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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    What is wrong with going to Boston and then Gorham?
    The OP said he did that once and had to spend the night in Boston - an expensive or uncomfortable proposition, depending on if you want to spend $250 on a hotel room or sit up all night in the bus station.

    The least expensive accommodations I've found in Boston is the Youth Hostel (about a 15 minute walk from South Station) for $80 a night. I stayed there once so I could catch the 6 AM train out of town. I've also camped under a highway ramp near South station to avoid paying for a room.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    What is wrong with going to Boston and then Gorham?
    There is nothing "wrong" with going all the way back to Boston, spending the night at a hotel, and then all the way back to Gorham. But I have done it before, and since I speak from experience, I do not want to waste 2 days to do what can be done in one day. Specifically, if I can get someone to shuttle me the last 84 miles from Augusta to Gorham, the total time would be about 10 hours. Compare that to over 30 hours (plus a hotel stay in Boston) if I take the bus to Boston and another bus to Gorham. In fact, I would even consider looking for a shuttle back to Gorham from Bangor or even Millinocket. It might cost me a little more but it would be worth it to me.

  3. #23

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    For commercial services, this is probably who you want to talk to. I haven't used them but have heard of many who have used them successfully and they are dependable.

    http://www.trailangelshikerservices.com/shuttle.html. Their pricing shows 2016, not sure if its typo but gas prices have gone up

    Note the distance in miles to Portland is very close to the miles to get to Augusta (90 miles from the town line in Gorham to Portland as I used to drive it all the time for work to catch flights). I do the Gorham to Portland run frequently but its on my schedule. Based on the rates for Portland Jetport looks to be $300. Note they shuttle all the way to Millinocket for $460. (not sure which BSP office they refer to as the office is in Millinocket). Its a day long out and back for them as I do it once or twice a year. Obviously the more folks the less each pay.

    There are folks who "drive for gas" that do it under the table and you may get lucky finding one but odds are you are trading off reliability and potential liability if they get in an accident.

    The strange thing is I usually go back and forth from Gorham to Millinocket twice a year and always offer to give someone a ride from BSP to Millinocket when I am heading home yet in 30 plus years I have never seen anyone looking for a ride. 90 percent of the folks in the park are heading south on I 95 and most will pick up a thruhiker and usually give them a ride and meal for free, (the trade off is the thruhiker will need to "sing for his supper" as he will be expected to regale the drivers of his 5 month trip ) . Logistically RT 2 is the east west highway through central Maine from Gorham NH , Augusta is south of RT 2. The AT shuttlers usually drive RT 2 to Farmington or Skowhegan and then head north to trail crossings . The logical place to meet a shuttle is in Newport where RT2 goes west while I95 goes SE. There is also a "shortcut" driving time wise where folks cut over to I95 in Norrigewock to Fairfield (near Waterville) via RT 139. The distance is longer but it gets me and others to the Interstate quicker where 80 MPH beats 55 mph.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Agreed. There is this magical thing called Google Maps Directions

    It will show You the fastest way back to Gorham, NH :-)
    Iím very familiar with Google Map Directions, but it doesnít show ANY public transportation options from Medway to Boston or from Boston to Gorham I looked it up before I posted just to see if anything had changed since I did this trip 12 years ago.

    Using a combination of public transportation from Medway to Augusta and a shuttle from Augusta, I could reasonably expect to be in Gorham by 5-6 pm.

    Total trip time: 8-10 hours. Total cost: $30 Bus + $ Shuttle

    If anyone is interested, hereís what it takes for public transportation from Medway to Boston to Gorham:

    Cyr Bus Line
    Depart Medway 9:30 am
    Arrive Bangor 10:50 am ($12)

    Concord Coach Line
    Depart Bangor 1 pm
    Arrive Boston 5:25 pm ($46)

    ***Spend the night in Boston ($?)***

    Depart Boston 3:40 pm (the one and only bus to Gorham)
    Arrive Gorham 8:30 pm ($42)

    Total trip time: 35 hours. Total cost: At least $100

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There are folks who "drive for gas" that do it under the table and you may get lucky finding one but odds are you are trading off reliability and potential liability if they get in an accident.

