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BenK
01-03-2018, 22:21
Hello Everyone. My son and I are planning a backpacking trip to Baxter for this summer. We have plenty of experience hiking and doing day summits, but the last time I went backpacking was in 1991. A lot of the technology has changed, and there are quite a few techniques out there which are new to me. I plan to use this thread as a journal of the planning of the trip, and as a way to seek advice from those who may have more experience.

My first question to you all, is what maps and guides have you used to plan your trips? The parks website map was not much of a help to me. I like to be able to put a map out in front of me and turn it around and write on it and stuff. I have seen stuff online, but nothing I would spend the money on without holding it in my handsÖ any recommendations would be appreciated.

I am looking into a Slumberjack Nightfall 3 person tent for our trip. It seems I always have to set my tent up in the rain and the design of this tent appealed to me. I am however worried that it may be too warm for ME. in July, and am worried about packing/drying condensation. However, Iíve camped in Canada and wasnít prepared for how cold it was at night in the last week of July. Does anyone have experience with this tent?

Stove Question. Do they allow wood burning stoves like a nano fire box, or will I be forced to carry fuel? I plan on using a stove at breakfast and dinner for boiling water and making bisquick. How much gas/alcohol is necessary for 7-9 days of camping + a few days emergency supply? I will carry a little extra weight between the 2 of us to eat decent food, but my ideal situation would be to go light and carry a wood stove with some alcohol as a back up.

Anyway, I know this is rather long winded, so if you are still reading, Thanks! I havenít stopped thinking about this trip since I started thinking about itÖ Canít wait to be on the trails!

-Ben

TJ aka Teej
01-03-2018, 23:52
Hi Ben, where are you heading in Baxter for 7-9 days? As far as the tent is concerned, be aware most backcounty sites have lean-tos. Much less weight!
I like both the National Geographic and Map Adventures BSP maps. Greg Westrich just published a great new Baxter guide, too.
Wood burners/alc stoves are allowed, but can be prohibited in dry spells. I use a Pocket Rocket canister stove, one can will last you the whole trip.

BenK
01-04-2018, 07:55
Hi Ben, where are you heading in Baxter for 7-9 days? As far as the tent is concerned, be aware most backcounty sites have lean-tos. Much less weight!
I like both the National Geographic and Map Adventures BSP maps. Greg Westrich just published a great new Baxter guide, too.
Wood burners/alc stoves are allowed, but can be prohibited in dry spells. I use a Pocket Rocket canister stove, one can will last you the whole trip.

Thank you for the feedback. We are still planning our route. I want to have at least 2 days at Chimney Pond, so that we can summit and do the knifes edge, but the rest of the time I'd like to be as remote as possible. I am having trouble finding anything that looks all that remote that will work for me, because I am trying to avoid wasting time on out and backs.... thinking we will go from roaring brook to russell pond to davis pond to chimney pond and then back out...

Not packing a tent would be great as it would allow for more food and possibly more time on the trail. I don't have a lot of experience lean-to camping.

peakbagger
01-04-2018, 09:26
Its quite hard to set up a 7 to 9 day trip in the park as the parks trail network lacks good loops, there was a plan to put some new trails to make loops possible but they got indefinitely delayed due to the Abol and Dudley rebuilds. Unless you are up for bushwhacking over ancient trails and logging roads, connecting in the National Monument is not viable and probably will not be in the future. As you figured out unless you have car support you are doing some out and backs.

Reservations will be a issue for Chimney Pond and Davis Pond. Davis Pond has only one lean to and you have to book a night at either Russell Pond or Chimney Pond the night before or after. I have backpacked with several boy scouts from Russell Pond to Chimney Pond via Northwest Basin and Hamlin Ridge and its nice hike in great weather but dangerous due to extensive above treeline exposure for the majority of the trip. I have also hiked from Davis Pond to Chimney Pond via the Knife Edge and down Dudley to Chimney Pond with backpacks but Dudley is now closed. Thats a lot of food you are hauling. Ideally it would be nice to spot a car and leave a food cache in the trunk. I would suggest looking around for a shuttle driver that may be able to support you. Start with the AT Lodge in Millinocket and if they cant support it, they probably know someone who could. It will not be cheap.

My suggestion is get a shuttle to the north end of the Park and work your way south. Make sure you day hike the Traveler Loop from South Branch Pond, it doesnt get the big PR that Katahdin does but its worth a trip to Baxter just to do this day hike loop. One big thing to realize is that with Dudley trail closed for for at least a couple of years, Chimney Pond is not a great place to day hike the Knife Edge. Generally people dont haul heavy packs over the Knife Edge but I have done it a couple of times in calm conditions, add in wind and its dangerous. Ideally the best way is stay at Roaring Brook, take Helon Taylor Trail up to Pamola then across the Knife Edge then down to the Saddle and up Hamilin then down Hamlin via Hamlin Ridge trail and back to Roaring Brook or if you hauled your pack to Chimney Pond.

