View Full Version : AT in Maine.

02-02-2007, 11:29 AM
I just finished reading A walk in the Woods and wouldn't you know it I'd like to hike a section of the AT and end the hike on Katahdin. I have 2 weeks available and beyond reading the book know nothing about the AT, which means I know nothing about the AT.

Is the majority of the hike below treeline with only occasional openings on summits or is their a good deal of open terrain?

Is 2 weeks too short to do the entire sate of Maine?

I will be checking around the various internet sources for the AT such as White Blaze but would like to know what the VFTT population has to say about it.

Muchas gracias!

02-02-2007, 11:44 AM
The quick answer is that it would be tough, if not impossible to do the maine AT in 14 days. You would have to average 19 miles a day over some tough peaks and through some nasty blackfly infested bogs (as I'm sure you read about in 'A Walk In The Woods'). There is some nice high-altitude hiking on the south end of the trail through the grafton/stratton areas, but the majority is though dense, low forest.
I would suggest doing one half or the other, using Caratunk as a midway point. The southern end would provide the best peaks, the most up-and-down, best views, etc. The northern section would provide the hundred-mile wilderness and the king of them all, Katahdin. Tough decision.

Good luck!

Papa Bear
02-02-2007, 11:54 AM
I just finished reading A walk in the Woods and wouldn't you know it I'd like to hike a section of the AT and end the hike on Katahdin. I have 2 weeks available and beyond reading the book know nothing about the AT, which means I know nothing about the AT.

Is the majority of the hike below treeline with only occasional openings on summits or is their a good deal of open terrain?
The only extended above tree line section is Katahdin. Other spots (such as saddleback) are marginally above treeline for brief distances

Is 2 weeks too short to do the entire sate of Maine?
The faster Thru hikers probably could do that but most of us will take a longer time. I devided it up into 3 section hikes and took about twice that, but I did all the adjoining 4K and HH peaks (Old Speck, Goose Eye, Abraham, Redington, etc.) and took some time off for rainy days, rest etc.

Gorham NH to Stratton - 13 days
Stratton to Monson - 5 days
Monson to katahdin - 9 days

I will be checking around the various internet sources for the AT such as White Blaze but would like to know what the VFTT population has to say about it.

Muchas gracias!
Here's my reports. I probably was a typical section hiker. Some on VFTT will be faster.

Gorham NH to Stratton (http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2h6gy/papabear/AT_section_5.html)
Stratton to Monson (http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2h6gy/papabear/AT2003_Stratton_Monson.html)
Monson to Katahdin (http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2h6gy/papabear/AT2004_Maine_Adventure.html)

Have fun. Don't rush through it. You can always come back another season (and come back, and come back ....)

TJ aka Teej
02-02-2007, 10:57 PM
I have 2 weeks available

What time of year? Two weeks is plenty of time to get you from Caratunk to Katahdin, starting with an overnighter across the Kennebec to the Pierce Pond lean-to (my fav in Maine) and breakfast at Harrison's Camps. You'll meet Steve the Ferryman at the canoe ferry, you can stay at Shaws in Monson -even do a mail drop if you need it. Maine's best Bar-B-Que, the famousr 4-bys, and a bluegrass jam at the General store every Friday night. Buddy, the cook at Shaws, does shuttles from Gorham to Kocadjo to Bangor to Baxter and can get into the 100 Mile at about a 100 places. The 100 Mile isn't a wilderness, but is still a hell of a backpacking accomplishment, with springs and fords and mountains you won't forget. Blue-blazes too, little Rainbow Mnt and Potywadjo Ridge to add to your hike. A few days south of Baxter you can take a sidetrip to Whitehouse Landing - a throwback sporting camp that'll take you back to Earl Shaffer's day. The beer at Linda's Store at Abol bridge is always extra cold - take two, you've earned it! You also will 'qualify' to stay at the for-long-distance-hikers-only (no reservations taken, but the 12 spots are first come first gets) Birches campsite near Katahdin Stream by having hiked in from Monson. If you spotted a car at Abol Bridge (Buddy can help with that) you can refresh your gear and still hike into the park via the AT. There's a blueblaze behind the Birches that'll loop you right back to Abol Bridge. And if you have the time, there's a pretty nice Mountain at the end of your hike
Have an amazing time, Neil!

02-03-2007, 08:24 PM
2 weeks is cutting it close for the whole state depending on your speed/miles per day and all. It took us 19 days (with 1 zero.....so 18 hiking days) The Trail in Maine is so beautiful, the woods, the open summits, the ponds, the ledgey areas, the moose, even the lack of bridges, it's what makes Maine so rugged and memorable.

There are a good amount of open summits/ledges throughout the state, the backside of Old Speck, Baldpates, Old Blue, Saddlebacks, Bigelows, Barren to name a few, if only for a short while, the views are still pretty sweet. Definately a state to enjoy.

Whiteblaze is a very informative site when it comes to the AT, basically any question you have has been asked and answered somewhere along the way.

I think with 2 weeks, you could comfortably hike from Stratton to Katahdin. Gorham to Stratton is a beautiful section of trail and quieter than the 100 mile wilderness, but you could always come back and hike that on your next vacation! I guess, where ever you pick to hike the Trail in Maine, it'll be great!

