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  1. #1
    Registered User QuietStorm's Avatar
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    Default Parking and shuttles in Stratton, Maine

    I am in the midst of planning my last section of the AT from Stratton to Katahdin for late June-July. I had been thinking of driving from Maryland to Stratton and leaving my car at the Hostel of Maine. Unfortunately, based on the prices quoted on their website, they charge $15 a day to park your car at the hostel. A shuttle back from either Millinocket or KSC to Stratton will likely cost in the neighborhood of $225-$250. So parking and shuttles would cost close to $500, which seems steep, not to mention gas, etc. to drive over 600 miles each way.

    Has anyone found a less costly solution in terms of transportation and parking? Can you safely park your car at Maine Route 27 for two weeks or so? Has anyone left their car at the Stratton Motel? I know one shuttle driver--Squirrel--who can probably quote a better rate if he's available--my main concern is figuring out if driving is the best budget option or flying and shuttles.

  2. #2

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    Leaving a car alongside a State Route for a few weeks, especially along a designated Scenic Route would likely be considered abandoned with possible criminal connection and the car would most certainly be ticketed and towed away. Leaving a note on the car that you are frolicking about in the forest and will be back at some point to collect the car would likely lead to the same outcome. The ticket, towing, and subsequent lot storage costs would dwarf the cost of 2-weeks parking cost of $210.00 (@$15.00 pd).

    I would call the local and State police to determine if you can park alongside Rt 27 for any length of time (State Statutes do not seem to allow that in a quick look) and if there are no prohibitions, where they would allow it so police know your car is not abandoned. The answer will probably be no, but they might be able to steer you towards a parking area or someone who you can arrange parking on their property that is less expensive.

    You may be able to park long term at established parking areas at AT trailheads or trail crossings, the Maine Warden Service can probably tell you what their rules are regarding long term parking and what the costs are, if any.

  3. #3

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    According to Whiteblaze Pages, there is a 20 car parking lot at RT 27, so I don't think that will be a problem.

    According to Google Maps, it's 141 miles and a 3 hour drive from Millinocket back to Stratton, hence the high cost of the shuttle. Picking you up at Baxter adds an extra hour.
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  4. #4

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    There is a designated AT parking lot on RT 27. It outside of the state highway right of way. Thus its legal to park for extended periods. That said, two weeks is pushing it in rural area. You could notify the local county sheriff and state police. Rural lots in Maine are usually pretty secure unless a local druggie decides to start working a lot. They usually get caught after several weeks but its quite rare. One of the members of a hiking group I am member of drove up a nearby seasonal road one year and got stuck in snow. He had to walk out and come back in about 2 months. The car was unmolested despite being next to snowmachine trail several miles in the woods.

    The standard recommendation is to park your car at the end of the trip and get a shuttle back to the start of your trip. Yes it eats up time on the first day of the trip. I would suggest driving directly to Millinocket and arrange a shuttle through the AT lodge in Millinocket and stay the night after your drive up then have them shuttle you in the AM. I expect they have long term parking set up nearby. You cant leave a car long term in BSP so just catching the daily thru hiker AT Lodge shuttle into town after the hike is easy. Many folks park at Abol Bridge but that means a 4 hour walk back out of the park after summitting. There is also a long term BSP parking lot just outside the park gate at Togue Pond. It is highly visible to the rangers and there is lot of traffic going by so probably very secure. The road from KSC is the main road in the park, 90 percent of the traffic is going to the Togue Pond gate so catching a hitch to the gate is rarely a problem.

    Keep in mind that cell service is very limited in this area of Maine. There is typically signal above treeline on Katahdin but it rapidly disappears once you head down. There is zero cell coverage at KSC and no public phone. The rangers have radios but they are not for public use.

    The last option is Katahdin Air. They have seaplane base near the park and one of their many businesses is flying folks along the AT and dropping them off. I don't know if they fly into Flagstaff Lake as its shallow. I think they have parking at their base.

    As noted above via paved roads its a long drive, there are shortcuts via seasonal roads but the slower speeds offset any mileage savings. Going east to west in Maine is hard as the rivers run north to south and there are not that many bridges.

  5. #5
    Registered User QuietStorm's Avatar
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    I ended my last section at the AT parking area on Route 27, so I am familiar with it. I normally park at the end and shuttle to the beginning, but for reasons having more to do with emotions and less with logistics, I don't want a glimpse of Katahdin until I see it first from the trail as I'm hiking. I may have to reconsider that, in which case I would more likely fly to Bangor and bus it to Medway and pick up a shuttle there. The hostel has clarified their parking rates as only $3 per day for section hikers, so the total cost for the shuttle and parking would be around $300. I am not likely to do better with the cost of airfare and shuttle, so I'm likely to go ahead with the original plan of driving to Stratton, parking at the Hostel of Maine, staying there the night before I begin hiking, and then shuttling back there at the end.

    Thanks for the info. I'll have to try that seaplane one day.

  6. #6

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    My guess is unless you get lucky and find someone to share a shuttle you will not find much better.

    There is a punchline to old Maine humor that goes "you know, come to think of it, you cant get there from here" (applied with the appropriate downeast accent). Millinocket to Stratton is a long haul

  7. #7

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    I stayed at the hostel in Carantuck and had them shuttle me to Stratton , they let me leave the car there for little or no fee... they could also shuttle your car north
    "the legs feed the wolf gentlemen, the legs feed the wolf" from the movie "Miracle"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEXMAN View Post
    I stayed at the hostel in Carantuck and had them shuttle me to Stratton , they let me leave the car there for little or no fee... they could also shuttle your car north
    The Carantuck House B&B breakfast is awesome also.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


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