A loop including Northern Peaks and Northwest Basin Trail between Russell and Chimney Ponds is probably the ultimate remote hike with views in the park. I have heard the same of the Freeze Out trail but no views. I did the Northern Peaks trail two years ago on Labor Day weekend from Chimney Pond. We left Chimney Pond at the campsite early and didnt see anyone, we made it all the way to Russel Pond before seeing anyone the entire day. The same is frequently true of the Northwest Basin Trail.

A cool place to stay which I have been unsuccessful it staying there due to Hurricane Irene is Wassataquoik Island Lean To, you need to paddle out to it with park supplied canoe and once there its your own private island.

Slo-go'en
01-04-2018, 11:24
If you want to stay at Chimney pond, you had best make the reservations yesterday. The spots go quick and may already be too late. You will have to be flexible, as you will have to work around whatever might be left.

Alligator
01-04-2018, 13:04
Thank you for the feedback. We are still planning our route. I want to have at least 2 days at Chimney Pond, so that we can summit and do the knifes edge, but the rest of the time I'd like to be as remote as possible. I am having trouble finding anything that looks all that remote that will work for me, because I am trying to avoid wasting time on out and backs.... thinking we will go from roaring brook to russell pond to davis pond to chimney pond and then back out...

Not packing a tent would be great as it would allow for more food and possibly more time on the trail. I don't have a lot of experience lean-to camping.Some form of shelter on an overnight backpacking trip is important for safety. Even in July you could get caught in a cold rain and/or a windy day between leantos. The end of July will likely see the black flies gone but I am not sure about the mosquitoes. The particular tent you have selected is mostly mesh for the tent body. If it was exceptionally hot, you could take the fly off if it was not raining. It also appears that the tent can be pitched like a fast-fly (tent body unnecessary). You could conceivably use it as a shaped tarp but recognize that bugs might be able to get under the fly if it doesn't pitch to the ground as well as if you can't drop it to the ground, you could get rain splash. However, it looks to be large enough to avoid most rain splash. You would need a ground cloth though. I personally would not go 7-9 days in Maine without knowing for sure whether my shelter was sufficient to prevent mosquitoes getting in. I've camped and hiked in Baxter in the summer before but I can't recall exactly what months, was either July or August, so I can't really advise you on the back country bug situation. It was a while ago now.

On a longer trip like you plan, if you don't resupply and cannot use the wood stove (temporary restriction), an alcohol stove will end up having a heavier weight penalty as alcohol is less efficient than white gas or even a canister stove. It depends a lot on how much YOU cook, the exact stove (make, fuel type), plus how efficiently you cook. You could try cooking a typical day's worth of food at home outside with outside temperature water to get an idea as to how much fuel you might use. Are you proficient with your woodstove, are you capable of cooking in the rain for instance, or would you be so hungry that you are going to fire up the alcohol stove? Depending on the age of your son, if he's cold and hungry can you wait out getting the wood stove working? You could be Hades or you could be Neptune with the wood stove if you catch my meaning.

peakbagger
01-04-2018, 14:38
Opening Day for reservations is Sunday January 14th for walk ins into the park office in Millinocket. No phone calls or internet, gotta be in person. That is the first date anyone can make reservations. After that special event, the reservations are frozen until 4 months of the end date of your trip. So pick your dates you want to be in the park and then go on the website a few days before 4 months of your date. Since you have a long trip, you could be at a disadvantage as you have to wait several days after someone just doing an one night trip. I would suggest booking the critical popular site and then doing a second booking once the popular site is secured. Keep an eye on it every day and each day the open dates will move forward one day. Once you see your date pop up, use your credit card and book the site. If too many people want the spot its first come first served. I do not know what time they open up the next days reservations but may be worth a call. Here is link to the site with the details. Remember no refunds, but more than few folks will list them on hiking sites and offer them to others. There used to be locals who scalped reservations but a change in the reservation rules seems to have stopped that (or driven it underground).

Early July is buggy in the park, black flies can be brutal, usually not an issue to get an interior site except perhaps 4th of July week. The Mosquitoes move in after the Black Flies but are a none issue in August (it really depends on how dry a season it has been. Weekends tend to be busy so try to plan your trip to the popular campgrounds during the weekdays. Chimney Pond reservations are very much in demand, I would suggest setting up a couple of itinerary's around different days of the week at Chimney Pond. Some campgrounds have bunkhouses where you book by the bunk. They have wood stoves and are a nice option if its buggy out. You will end up sharing with other groups.