02-03-2007, 09:57 PM
I have hiked almost the whole state of Maine along the AT southbound, so I obviously did not end on Katahdin. However, I did the trip mostly as dayhikes with some crazy car shuttles and alot of planning went into these section hike projects. If you go here (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=401) you will find links to all my trip reports and from there links to my complete photo albums which will give you a good idea of what to expect. I think the AT in Maine is alot more than Katahdin and like the others said, "take your time and ENJOY". Maine has alot to offer - waterfalls, mountain summits, lakes lakes and more lakes, throw in a good number of ponds, black flies, swamps and don't forget the river fords, canoe crossing of the Kennebec, Mahoouc Notch - "the toughest mile on the AT and like no other", rock formations, above treeline hiking (Bigelows, Saddleback, Baldpate), some good hospitality in Whitehouse Landing, Monson, Caratunk, Pierce Pond, Stratton, Rangeley, & Andover. Also, follow some of the blue spurs, especially Gulf Hagas, Mt. Abraham, Piazza Rock, Old Speck. Now with all that you can see why Maine is probably the most varied AT hiking experience of any state you go thru.

02-04-2007, 04:33 PM
I think that most thru-hikers require about 3 weeks to hike from Gorham to Katahdin. For them, the 100 miles is about a week.

If you want to good guide to time, look in the AT Guide to Maine. It has estimated hiking times for each section.

02-04-2007, 05:07 PM
There are so many great places in Maine right along the AT, which is one of the reasons I've been adamantly opposed to the Redington fiasco (but that's another thread, isn't it? ;) :) )

Neil, I might be interested in doing part of this with you if my schedule allows. If you go to Maine try and do this...

1. the Bigelow's including the Horns

2. Mt. Katahdin including the Knife's Edge

3. try and hang out in Baxter as long as you can.... definitely do the Mt. Coe, S. and N. Brother loop..... it's incredible with many great views into the Klondike, of Katahdin, etc. Also try to stay at Chimney Pond if you can!

4. Mt. Saddleback

5. the Baldpates

I haven't hiked in the 100 mile wilderness yet but it's on my list of must do trips!

Here are some of my silly pictures.... they don't do Baxter justice but might give some idea......


Early Bird
02-04-2007, 06:07 PM
From personal experience I entered Maine June 29th and summited Katahdin July 16th (2005). My shortest hiking day was 10 miles and my longest was about 23. At this point in my hike I was attempting to prolong the experience, so it certainly could be done in a few less days providing you are in good hiking shape starting out, but merely two weeks with travel time would be tough. There is much to see, do, and enjoy while along the AT in Maine.
The beginning sections of Maine have some beautiful peaks, many aforementioned. Each has some exposed above treeline sections or ledges, but the majority of the hike is below treeline. Once you hit the 100 mile wilderness there are a few more peaks, but then it totally flattens out, and you'll have great swimming holes and lakes to kick back in and some very worthwhile camps to visit or stay in. (Again Harriman's and White House Landing. Shaw's is still in Monson, but under new ownership. It is no longer run by the Shaws.)
The bugs were very bad that time of year. It was the only time I carried and used DEET, which I considered the second most important item in my back- first being food, of course.
Trailjournals in a good place to read about others experiences in this area during various times of year, and it allows you to learn how many days it took one hiker vs another and perhaps why.
Buena suerte (good luck)

02-04-2007, 06:24 PM
I did from Oqquossuc to Monson in ten days with an overnight and resupply (but not zero day) in Stratton. It was GREAT!
IMHO, its the best 120 miles of the Maine AT, you get the tough 32 from Saddleback through the Crockers, followed by the Bigelows (wow!) and then a nice easy walk to Monson with a fun canoe ride across the Kennebec.

I found the first stretch to be tough going, it was raining the whole time and the many stream fjords were daunting. The trail was steep and challenging, in a good way. In most days, I could have gone a few more miles comfortably, but that often meant another mountain to climb, so I chose to stick around the 12 mile mark each day.

Also, from NH to Andover is a sweet walk.

And then there is the 100 mile Wilderness, which I have yet to complete.

The Maine AT is just beautiful, Neil, you will LOVE it! And, as with much of the AT, there are so many wonderful people connected to it -- you can't help but fall in love with the trail community surrounding the AT!

02-04-2007, 06:39 PM
Neil, I did that in two sections due to time constraints. As someone suggested above I too split the trail at Caratunk. The raw data from my journal, this was fifteen years ago and I suspect some relos have had an impact. But from Caratunk to NH ( Near Gorham ) where the trail exits the Mahoosucs, it is appx 141 miles. I don't have the ascent numbers handy, they are packed up and on the way to the west coast, but as I recall it was greater than you would expect. Something like 49,000 feet.

From Caratunk north to Katahdin much less ascent than in the south. I think the total of the two combined was around 71,000 feet. The distance I recorded was 157.7 miles. I suggest doing half if all you have is two weeks besides you want to do it right. Caratunk, north is absolutely stunning. It is the N-P trail magnified with beautiful lakes much larger than any wild lakes you will find in the Northeast. The remoteness and beauty of the 100 mile wilderness begs to be enjoyed. You cheat yourself if you rush through it. We won't even bring the big K into the equation. Without Katahdin it is still an awesome journey.

The western end, as people of Maine have informed me is the proper term, is far more rugged. The mountains are incredible. True they don't get as high as other NE 4K but they don't lack in sheer beauty. Many of the under 4K mountains are awesome as well. I suspect you will see several that will remind you of Noonmark and the Jays. The Notch? Oh, that is worth the trip by itself. Just mind blowing. My buddy dragged a camcorder through there. Yeah dated old vhs but still wouldn't trade that tape now converted to dvd with its muddy colors for the world. Take your time with this and hog it down is all I can say.