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  1. #1

    Exclamation The 2021 SoBo’s Guide to Baxter and Katahdin

    Reservations for June 1st at Katahdin Stream start tomorrow!
    The 2021 SoBo’s Guide to Baxter and Katahdin


    Join the SOBO 2021 or SOBO 2022 Facebook groups!


    You’re not going to climb on May 15th, the traditional date for the park to open to overnight camping. The Park closes to all hiking in April, and trails do not open until at least late May.
    Plan your start for later, after Memorial Day at least, June 1st better, second week of June best. I recommend the second week of June to ensure a Katahdin trail will be open. Don’t plan on an up-and-over from the Roaring Brook side. The logistics, the load, uncertain trail conditions – just don’t over complicate your start. Come back another day to do the Knife Edge.
    More at the link.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  2. #2

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    Important tip:
    SoBos should call HQ to make their reservations. There is a online tool, but I think talking to an experienced and knowledgeable human is a better idea for people new to the Park. Tell them you're planning a SoBo! Office hours 8-4 weekdays 207-723-5140 (Give them a few minutes to fire up the woodstove and put the kettle on in the morning, and call by 3:30 in the afternoon so they have time to close up shop.)
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Important tip:
    SoBos should call HQ to make their reservations. There is a online tool, but I think talking to an experienced and knowledgeable human is a better idea for people new to the Park. Tell them you're planning a SoBo! Office hours 8-4 weekdays 207-723-5140 (Give them a few minutes to fire up the woodstove and put the kettle on in the morning, and call by 3:30 in the afternoon so they have time to close up shop.)
    I'm only commenting here because I was struck by the feeling of emotions seeing the phone number evoked! Weird, right? I grew up in the 207 (as the kids like to say these days). Back then you only needed 5 digits to call a local number but these days every call requires an area code and well, I just don't think about it as all my numbers for family in Maine are programmed into the phone.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    Reservations for June 1st at Katahdin Stream start tomorrow!
    The 2021 SoBo’s Guide to Baxter and Katahdin

    More at the link.

    When I was planning my 2014 SOBO attempt, this information was INVALUABLE. My hike was pathetically short due to an injury, but I had a *flawless* and enjoyable start in large part because of the information, advice, tips, and guidance that Teej has compiled here. Read it.

    But I would also strongly recommend that NOBOs familiarize themselves with this information as well -- bookmark it or copy it and keep it handy as you approach the end of your hike. Over the last few years I have followed a number of different NOBO hikers on Trail Journals or YouTube, etc., and it seems that so many of them (read as: nearly all) have to deal with exasperating frustrations and disappointments at the end of their otherwise epic hike because they aren't familiar with Baxter's unique rules & regulations; many are also unnecessarily confused or stressed about the logistics of ending their hike and getting home. Much of the information provided here is just as valuable for them.

    Thanks Teej.
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  5. #5

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    He is referring to a woodstove in concept only. i think the BSP office is predominately heated with minsplit cold climate heat pumps . The park clerks are usually very helpful on the phone and there are only so many of them so on occasion getting one of them the first time is challenge. Bummer that they got rid of summer season opening day so us hardcores could go hang out in the office and meet the park staff in January.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoSpirits View Post
    Thanks Teej.
    My pleasure. Did a NoBo one too, it started out as a pamphlet with a 500 print run at hostels as far south as Rangely, went to 1000 the next three years, and then just online to save trees. Baxter Rangers and trail runners remain baffled at NoBos showing up without cash, looking for the water tap or to buy supplies, asking about WiFi, etc. 2021 NoBo's Guide to Baxter and Katahdin.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    He is referring to a woodstove in concept only.
    Indeed. On many mornings the phone starts ringing before they can hang up their coats.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    I'm only commenting here because I was struck by the feeling of emotions seeing the phone number evoked!
    My daughter has a "207" tat
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    My daughter has a "207" tat

    Hey, checked out your site and the links. Looks awesome.

    Just an FYI, Poet's link doesn't seem to be working.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  10. #10

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    Does anyone know if there is a trail leading out of Baxter to the IAT on the kahtadin loop road in the kahtadin land and monument park loop road?

  11. #11

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    Unless it got built in the last year, there is no connector trail by design and intent of BSP. The unofficial one has been closed and is being re-vegetated as of a few years ago. There was some talk of building a trail outside the park boundary to the south of the park and I had seen some references to scouting parties occurring but have not seen announcements that it was built and open. It would have started in the general area of Togue Pond gate and to connect up with it from the AT would require a significant detour.

    Here is an excerpt from the latest IAT guide

    PLEASE NOTE: due to the recent establishment of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KAWW)
    and the closure by Baxter State Park (BSP) of the park’s Katahdin Lake East (KLE) entrance that was accessible by
    the park’s Katahdin Lake Trail from Avalanche Field, the Maine Chapter of the IAT (MCIAT) is seeking to establish a
    new, permanent access route from the IAT’s southern, North American terminus to Mt. Katahdin in BSP. Until a
    new, official route is in place, hikers reach the trail’s current terminus – the trailhead parking area near mile 12 on
    the KAWW’s “Katahdin Loop Road” map – via the Swift Brook Road, from Stacyville or from Medway via Rte. 11.
    Overnight parking requires notification of the KAWW administrators, which can be done by phoning
    207.456.6001. Parking and camping can also take place at the monument’s Sandbank Stream Campsite; local
    drop-off or pick-up shuttling to or from the trailhead parking area or the Sandbank campsite is available (see
    below). A shorter, but easier and less attractive option is to start/end the IAT hike in Maine at the Grand
    Lake/Shin Pond Road at its junction with the IAT’s East Branch of the Penobscot River segment, avoiding the
    monument and the East Branch segment altogether.

  12. #12

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    Thanks peakbagger I appreciate the info. As an aside my parents have owned a beautiful old homestead on Swift Brook road for 40 years. My father and I would look out At kahtadin and say there must be a way to climb that mountain but having had no hiking experience we where hunter oriented and always busy working and never thought to a lot time to such things as hiking. Then in 2003 my mother was reading the local newspaper where she about a couple embarking on a thru hike of the AT. She turned to my father and said this is your nephew and his wife.
    We where estranged from this part of the family and they only lived in the next town. My mother who is a good woman contacted them and eventually offered them our place to decompress after they finished which they did.
    So after I finally met them we became very close and he and his wife coached my 12 year old daughter on how to hike mount chase near shin pond where I have a piece of land. After they I commenced hiking the 48 four thousands I NH.
    That’s what got me dreaming about hiking the AT. For the record there trail names are soft serve and just ducky.
    This is a very exciting yet emotionally time for me as my parents and are in the late stages of selling are family business. It’s a liquor store and after all these years of sacrifice and but many friends I am planning a thru this year but without knowing the exact date of closing I am looking at a possible sobo it’s to bad I can’t just hike from the homestead to Baxter but I know that would not go over big with the rangers. But after reading white blaze for so many years it is nice to have a reason to ask and comment now on here. You guys are such great people. The trail brought me so much magic starting with my cousin and his wife. Again thanks

  13. #13

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    Long before Percival Baxter bought his first lot, there were trails up Katahdin and one of the first routes was from the East from the East Branch. It eventually climbed the ridge that Helon Taylor now runs along but it came in from the SE. I would have dig out my history books for more details.

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