    The strange thing is I usually go back and forth from Gorham to Millinocket twice a year and always offer to give someone a ride from BSP to Millinocket when I am heading home yet in 30 plus years I have never seen anyone looking for a ride. 90 percent of the folks in the park are heading south on I 95 and most will pick up a thruhiker and usually give them a ride and meal for free, (the trade off is the thruhiker will need to "sing for his supper" as he will be expected to regale the drivers of his 5 month trip ) . Logistically RT 2 is the east west highway through central Maine from Gorham NH , Augusta is south of RT 2. The AT shuttlers usually drive RT 2 to Farmington or Skowhegan and then head north to trail crossings . The logical place to meet a shuttle is in Newport where RT2 goes west while I95 goes SE. There is also a "shortcut" driving time wise where folks cut over to I95 in Norrigewock to Fairfield (near Waterville) via RT 139. The distance is longer but it gets me and others to the Interstate quicker where 80 MPH beats 55 mph.
    Great information. I hadn't thought about the liability aspect of the "drive for gas" shuttle services, and I didn't realize it was so easy to catch a ride south on I-95. I ended up taking a bus from Medway to Boston one year, and the next year from Boston to Gorham. Never going to do that again. Unfortunately, I have had to promise my wife that I would not hitch rides anymore - she doesn't understand the AT hiking culture. :-)

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Renting a car might be the best option. Not sure where you can drop it off around here, but you could probably get close.
    Wait a minute... I initially didn't pay much attention to your suggestion, but then I gave it another look and WOW... I think this might be the best solution of all. I can take the bus to Bangor and get a one-way Enterprise Rental Car, drive to Gorham and drop it off there - $145 for the car. I don't think I'll even worry about looking for a shuttle service. THANK YOU... GREAT IDEA!

  7. #27

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    ok. now that we are thinking outside of the box I'd be interested if you write an email and get a response from Katahdin Air Services :-) https://www.katahdinair.com/contact.html

    I was pleasantly surprised of the relatively low prices to fly to remote Maine islands. It would be interesting to see if you can hitch a flight ride for the 150 miles from Millinocket to Gorham :-)
    Let me go

  8. #28

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    And now that getting a rental car out of Bangor is on my mind, do you think it would be smarter to park my car in an RV lot in Bangor instead of Gorham? I would then start my trip by taking a rental car from Bangor to Gorham, and when I'm finished at Katahdin I could use public transportation to get back to my car in Bangor. I should state for the record that at 59 years old, I'm not in anywhere close to the trail shape I was in when I did a thru-hike in 2002. I know that starting in Gorham is just about the worst place for an old, somewhat-out-of-shape geezer to be starting a month-long hike, but I plan to take it fairly slow and easy. Nevertheless, I know that it is possible that at some point my body and spirit will say "enough", and I will want to bail out and head back home to the flatlands of Kansas. It seems like it might be easier to find rides/shuttles back to Bangor than to Gorham the farther into the hike I go. What are your thoughts?

  9. #29

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    Fly the "White Knuckle Express"! That's a very interesting idea... If I make it to Katahdin I will give them a call just out of curiosity to see if their schedule and price works for me. I know I can afford it, but most of the time I'm too frugal to splurge on luxuries for myself.

  10. #30

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    You may want to talk to Rattle River Hostel in Shelburne and do a couple of days of slackpacking to kick the trip off. The closest trailhead to Gorham is in Shelburne (next to the hostel). Many thruhikers come off the trail in "Gorham" at Pinkham Notch of via the Carter Moriah trail. Rattle River Hostel can shuttle you for a slackpack for a day or two to get you trail legs back and reduce the amount of gear you need to hump over the Mahoosucs. I sectioned the AT in mostly 1 week sections and found that getting in a day or so of slackpacking before throwing the back pack on makes a big difference later in the week. The local hostels in Andover Maine also offers a 3 day slackpack option which is nice way to recover if you get beat up in the Mahoosucs.