BSP had a very bad rep somewhat deserved years ago about getting out of state reservations, since the new rolling reservations online got up and running, its a lot more fair and you have lot better chance of getting what you want. I booked a lean to at Abol campground (a drive in Katahdin trailhead) for a Labor Day weekend a couple of years ago three weeks before the date.

TJ aka Teej
01-04-2018, 22:12
I am having trouble finding anything that looks all that remote that will work for me, because I am trying to avoid wasting time on out and backs
Do your Chimney Pond Knife Edge plan, then head to the quiet north end and into the SFMA.

BenK
01-08-2018, 22:41
Ideally the best way is stay at Roaring Brook, take Helon Taylor Trail up to Pamola then across the Knife Edge then down to the Saddle and up Hamilin then down Hamlin via Hamlin Ridge trail and back to Roaring Brook or if you hauled your pack to Chimney Pond.

So about how many hours does this loop take as a day hike? My son is 18 and we both hike a couple times per month. We have day hiked Greylock and Monadnock, without much effort. It seems like a 12 mile hike. Not that the distance is far, but seems like a lot of terrain to cover.

Slo-go'en
01-08-2018, 23:31
So about how many hours does this loop take as a day hike? My son is 18 and we both hike a couple times per month. We have day hiked Greylock and Monadnock, without much effort. It seems like a 12 mile hike. Not that the distance is far, but seems like a lot of terrain to cover.

It's an all day hike. Lots of rock scrambling. Figure 1 to 1.5 MPH if your lucky, so budget 12 hours for the hike. Going down is the hard part, tough on the knees and you have to pay attention to your footing. The knife edge is not for the faint of heart. At points you have a shear 2,000 foot drop off on either side of you and a five foot wide path of safety. I maybe exaggerating some, but not by much. It really is kind of scary.

peakbagger
01-09-2018, 08:01
So about how many hours does this loop take as a day hike? My son is 18 and we both hike a couple times per month. We have day hiked Greylock and Monadnock, without much effort. It seems like a 12 mile hike. Not that the distance is far, but seems like a lot of terrain to cover.

I did it last summer and usually do it every other summer. I am 58 and definitely not ideal body weight but do hike a lot in the summer. I routinely take first timers over the this loop or 3/4s of it. Its a 10 to 12 hour loop mostly because its a crime not to take your time and enjoy the views. Just plan a very easy day the next day as I expect you might appreciate it. Given your potential itinerary I would skip Hamlin and at the saddle between Katahdin and Hamlin, head down the Saddle trail, that gets you down to Chimney Pond so you can get blown away from the views. Logically if you want to visit Davis Pond via Northwest basin or the Northern Peaks trail (both incredible very remote hikes) Hamlin Ridge trail is the logical way to head back south or head north from Roaring Brook. The normal caveat applies is if the weather sucks the loop around the summits is dangerous (any hike above treeline is as the summits are natural lightning rods with little or no cover).

RockDoc
01-09-2018, 22:52
Have a good time. There's so much country there besides Katahdin. We stayed in one of their cabins for a few nights (kind of dark and cold), and enjoyed reading in the Park Library and rocking time away on the back porch. We did some loop hikes that were rewarding.

BenK
01-11-2018, 23:47
Have a good time. There's so much country there besides Katahdin. We stayed in one of their cabins for a few nights (kind of dark and cold), and enjoyed reading in the Park Library and rocking time away on the back porch. We did some loop hikes that were rewarding.

So the plan, as of right now, is to eat dinner in Millinocket, then head to the park and park at Roaring Brook. Set up tent for the first night and get some sleep at Roaring Brook. Next morning, do Paloma to Katahdin loop back to Roaring Brook. Eat dinner and get to sleep early. Next morning get ourselves up to Russell Pond. Fish for dinner in the evening. Day four we would get up to South Branch Pond. I figure we spend 3 nights there. Fishing, swimming, hopefully feeling up to doing the traveler on one of the days. Then a long time friend from Portland is helping to get us back to our car....

peakbagger
01-12-2018, 21:27
Looks like you have a good plan. One slight change is possibly head out of Roaring Brook and going to Chimney Pond first, then up the Cathedral Trail (Its really is only recommended as a route up, it has some great views and is very steep, then stop by the summit and head down Knife Edge and then down Helon Taylor and back to Roaring Brook. I am not a fisherman but expect the fishing might be better on Wassataquoik Stream.

