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Thread: Hiking In Maine

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking In Maine

    This August the Appalachian Trail Conference is being hosted in Waterville, Maine. Although I live many, many hours away here in KY, I am planning on attending. I have already set time off from work and saving money for this awesome trip.


    This will be a first for me-hiking in New England. I have seen plenty of YouTube videos and trail descriptions. My hiking has been 90% southern Appalachians. So, should be brand new geography and terrain. What can I expect? I have seen plenty of YouTube vids and trail descriptions. The first thing that jumps out at me is the rockiness of the terrain. For instance, the trails going to Mt Katahdin look to be almost exclusively hand over hand boulder scrambling. But the views from Katahdin and the other 4,000 and up mountains looks to be almost something that one would see out west. They look just fantastic.


    Also, this will be the first time I've attended an ATC conference. A friend of mine went to the 2015 in VA, and had a blast. Seven days of hiking, or seminars/classes. Has anyone ever attended a conference? One of the hikes I really hope they include is Baxter. This will be a very rare chance for me to hike Katahdin, and I'm hoping that the ATC includes this in their itinerary. I'm not sure this will happen, as Baxter looks to be a long trek from Waterville, ME.

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    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    most of New England is rockier than the Southern appalachians. We had these glaciers we are still recovering from. Valleys are steeper and the climbs are longer. Although the Southern Appalachians are taller, the climbs, for the most part are gentler.

    if you want to hike anywher in BSP, plan on reserving campsites and spend a few days there. Campsites are limited.

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    Maine is the most difficult and also the most scenic state on the AT. In my humble opinion. Very few flat or easy stretches. Highlights:

    Mahoosuc Notch, a couple days north of Gorham.

    Bigelow Mtn., Avery Peak, awesome views over Flagstaff Lake. Awesome ridgeline walk.

    Kennebec River. For most of us (and officially) that is crossed via canoe.

    Lots of beautiful lakes, ponds, rivers and fords. Most of the summits have views, and they are grand.

    Katahdin.

    I could go on but then they wouldn't be "highlights" any more. No bad hiking in Maine.

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    You'll be lucky to climb Katahdin in a day trip. Best to reserve a shelter for a night or two so you can do that. Go to BSP's web site. People start making reservations in January. BSP is liimited-access.

    If you simply "show up" you will probably get into the park, but you will have to make the round trip from trailhead to summit and back as a day hike, and be out of the park by evening. That turns out to be a tall order.

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    Waterville, eh? That's a good hour or more from any AT access point in Maine. If they are running day hikes out of there, shuttle time will seriously cut into the day.

    But there is fairly direct access to the north and south ends of the Bigello's. Try going up to Avery peak via the Fire warden's trail. The highlight is the steep, 1/2 mile long rock staircase.

    If your coming all this way, you should arrange for some time after the seminar to do a section. The section from Grafton Notch (Rt26) to Rangely (RT17) is a really nice one, but is a good work out, as is most of Maine.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    The southern part of Maine is extremely rugged! The hundred mile wilderness is actually pretty easy. Enjoy and have a great trip!

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    I doubt MATC will be setting up a Katahdin hike. The park makes it difficult for group use. If you want to go to the park read up on the day use parking pass or making reservations at the park. I day hike Katahdin every year or so and someday's I day hike via different routes a couple of days in a row. If you are in good hiking shape you can do it as a long day hike. There are commercial campgrounds outside the park but you need a day use parking reservation if you want to climb Katahdin. A major hint is that there isn't just Mt Katahdin in the Park, check out the Traveler Loop and be prepared to get blown away with far less crowds. There are some easy sections of the AT in Maine but they are bookended by some real hilly sections. Long Falls dam road to Caratunk and the section of the 100 mile wilderness north of White Cap are both relatively flat with some incredible remote ponds and lakes.

    While you are in Maine you do need to visit Acadia despite the crowds.

    By the Way, I read that this is the last truly national ATC conference, after this one they will go with regional events.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I doubt MATC will be setting up a Katahdin hike. The park makes it difficult for group use. If you want to go to the park read up on the day use parking pass or making reservations at the park. I day hike Katahdin every year or so and someday's I day hike via different routes a couple of days in a row. If you are in good hiking shape you can do it as a long day hike. There are commercial campgrounds outside the park but you need a day use parking reservation if you want to climb Katahdin. A major hint is that there isn't just Mt Katahdin in the Park, check out the Traveler Loop and be prepared to get blown away with far less crowds. There are some easy sections of the AT in Maine but they are bookended by some real hilly sections. Long Falls dam road to Caratunk and the section of the 100 mile wilderness north of White Cap are both relatively flat with some incredible remote ponds and lakes.

    While you are in Maine you do need to visit Acadia despite the crowds.

    By the Way, I read that this is the last truly national ATC conference, after this one they will go with regional events.

