Posted by: Sand Squiggles -- Richard Modlin's Blog | October 9, 2011



The Nesowadnehunk Stream Going South

Rivulets of rainwater that stream down the windows create slithering, distorted images of the birch and fir trees, shoreline, bay and the distant horizon outside.  Bleakness and black-green-gray monochromaticity prevail.  That’s what it’s all about in northern Maine. From the Downeast coast to the Canadian border water and rock, sphagnum and reindeer moss, conifers, and deciduous trees with trunks wrapped in peeling bark typify this environment; but water is the most important characteristic.

Besides the ocean that bathes the magnificent, spectacular rocky Downeast coastline, there is a patchwork of natural and manmade lakes, bogs, beaver ponds, and the tributaries that connect them strewn across the interior.  These are quiet, picturesque places where the call of the loon echoes in the evening.

But it’s the streams, rivulets and rivers that are the most sensational.  They whisper, babble, and roar.  Their flow meanders, ripples, runs and falls in colors of black, amber, and clear; the latter, if viewed from another angle, reflecting the sky.  In some places these watery paths and roadways cascade in anger, spouting routs of foam and mist.

The Nesowadnehunk Stream near, but above Little Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, ME

A short distance (about a quarter mile) from the cabin at Daicey Pond Campground (DPC) in Baxter State Park, ME, flows the Nesowadnehunk Stream.  The stream flows south, through Baxter along the western side of Katahdin, from the about ten miles north to park’s southern border, where it pours into the Nesowadnehunk Deadwater area, a region of connecting marshes, ponds and bogs.  This region eventually forms the headwaters of the Penobscot River. 

In the state park, the Appalachian Trail (AT) comes in contact with the Nesowadnehunk waterway just north of DPC, follows it southeast to the Penobscot’s headwaters and turns south.  After about three tenths of a mile the AT makes a hard right, crosses the Penobscot at Abol Bridge Campground and continues southwest out of Baxter and toward Springer Mountain, GA.

To discover the essence, history and wildness of Baxter’s endless forest environment and, view the tumultuous nature a stream falling down a mountain side, the first morning my camping buddies, Pierre and Pat, and my wife, Marian, and I hiked south on the AT for little over a mile to Toll Bridge and Little Niagara.  The trail was easy, only a few ascents and descents, boulders to climb over, mud and slippery logs, and exposed ankle twisting roots.  Mushroom, ferns, alder bushes, sprouting balsams, asters, mosses and sphagnum, and lichen covered limbs and rocks littered the resin, musty smelling forest floor.  The stream gurgled somewhere beyond, hidden by the mass of trees.  But as we neared our destination the Nesowadnehuk began to roar. 

An Avatar at Rest

Ahead I saw an AT trail marker.   It pointed to the left at a junction with another trail that went to the right.  Pierre motioned for us to go right. 

This short trail ended on the sandy bank where the Nesowadnehunk, after crashing through and over a driftwood-strewn barrier, churned past as if it were late meeting its deadline with the Penobscot.  During the lumbering heydays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a bridge or dam once crossed this portion of the stream.  Remnants of hewn timbers and rusting steel cables lay exposed along the shore.  I wondered whether or not lumberjacks and river drivers had to pay a toll if they wanted to cross.

The Nesowadnehunk Stream flowing over the reminants of the Toll Bridge

The Nesowadnehunk Stream approaching Little Niagara Falls

Not far ahead was the cataract named Little Niagara Falls.  Here the Nesowadnehunk rampaged between and over boulders, and cascaded down about thirty feet in foamy, churning vociferousness.  The roar of the stream was so loud we had to shout to be heard, so we sprawled out on the granite precipice, enjoyed the view, and ate our trail-mix.  Later this afternoon we planned to drive north for more spectacular views of the Nesowadnehunk.  

Precipice of Little Niagara Fall

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© Copyright, Richard Modlin 2011


  1. Terrific post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!

  2. The serenity of the park is wonderful. I could stare at the Avatar at rest photo all day. I can just imagine how relaxing it sounds to hear the water cascading and roaring over the rocks and remnants.

  3. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

  4. Nice post. I learn something more difficult on completely different blogs everyday. It will at all times be stimulating to read content material from other writers and practice a bit something from their store. I?d choose to make use of some with the content on my weblog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a hyperlink on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  5. For sure, we need to do that again. Marian’s still looking for a moose.

  6. Hi Richard
    Looks like your memories of the park are about the same as mine…what a great place to relax. Hopefully we can do it again and spot a moose next time.

  7. nice photos, the sound of the loon is a very nice thing

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