BenK
01-12-2018, 23:13
Looks like you have a good plan. One slight change is possibly head out of Roaring Brook and going to Chimney Pond first, then up the Cathedral Trail (Its really is only recommended as a route up, it has some great views and is very steep, then stop by the summit and head down Knife Edge and then down Helon Taylor and back to Roaring Brook. I am not a fisherman but expect the fishing might be better on Wassataquoik Stream.

Possibly next time... which Iíve already started thinking about. I want to keep the Katahdin hike as short and simple as possible. Although weíve done a lot of hiking and camping, this will be our first packing trip, and I want it to be more about backpacking and being on the trail, rather than worrying about getting to the top of K. We have a good hike the following day out to Russell. Iím trying to make the ship sail as smoothly as possible on this trip and not be exhausted by the end of day 2, unable to enjoy the rest of our time.... definitely do want to come back and checkout the freezout trail and the south western peaks.

BenK
01-12-2018, 23:19
I am not a fisherman but expect the fishing might be better on Wassataquoik Stream.

Good to know...

LoneStranger
01-13-2018, 10:36
Russell Pond is really rocky so I've never fished it or even taken a canoe out there. I've seen folks pulling tiny trout near the Deadwater outlet, but they weren't big enough to eat. The fish, not the folks. Wass Stream doesn't really have fish above the falls from what I've heard and my experience fishing near the LTs supports that theory. Not sure it is worth carrying fishing gear out there unless you just want some casting practice.

If you want another summit option to consider...get two nights at Chimney Pond, day hike to Baxter Peak via Cathedrals or Saddle depending on weather and inclination with a foray out onto the Knife Edge, again weather and inclination permitting, then back down to CP via Saddle or Hamlin if you are feeling froggy. You can leave your heavy stuff in the LT or at the ranger station and after camping there again head over the table lands and down the North Peaks trail to Russell. Personally I'd try for the night at Davis on the way to Russell, but that can be a hard night to score a reservation for when you need it.

BenK
04-18-2018, 21:05
I got my reservations back! ... now thinking about clothing for a 6 night trip in July...

do you guys think that this is overkill? have I left anything out? I am NOT an ultralight hiker. My main goal is to be prepared for the worst.

 2 pair of pants. Not jeans
 Sweatpants
 3 T shirts
 3 pair shorts
 Long sleeve Tshirt
 4 pair of socks
 Thermal Shirt
 Sweater
 Wool hat
 Cool weather jacket
 poncho

TJ aka Teej
04-18-2018, 22:46
I got my reservations back! ... now thinking about clothing for a 6 night trip in July...

do you guys think that this is overkill? have I left anything out? I am NOT an ultralight hiker. My main goal is to be prepared for the worst.

 2 pair of pants. Not jeans
 Sweatpants
 3 T shirts
 3 pair shorts
 Long sleeve Tshirt
 4 pair of socks
 Thermal Shirt
 Sweater
 Wool hat
 Cool weather jacket
 poncho

Put that in a backpack and lift it.
Then take out 1 pair of pants, the sweatpants, 2 t shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, and 1 pair of socks.
Lift it again.
Take campshoes. You'll want something other than your boots to wear at the end of the day. Knock-odd Wal-Mart Crocs are ugly, but popular.

T.S.Kobzol
04-19-2018, 08:57
I haven't read past the first 3 posts so I apologize if this is redundant...and I'm doing this from memory...

I guess you can park at Roaring brook, book a leanto (day 1)
Day 2: take Helon-Taylor up to the knife edge, traverse, go down to Chimney Pond via Saddle Trail
Day 3: take Hamlin Peak trail up to Hamlin Peak and to Davis Pond
Day 4: take the trail towards Russell Pond and take a left to Wassatoquik Lake Leanto
Day 5: take the trail via Grand Falls and towards Wassatoquik Stream leanto
Day 6: take the trail back to Roaring Brook

BenK
04-20-2018, 17:43
I haven't read past the first 3 posts so I apologize if this is redundant...and I'm doing this from memory...

I guess you can park at Roaring brook, book a leanto (day 1)
Day 2: take Helon-Taylor up to the knife edge, traverse, go down to Chimney Pond via Saddle Trail
Day 3: take Hamlin Peak trail up to Hamlin Peak and to Davis Pond
Day 4: take the trail towards Russell Pond and take a left to Wassatoquik Lake Leanto
Day 5: take the trail via Grand Falls and towards Wassatoquik Stream leanto
Day 6: take the trail back to Roaring Brook

42527

7 days with lots of rest at the end of the trip

T.S.Kobzol
04-20-2018, 18:07
Sort of. It's a blueprint...there are other Peaks along the way but it accomplishes the desire to stay remote as much as possible in BSP in the summer.

Rene


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