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Uncle Wayne
11-17-2003, 03:53
I need some advice or opinions from those of you familar with the Maine sections of the AT. I will admit up front I haven't studied the trail through Maine so my knowlege is extremely limited. My wife and I want to do a 3 to 5 day section hike in Maine next May or June that would end on Katahdin. We like to hike 8 to 12 miles a day, want to dodge the blackflies and mosquitos as much as possible and prefer staying in a shelter at night. Any suggestions / advice will be appreciated. The dates are also flexible if there is a better time of year to dodge the insects.
Thanks for your help.

celt
11-17-2003, 07:39
Your proposed hike length, 24 to 60 miles, would start in a section between Monson and Baxter State Park usually called The Hundred Mile Wilderness. The logistics of starting in this remote area are more difficult than usual because the only roads are privately owned logging roads. They are dirt and well maintained but its best to use a truck. Its far from impossible to start a hike in this area but it requires planning. Keith Shaw at Shaws Boarding House in Monson offers shuttling services into this area. He can also advise on the best points to start a hike based on your itinerary.

Shaws
P.O. Box 157
Monson, ME
04464
(207) 997-3597

I also suggest you get an AT Data Book: http://www.atctrailstore.org/catalog/iteminfo.cfm?itemid=68&compid=1 This is a great book to help familiarize yourself with the trail in Maine. I glanced at mine and at 32 miles from Katahdin the Jo Mary Logging Road at Pollywog Stream is a possible starting point (I met someone who started a day hike from there) and the Jo Mary Rd also crossed the A.T. at 56 miles from Katahdin.
The terrain in this section is lake country with some small mountains (1500') exept Katahdin of course.

Also, Baxter State Park doesn't open until mid May and often the trails up Katahdin don't open until early June. Winter in this area of Maine comes earlier, stays later and dumps lots of snow most years. The black flies are also very bad and May and June are the start of their season.

Peaks
11-17-2003, 08:29
Conventional wisdom is not to hike Maine until July. The reason is black flies and streams are high and cold with spring runoff.

Katahdin may still be closed because of ice in May. This year I was in there about June 1 and the Hunt Trail was open, because it faces south, but the other trails were still closed.

You might consider a circuit hike in Baxter State Park in June. Probably fewer streams to cross. Reservations should not be a problem early in their season. (We camped at Katahdin Stream Campground and most of the lean to's were empty.).

Bring the bug dope.

max patch
11-17-2003, 08:37
After my thru I returned to Maine with my family and did a series of dayhikes; an invaluable resource is "Fifty Hikes in Northern Maine" by Cloe Caputo.

attroll
11-17-2003, 14:11
Depending on when you go is the big thing. I hiked from Monson south to Moxie Pond and when going over Moxie Bald Mtn on the AT on 22 May of 2000 I ran into snow that was waist deep going over the top. We did not expect this at all. It was a real pain in the butt. But we made it to Moxie Pond soaking wet from the snow and sweat. We had planned on going to Caratunk that year but being so wet and nothing left for dry clothes we decided to hitch to Caratunk where are car was.

I would be thinking of the first of June because if you wait to late you will hit the black flies and skeeters. I would recommend starting at Jo-Mary Road and heading north towards Katahdin. You should be able to make it to Abol bridge in four to five days if you are doing 8 - 12 miles days. There is only one mountain in this stretch called Nesuntabunt and it is no very bad at all. Besides that one mountain it is mostly all flat land hiking and you will make some very good time.

There are only two other places to start in the 100 mile wilderness that is closer to Katahdin. One is The WhiteHouse Camps pick you up near the entrance to Katahdin and bring you to there place and start from there on PemadumcookLake. But that is like a $50 charge for each person they pick up. Two is NahmakantaLake which is over a 26 miles of driving down logging roads to get to. It will get you one day closer though.

If you want to climb Katahdin on this trip you probably will be cutting it to close for planning at 3 5 day hike. Unless you just pick another section hike and then hit Katahdin.

I can also recommend From Moxie Pond to Monson. This is all flat hiking except for going over Moxie Bald. This is a three day hike (two if your fast) and Shaws will shuttle you to the start and when you complete this hike you can pick you car up at Shaws and head to Katahdin and do your climb. You will have some good river crossings in this section at this time of year though.

Doc
11-17-2003, 14:48
Let me suggest another possibility. I was pressed for time when I wanted to hike the Wilderness and couldn't take the time off from work at that point. I have since reordered my priorities. I hired a plane from just South of Baxter Park and flew into Crawford Pond. I think it was about a 20 minute ride and cost about $30 at the time. I got out at about the halfway point and hiked up to Baxter. The next year I did the same and hiked out to Monson. Living in Maine made this a little easier than for others, but it's still doable. For many years I would fly in for major canoe trips in the North woods and it was always easier than driving around trying to shuttle trucks and such.

Doc

TJ aka Teej
11-17-2003, 17:22
I need some advice or opinions from those of you familar with the Maine sections of the AT. I will admit up front I haven't studied the trail through Maine so my knowlege is extremely limited. My wife and I want to do a 3 to 5 day section hike in Maine next May or June that would end on Katahdin. We like to hike 8 to 12 miles a day, want to dodge the blackflies and mosquitos as much as possible and prefer staying in a shelter at night. Any suggestions / advice will be appreciated. The dates are also flexible if there is a better time of year to dodge the insects.
Thanks for your help.
Hi Uncle Wayne,
Good advice so far. I've been at Baxter in mid-May just about every year since '87, the Hunt Trail has been closed about half the time. Usually opens just before Memorial Day Weekend after the MATC finishes trailwork and a Ranger has checked it out personally.
By the first week of June the blackflies are wicked. I wouldn't stay in shelters if you want to sleep, think tent.
A section hike that'd fit your schedule is to put in via logging road just south of Cooper Brook Lean-to or at the next road north where the AT crosses about 4 miles south of Antlers Campsite. You might consider timing your finish in Baxter for a weekday after Memorial Day. You can't leave a car inside Baxter, but you can spot one at Abol Bridge for free (tell Linda in the store, she'll show you where to park.)
It's a nice time to hike the AT in Maine. Yeah, there are bugs - bring Deet and headnets. But the daylight lingers, the trillium and lady slippers are out, the trees are just leafing out, baby critters and birds are everywhere, no shelter mice yet, southbounders with brandy new gear to meet, no summer camp/scout groups to deal with, the streams have settled down from the Spring run-offs, and cool days and warm nights.
Spingtime in the Maine woods, the finest kind :D