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  1. #1
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    Default Section Hike - Rangeley to Monson

    I am planning a section hike from Rangeley to Monson. I would love to slackpack as many days as possible. Which roads are accessible, are the any side trails( like Safford Brook Trail) that could be used to slackpack, which sections can I cover more miles, and where are the major rock scrambles? Any information on this section would be appreciated.

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    I can't think of any place to slack pack between Rangeley and Stratton. You can slack from Stratton to Flagstaff lake over the Bigelows. No need to slack between Flagstaff and Kennebec. Its flat. There are places to slack between Caratunk and Monson, but its not really necessary.

  3. #3

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    When are you hiking? I'll be slackpacking Rain Man and his crew from Caratunk to Monson the first five days of Sept. You'd be welcome to join the throng.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Road runner View Post
    I am planning a section hike from Rangeley to Monson. I would love to slackpack as many days as possible. Which roads are accessible, are the any side trails( like Safford Brook Trail) that could be used to slackpack, which sections can I cover more miles, and where are the major rock scrambles? Any information on this section would be appreciated.
    slackpack the bigelows if thats your thing. for sure. in retrospect i had wished i had.

    from the summit of saddleback to stratton is, to me, a killer. some people will talk about how it isnt that bad. sure, there are harder hikes, but it isnt easy. and actually, i didnt have to go up the rangeley side of saddle back, but i could see how even though maybe not as steep or rugged it could get long and tedious fairly easily.

    the rest... tough to slackpack. ive heard of people slacking to some degree using caribou valley road but really you're out in no man's land for a lot of those areas.

    i have no specific ideas in mind but north of the kennebec you start to get into some possibly slackable areas again. i remember crossing a lot of roads. at times. but then also stretches without.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    When are you hiking? I'll be slackpacking Rain Man and his crew from Caratunk to Monson the first five days of Sept. You'd be welcome to join the throng.
    I haven't decided on a date yet, but I can't get off work that week. Thanks

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    When are you hiking? I'll be slackpacking Rain Man and his crew from Caratunk to Monson the first five days of Sept. You'd be welcome to join the throng.
    I don't see how your going to slack pack on that section. Have you looked at a map? It maybe possible to shave a few miles off each end, but your on 4WD trails to get there.

    It's possible to slack over the Bigelows, but that's one killer of a day. You don't want that as your first day.

    Basically, you have to plan on slogging through the mud, tripping on the roots and slipping off the rocks with a full load through there. This area is almost as remote as the 100 mile wilderness. Actually, maybe more so. It's just not quite so far between towns.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #7

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    Folks do slackpack this section but that makes for long days. You will need two cars and be willing to do a lot of driving and car spotting. Starting at Rt 4 going north

    Slack from RT 4 up and climb up Saddleback, hike down to the base lodge, this is short day. Get your rest you will need it. This is a long drive, best idea is leave a car at the base lodge and then drive to Barnjum and hike south back to the Saddleback lodge. There is an old railroad bed that turns into a road that heads to Barnjum where someone can place a car. There is a logging road network in this area that get closer to the trail but the roads may be gated and only maintained during active logging. Plenty of spots to car camp in this area.

    Next day leave a car at Barnjum, then drive to the Caribou Valley Road. Hike back to Barnjum up over Sugarloaf and Spaulding down to Orbeton Stream and out to Barnjum. Move the car back to Caribou Valley Road and car camp along the road or at the unofficial campsites near the road crossing. Next morning drive to RT 27 and hike up over the Crockers.

    Bigelow is more of a challenge. There is a lot extra hiking to break it into two days but using the firewardens trail will do it . Ideally haul an overnight pack and camp at the Horns Pond. Leave the car at RT 27 and drive over to Long Falls Dam road then hike back over Bigelow stopping at either Horns Pond or the firewardens site just past Avery Peak. Note that the drive to Long Falls Dam road via paved road is quite far, you can save a lot of mileage but taking the Carriage Road (if its open) it is dirt a logging road that runs from the village of Carrabasset over to Flagstaff lake.

    I have done most of these variations, 4WD is typically not required but high ground clearance and an up to date Delorme Gazeteer and very good road navigation skills is needed as you will be looking for unsigned obscure local roads (expecially in the Barnjum area). A car navigation system or Google maps is not an acceptable substitute as cell coverage is slim to none and typical car nav databases are woefully out of date and inaccurate especially for rural roads



    Now spot a ca

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Bigelow is more of a challenge.
    start at one end early in the morning and hike to the other end, probably finishing up close to dark.

    to me, this is easier then throwing in sidetrails and trying to drivemiles down unpaved roads. doing that is when slackpacking, to me, starts to not make any sense.

  9. #9
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    I don't think slackpacking any of that section makes sense. Figuring out the logistics is worse than, at most, carrying three days worth of food.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I don't think slackpacking any of that section makes sense. Figuring out the logistics is worse than, at most, carrying three days worth of food.
    Already done. No biggie. Are we going to get a chance to meet you again at Caratunk House?
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I don't see how your going to slack pack on that section. Have you looked at a map? It maybe possible to shave a few miles off each end, but your on 4WD trails to get there.

    It's possible to slack over the Bigelows, but that's one killer of a day. You don't want that as your first day.

    Basically, you have to plan on slogging through the mud, tripping on the roots and slipping off the rocks with a full load through there. This area is almost as remote as the 100 mile wilderness. Actually, maybe more so. It's just not quite so far between towns.
    It looks easy enough. The only glitch I encountered was an inability to get anywhere near Horseshoe Canyon, so the hikers are on their own there. Other than that, there seem to be very accessible roads within reasonable distances from the shelters we're planning to use. I could be wrong, but I hope not!
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  12. #12
    egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Already done. No biggie. Are we going to get a chance to meet you again at Caratunk House?
    Not this this time, sorry to say. We did stop and talk to Paul and grab a pulled pork sandwich and milk shake when we did the section from Flagstaff to Caratunk earlier this year. While you are slacking Rainman to Abol bridge, we are going to be doing Old Speck to Gorham, NH. That will finish Maine and half of NH for us.

    Section-hiking is the best way to hike the AT.

  13. #13

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    Only slacking from Caratunk to Monson this time, unless I can break free to revisit the Mary Jo section of the HMW. I'll be picking him up in Millinocket at the end though.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  14. #14

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    We are day hiking this section from August 30 through Sept. 6. I have done this section by day hiking every day about 20 times over the years.
    warrendance@gmail.com www.warrendoyle.com
    Warren Doyle PhD
    34,000-miler (and counting)
    warrendance@gmail.com
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