    I think this is the last ATC conference, or so I've heard from the grapevine.


    I figured that Katahdin would be a longshot to end up on the schedule-too much of being a logistical headache. So, I've considered taking a day or so out of the ATC time to venture up that way.

    I am hoping, however, that Mount Bigelow will be an offered hike.

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    What can you expect? To cut your average daily mileage by half or more. Happy to share photos and speak with you about my recent section hikes there if you'd like.
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    I've never hiked in Maine, but some of the elevation profiles look tough!
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  11. #11

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    Yup. the profile are steeper and the trail can be far rockier. For folks familiar with Dragons tooth in VA, there are many trail sections that are quite similar. On the other hand once you get the climb or the descent out of the way there are some sections with miles of mostly level walking through mature softwood and hardwood stands. Dont let it scare you away just plan accordingly.

    An ATC conference is a large event and realistically a college is a good match for a non profit event. Its relatively centrally located in Maine. I have day hiked many sections of trail in Maine, the drive to and from the mountain is part of the fun.

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    Although I'm not on the committee planning hikes I am sure that there will be plenty of hikes with varying conditions. There is a great trail less than two miles from Colby for family hikes and the Kennebec Highlands have great trails with only a half hour drive required. I suspect that there will be many AT hikes as well although they require a very early start in the day. The conference should allow for lots of hikes and other adventures, showing visitors why we are so fortunate to live in this area. Again, I'm not sure of what is planned but day trips to the great bike riding in Acadia are easy as well as trips to the foodie capital of the northeast in Portland or the great shopping in Freeport home to L.L.Bean are possible. Some of us will be building a privy on the campus (with the lid screwed down) so be sure and stop to say hi to us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    Although I'm not on the committee planning hikes I am sure that there will be plenty of hikes with varying conditions. There is a great trail less than two miles from Colby for family hikes and the Kennebec Highlands have great trails with only a half hour drive required. I suspect that there will be many AT hikes as well although they require a very early start in the day. The conference should allow for lots of hikes and other adventures, showing visitors why we are so fortunate to live in this area. Again, I'm not sure of what is planned but day trips to the great bike riding in Acadia are easy as well as trips to the foodie capital of the northeast in Portland or the great shopping in Freeport home to L.L.Bean are possible. Some of us will be building a privy on the campus (with the lid screwed down) so be sure and stop to say hi to us.
    Sure will! I am really excited to be attending the ATC in Maine. Any idea when the hike schedule will be announced?

  14. #14

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    It is very tough, but it is also extremely good hiking. Get some experience before you go to Maine. The toughness is no reason to avoid it. You can do it.

  15. #15

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    I grew up in Virginia myself and found it to be a completely different world up there. The climbs get steeper, and rather than just a steeper incline its because a lot of the times you'll be climbing up/down/over boulders but the views are spectacular. Like said above it's like something you would see out west, but definitely has its individuality as well. Be prepared for roots in the low elevation areas. Katahdin is difficult forsure but so worth it, it's an epic hike.
    Someone mentioned the view of Flagstaff Lake from Avery Peak.. that was my favorite view of the whole trail
    - Young Blood | AT2015 | PCT2016 | CDT2017

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungBloodOnTrail View Post
    I grew up in Virginia myself and found it to be a completely different world up there. The climbs get steeper, and rather than just a steeper incline its because a lot of the times you'll be climbing up/down/over boulders but the views are spectacular. Like said above it's like something you would see out west, but definitely has its individuality as well. Be prepared for roots in the low elevation areas. Katahdin is difficult forsure but so worth it, it's an epic hike.
    Someone mentioned the view of Flagstaff Lake from Avery Peak.. that was my favorite view of the whole trail
    Flagstaff Lake pic from Avery is my background pic for my phone. Just some light wispy clouds in an otherwise blue sky.

    IMG_0060.JPG
    Last edited by egilbe; 12-10-2016 at 06:21.

  17. #17

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    Hard to go wrong with the mountains on or along the AT from Rangeley to Long Falls dam road. Its worth booking a couple of days for in this area for a dayhike up Abraham and a dayhike up Bigelow. Both have great above treeline views and some classic steep sections plus zero development.

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    The "trail" on Katahdin in contrast with a section ~ 15 mi. south of Monson.


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    I remember that spot on Katahdin; I was intimidated completely and already exhausted -- but the view was worth it!
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    You'll be lucky to climb Katahdin in a day trip. Best to reserve a shelter for a night or two so you can do that. Go to BSP's web site. People start making reservations in January. BSP is liimited-access.

    If you simply "show up" you will probably get into the park, but you will have to make the round trip from trailhead to summit and back as a day hike, and be out of the park by evening. That turns out to be a tall order.
    lots of people do this daily in the summer - check the weather, get to the gate a half hour before opening time - not that big of a deal

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