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  1. #1
    Registered User QuietStorm's Avatar
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    01-20-2017
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    Default Recommendations on descending from Katahdin

    I am planning to summit on or about September 14th. I may have my 23-year-old daughter with me. She has done some hiking and is in good shape but has never done more technical, hand over hand-type hiking. She should be able to ascend with some coaching, but descending the Hunt Trail may be a bit more dicey for her. Can anyone recommend another trail down from the summit? And if you're meeting a shuttle driver, where would you ask them to meet you? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Abol Trail. I ascended on that and descended on the Hunt Trail. Abol Campground is about 2 miles from Katahdin Stream Campground, and hitching should be easy between them, as is hitching to Millinocket, at that time of year.

  3. #3

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    Its pretty simple, the easiest way to go down Katahdin is the Saddle Trail which connects to the Chimney Pond Trail which ends at Roaring Brook. Its starts with a long gravel slide that eventually turns into a climb down a boulder slide which ends after a woods walk at Roaring Brook Campground. Since you are going up Hunt Trail there is no reason why going down it would require any additional skills required going up it. A good pair of shorts for an occasional controlled butt slide is the most important tool. I was quite surprised last year at all the bypass routes that have appeared around the tight spots on Hunt Trail. The upper Abol trail still has a few "intense" spots but once the switch to the new route is made it has excellent footing. Do not even think about going down Cathedral Trail. Hamlin Ridge adds some miles and some spectacular views into the adjacent basin, its exposed and has some of the feeling of the Knife Edge but is far less technical. For someone trying to stretch out the views its hard to beat. Its far less crowded.

    Its too bad you are unsure of her capabilities, families with 10 year olds do the Knife Edge and Helon Taylor down and its the most spectacular way to end a thru hike (IMHO). The reason more don't do it is that the standard shuttle doesn't go to Roaring Brook. I think that is done purposely to cut down traffic on the dead end road to Roaring Brook. Note going this way also means the pack needs to go with the hiker or have someone pick it up before the hike up Hunt. I believe the AT lodge shuttle goes to Katahdin Stream, they may stop at Abol on the way out but it they are full they may not be able to fit you in.

    With respect to hitchhiking, in a non Covid year catching a hitch from KSC to Abol and the Togue Pond gate is pretty easy. Its a very unpleasant walk along this road as the road is quite narrow and inevitably clouds of dust arise as cars pass by.

  4. #4

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    despite what was said above the best option if you are using a shuttle from the AT lodge is to go up/down the hunt trail. unless you have pre-arranged for the shuttle to meet you at the bottom of abol. Both trails are about the same difficulty level so its not really going to matter as far as that. all the other ways down, knife edge to helon taylor, saddle to chimney pond, or even hamlin ridge to chimney pond trail all leave you on the wrong side of the mountain with only 1 not very easy - option hitch or walk out...

  5. #5
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    01-29-2010
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    I agree with peakbagger. I think saddle or Hamlin ridge are your best bet if you are looking for an easier desent. You still may need to slide on your butt in a few places. I went up the cathedral trail one October day in a mist and questioned my choice. I knew I would not be coming down that way and went down saddle.
    More walking, less talking.

  6. #6

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    If the OP is using a standard commercial shuttle then Roaring Brook is out of the picture. If on the other hand the OP has a friend or family member or a shuttle driver for himself and his daughter only that opens up the east side of the mountain (Roaring Brook).

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