    If you do need or want to bail, the cell coverage and options are far better on the western end of your trip than the eastern half.

  11. #31
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    I don't think slackpacking between RT 2 and Grafton Notch is too practical. I guess going up to Gentian pond via the AT and then back down the Austin Brook trail back to the North Road would work. All the other road access the AT side trails are via the Success pond loop road and that's not real practical.

    However, I did slack pack with a woman thru-hiker from Grafton Notch all the way to Rangeley using a hostel in Andover. Between the extended hostel stay, the shuttles and eating all of our meals in town, my half of the cost ran over $200 to do 50 miles of trail! But, not having to carry a full pack over those miles was kind of worth it.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #32

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    Slackpackers get a 5 minute ride to Peabody Brook Trail on North Road in Shelburne and connect up to the AT at Dream Lake then head south via the AT to Mt Hayes and down the Centennial trail (still the AT) and walk down the North road and back to the hostel (which is on the AT). This is "no brainer" its cuts one day of food out and the hiker gets day with day pack.


    I agree The next slackpack is more extreme with a lot of blue blazing. Get shuttled to the Success Trailhead on Success Pond Road, then up Success trail to the AT and then walk south via the AT back to Peabody Brook trail to North road. Cell coverage is good so give the hostel a call a on pick up time as its about a 5 minute drive.

    The same thing can be done using Success Trail and the Wright trail of the Notch trail but that gets expensive, best idea is skip the second day slackpack and get shuttled to Peabody Brook trail in the AM and start backpacking with one days less food in the pack.

    The hostels in Andover used to be quite aggressive at marketing the slack pack from Grafton Notch but Its a lot more practical to take them up on the one day slack pack from East B hill road South Arm Road, that allows the ascent of Hall and the somewhat infamous Moody Mtn steep ascents and descents with a day pack. I think they do a van pickup at South Arm in the afternoon. Next day get shuttled to South Arm road with a backpack and after the amazingly steep ascent up from the road to the shoulder of Mt Blue head north.

  13. #33

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    Thanks for the good info Peakbagger and Slo-go'en. I'm going to make a note of your suggestions, and I probably will do some slackpacking. By the way, after all of my mental masturbation trying to figure out the best transportation options of getting back to my car in Gorham from Katahdin, I decided to blow up the whole idea of driving from Kansas City. That would have been a total of 6 long, hard, boring days of driving (that hurts my knees and back) versus a total of 3 travel days if I just fly to Boston and take that stinking bus to Gorham. It also turns out to be considerably less expensive to fly, even with an overnight hotel stay in Boston. If I decide to bail out earlier than expected, Southwest Air doesn't charge a change fee for the tickets like all the other airlines do, and I would get home a lot faster than driving. I am dreading the bus rides to/from Boston, but I was encouraged by your suggestion that I might be able to find a safe ride all the way back from Katahdin to Boston, so that may turn out to be Plan A. I may even rent a car to get to Gorham from Boston - about $150 more than taking the bus, but probably worth it!

  14. #34

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    I work out of my home in Gorham and on occasion work in downtown Boston. I actually drive down to Concord NH in the AM and catch the hourly Concord Trailways commuter bus into south station in Boston rather than take my life into my hands driving through and under Boston. Its not a "stinking bus" they keep them quite clean and lot of business folks use it. The daily bus to and from Gorham to Boston and back is the same company and they have the reputation of keeping their buses clean and maintained. The trade off is they run RT16 and do multiple stops so it is slow. That is why I drive to Concord via I 93 to cut out the stops and then catch the shuttle the rest of the way plus I avoid having to find a parking space in Boston.

