrounding peaks, valleys, and lakes.

The descent by trail was fairly uneventful, though we did find a nice moose feeding out in the center of Sandy Stream Pond. We checked back in on the ranger's clipboard, by now around 3:30 pm, and realized that we were the not only the first but in fact the only group that headed out to East Turner that day.

We spotted an adult black bear crossing the road just outside the park gate - nice. All in all a nice long day in the woods. While Spencer is not a CoHPer (yet), he does enjoy a good challenge. I expect I can convince him to join me for trip to the HP of "The County" sometime soon.