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  1. #1
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    Default Sobo section starting from Katahdin in late September

    I am heading to ME in September with a group of friends checking out the state and then climbing Katahdin. I am considering turning in my round trip ticket and hiking sobo from there as far as I can or want to go starting on 9/24 at "The Birches". Weatherwise, I would think it will be a beautiful time to be doing this but I am wondering when it will start getting Really Cold up there? I Love hiking in the 60 & 70's for daytime temps but as I grow older I don't like the 20's and below at night. Plus not sure of where I would hit the exposed ridgelines that can be a challenge in ME, NH & VT in October/November? What temps can I expect on this type hike? Any other helpful info is appreciated! (disclaimer, I have LASH'd from Springer to NJ & thru-hiked the PCT sobo in 2016)

    Thanks everyone!
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  2. #2

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    Think 4 to 6 weeks out, a young in shape thru hiker can probably make BSP from Gorham NH (beginning of the whites) in 4 weeks but my guess is you are looking at 5 to 6 weeks. That gets you into the whites optimistically the end of October into early November. That can be early winter temps on the ridgelines in the whites, definitely below freezing to the teens at night. That means full winter overnight gear unless you slack the whites. There is usually snow on the ridgelines by mid October. It may melt in day or two and be 60 degrees and sunny but if you are backpacking you need to plan for the worst. The high AMC huts are closed. Getting home from anywhere north of Gorham is a very long hitch to get to a bus station or airport or very expensive shuttle. There is a daily bus to Boston from Gorham so its an easy ride home. You will get some nice weather especially with climate change for the first couple of weeks but once the weather turns it can turn quick. My guess is you may do fine until Bigelow but once you head up on the ridge and stay there until the Gorham you will be way out of your temperature range and wishing you had warmer gear. It also can get rainy/snowy and hypothermia is real easier to get in cool damp temps.

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    Thanks PB, yeah, I'm thinking Gorham is the most I may cover or want to cover on this section. The elevation in ME looks fairly easy other than the notch and the may be rocky but I would think I could get my trail legs on somewhat and be able to push to Gorham. I wonder if the Kennebec Ferry will be running in October or is there an alternate route? I don't see an alternate in Awol's book but one may be mentioned on Farout?
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

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    I think you may need to pick a different campground, I recall you have to have hiked 100 miles to get a spot at the birches. There is a private campground nearby at Abol bridge, and you may be able to find a spot at KSC.

  5. #5

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    https://www.matc.org/2022-kennebec-r...ferry-schedule

    Looks like you will be scheduling a ferry for $50. There is no alternative route except swim the river (really really really dumb). The only other alternative is pay for a shuttle over to Long Falls dam road. You will miss Pierce Pond and breakfast on the patio (if they are still doing it) and the Arnold Ponds.

  6. #6

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    September and early October is without a doubt the best time to hike ME/NH. I can't wait. However, it can also be the worst time to hike.

    Columbus weekend is typically when the weather turns, and it starts to get stormy more frequently. Temps can be all over the place, but you have to plan for the worse, so a 20 degree bag is a must. If you do get rain, it will be cold and windy, generally getting much colder as the front pushes through. It's been a dry summer, but the rain does tend to pick up in the late fall.

    It gets dark early in the Maine woods, so you'll be using your headlamp a lot.

    I'd say if you started just after Labor Day there's a good chance of reaching the Whites by October. It will be interesting to see how our fall colors come out this year. Last years was sort of late, short lived and a little blah.
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  7. #7

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    You can't stay at the Birches. it's for Nobos hiking in from at least Monson.
    Do you and you friends will need camping or parking reservations.
    9/24 is too late to start a SoBo section.
    Teej

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

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    Thanks for the info everyone!! I have reservations at Roaring Brook CG to climb K (may or may not take the back way up the knife's Edge) and when my crew leaves they can just drop me off at the Birches and I will head South. Thanks for the rain & ferry info! I always carry a 15 degree bag, so I'm good with the evg temps. I'm a lolligagger and will take it one day at a time. If it become "no fun" and "pruney" I will hike to the nearest bail point, a beauty of section hiking! I've also considered flying to Albany & hiking from VT border S to DWG where I left off and doing that starting that in mid October hoping to catch a little Fall foliage. Decisions, Decisions.....
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

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    Be aware that The Birches has no water. It is technically located on the Blueberry Ledges trail which is an easy 4 mile hike to Abol Bridge (compared to the 10 mile AT). It is maybe .2 mile along the road from the AT crossing near Katahdin Stream Campground.

    In the past the Cabin hostel has pickups/dropoffs and slackpacking possibilities for at least a full day north of Andover to the last hwy south before the Mahoosuc Range. I would check them out as a primary cold weather alternative.

    Hiking south down Mahoosuc Arm which is a relatively steep granite ramp might be rather slippery and slow.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by wornoutboots View Post
    Thanks for the info everyone!! I have reservations at Roaring Brook CG to climb K (may or may not take the back way up the knife's Edge) and when my crew leaves they can just drop me off at the Birches and I will head South.
    An up-and-over with a full pack (and 10 days food) isn't recommended.
    Drive around to the west side, go up Hunt and down Abol with a day pack.
    Teej

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    An up-and-over with a full pack (and 10 days food) isn't recommended.
    Drive around to the west side, go up Hunt and down Abol with a day pack.
    Thanks Again! Yeah, the group is leaning towards the later after watching some YT vids on the Knife's Edge and how sketchy it can be! And yes, we will be day hiking it with day packs. I am think of starting my hike with a full heading south from Abol.
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  12. #12
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    Also, from talking to the rangers at baxter, they said that since we have reservation at Roaring BRook, we can drive to the Hunt trail parking lot and start there as long as the parking lot isn't full. We plan on getting there @ sunrise.
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wornoutboots View Post
    We plan on getting there @ sunrise.
    Just be past the gate before it opens and you'll be fine. Have fun.
    Teej

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

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