    Note that renting a car and driving through Boston is "combat driving mixed with stopped traffic" most of the daylight hours. Folks not accustomed to it will end up with white knuckles for a couple of hours until they clear the 495 ring. Portland has a large airport with all the rental car lines. Much easier and faster to get in an out of. I expect you can set up a one way from Portland to the Enterprise rental plan in Gorham NH just as easily and the drive up north is quite pleasant and is 2 to 3 hours quicker depending on traffic in Boston. Be careful, you will see signs for Gorham in the Portland area, they refer to Gorham MAINE not Gorham NH. Easiest route to gorham NH is go to Gorham Maine and pick up RT 25 west to RT 113 north, the RT 113 to RT 302 in Fryeburg Maine. Go west on RT 302 in Fryeburg to RT 16 in North Conway NH, then RT 16 north to Gorham NH. Follow RT 16 though the town of Gorham and Enterprise is in the back of the lot at the big car dealer, Berlin City Ford. The Hostel in Shelburne is a few miles east of Gorham on RT 2, its long walk so most folks hitch. They run a shuttle into town for their guests a couple of times a day.

    Manchester NH is also a large airport and most likely has Enterprise, its about an hour longer than coming up from Portland. Between the two you usually can find a good deal on flights although I favor Portland.

  15. #35

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    Even more good info. I should have chosen my adjectives more carefully... I did not mean to imply "stinking bus" as in smelly and unclean (it's definitely not), but rather that the thought of the long, slow, boring, multi-stop trip is extremely displeasing to my sensibilities, as in "Badges! We don't need no stinking badges!"

    Although I did consider flying to/from Manchester or Portland, the flight schedules to/from KC and Boston worked out much better - I got non-stop flights with much more convenient arrival and departure times. I lived in DC for many years, and I've driven a lot in all the big U.S. cities, including Boston, so I'm mentally prepared for the traffic conditions if I choose to get a rental car. My flight into Boston arrives around noon, so if I got a rental car out of Boston, I would be getting close to Gorham before the bus even leaves Boston at 3:40 pm. I have a few more days to decide. I'm also planning to stay at The Barn Hostel in Gorham, slackpack over 2 days from Pinkham Notch to U.S. 2 and stay again at The Barn. Is there any compelling reason to do that slackpack from the Rattle River Hostel instead?

  16. #36

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    No real functional difference from the Barn or the Rattle River hostel although I expect many folks have opinions on their favorite. I have never used their services as I live locally. The Barn was run under a marginal owner at one point and upset some folks but I have not heard any issues with the current owner who has had it for a few years. Rattle River had a change of ownership in the last year or so and the new owner is highly motivated to build up the business to year round as the prior owner only ran it seasonally. They offer roughly the same services. The Barn is the oldest hiker hostel in the area while Rattle River is the newest. The Barn is in town a short walk across the street to a convenience store, a block away from the library, the town common and several restaurants within 10 minute walk. Rattle River hostel is right on the AT but remote from town there are zero services in Shelburne except the town dump. If you do the first day slackpack you end up at Rattle River hostel, you would need to hitch or walk a few extra miles into Gorham to the Barn at the end of the day or give them a call. Both hostels are busy and most likely will not drop everything to pick you up and drop you off, they will schedule you into their normal shuttles so you may have to wait some period of time to get picked up. As far as I am aware there is no Uber or Lyft drivers in the area or taxis. If you look like a hiker along RT 2 in Shelburne the hitch is usually quick into town unless you have a dog or are in large group.

  17. #37
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    I've hitched from Rattle River to Gorham. Walked maybe 10 minutes. I've also stopped and picked up hikers and given them rides into Gorham if I'm traveling RT 2 or 16. Locals are very aware of the hiking community and will pick up hikers and give them rides.

  18. #38
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    If you fly into Logan, you should be able to time the flight so that you can catch the 3:40 PM Berlin bus out of Logan. Sure it's some 5 hours, but that's about what it takes to drive anyway. You might be able to shave an hour off of the bus time if your willing to go well over speed limit on the highway and don't take any potty breaks. The stops for about 15 minutes at Concord where 95% of the passengers get off. There are only a hand full of additional stops and those are mostly drivebys.

    I've taken this bus from Boston to Gorham many times over the last 15 years of doing section hiking.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    For commercial services, this is probably who you want to talk to. I haven't used them but have heard of many who have used them successfully and they are dependable.

    http://www.trailangelshikerservices.com/shuttle.html.
    I used this shuttle service a couple of years ago, and they were great.
    JMT - 2013

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