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Thread: Katahdin Route

  1. #1
    Junior Member ADKSherpa's Avatar
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    Question Katahdin Route

    My first post here, so take is easy on me...

    Last summer a few friends and I went to New Hampshire to take on a Presidential Range Traverse and fell in love with the low treelines, alpine meadows and rocky ridges that are so much rarer in our hometown Adirondacks. We've been taking trips for the last few summers and this yea,r for something new and in order to somewhat round out the Northeast before college next year, we're looking at driving up to Katahdin for a 2 night-er.

    Anyway, it's a little different, as I'm discovering, from past trips. The whole reservation thing is new and in order to get it together for some time this summer, we probably need to get on that fairly soon (April is 4 months from August). In coming up with a route, we have an interesting situation in that we need to drive nine hours on either end of the trip and 3 days is really our max. As of now, here's what I've got...

    Day One: Drive from New York, hike in to Chimney Pond.
    Day Two: Up the Dudley Trail to Pamola (pronounced like the name?), along the Knife Edge around South and Baxter, in and out of the saddle and up to Hamlin. Quick out and back to Howe Peaks and back to Hamlin and down the Hamlin Ridge Trail, returning to Chimney Pond.
    Day Three: Back out to Roaring Brook and drive another 9 hours home.

    I guess I'm just wondering what people with a little more experience in the region think. We love the idea of doing the whole mountain/massif/range and the mileages work out to be actually pretty easy, comparatively. If theres anything anyone could tell me to make me a little more familiar with the terrain and what we should expect in Katahdin, specifically, that would be awesome. I do a ton of research so I think I've got a good idea but I love all the little aspects and ideas. Also, if theres anything about the reservation system that might not be online or that comes from experience, I'd love to hear it.

    I know, I know, everyone says to take it slow and enjoy more of the trails and spend more time there. Believe me, I want to and I definitely plan on getting back in the future but being 9 hours away, who knows when that is. Plus, we do like to push ourselves a little on these trips and pack as much in as possible. Either way, if anyone has any suggestions or comments, I'm all ears. Thanks a ton in advance!

    Ryan

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Welcome to VFTT.

    I've only been once, in February, and we decided to use a guide service (Acadia Mountain Guides) which made the permits and certain logistics much easier. A service certainly is not needed but these guys are cheap enough with a few people in your group, they might be worth calling and getting a quote. Good luck. Beautiful area.
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    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    That sounds plenty feasible, and would make for a fantastic trip (barring bad weather). The second day is certainly ambitious, but if you start early and are strong hikers, it can be done.

    On the hike out, take a little side trip to Sandy Stream Pond for a great panoramic view of the range.
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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    If you are worried about the logistics, you can just show up at the gate (very early!) and do a day hike. I've done this several times.
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    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknblue View Post
    On the hike out, take a little side trip to Sandy Stream Pond for a great panoramic view of the range.

    And a good chance of seeing a moose or two or three.. :-)

    Jay
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
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    the first day sounds ambitious to me but in case you ended up staying at Roaring Brook , you can take the Helon Taylor trail to Pamola the next day and still complete your hike on the remaining itinerary, kind of....with backpacks.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    You're talking about a summer trip, I take it

    The problem I see with that plan is that you are counting on the middle day being good enough for the summit/knife edge to be open - it would be better to plan 4 days which would maybe double your chances

    Second, reservations at Chimney Pond are hard to get - you might find it easier to camp at Roaring Brook and do the loop as a day hike and that would give you flexibility to hike elsewhere if the summit is closed

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoySwkr View Post
    You're talking about a summer trip, I take it

    The problem I see with that plan is that you are counting on the middle day being good enough for the summit/knife edge to be open - it would be better to plan 4 days which would maybe double your chances

    Second, reservations at Chimney Pond are hard to get - you might find it easier to camp at Roaring Brook and do the loop as a day hike and that would give you flexibility to hike elsewhere if the summit is closed
    My thoughts exactly.
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    Senior Member MadRiver's Avatar
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    Our group is on our 8th year at Baxter and your trips seems doable. I do have one question, what do you mean by in and out of the saddle? If you mean just crossing the junction of the Saddle as you head to Hamlin, and then to Howe that is fine. If you mean head down Saddle, then head up Hamlin, then you lost me.

    I agree with RoySwkr about the Knife Edge, it took about three tries before I had the weather that allowed me to cross safely. Keep in mind, unlike the Whites, Baxter will shut down the mountain to Everyone if the weather is bad, so have a plan B. We spent a week in Baxter several years ago with the moutain closed. There are other great hikes, but if you are counting on just that itinerary you might be disappointed.
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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADKSherpa View Post
    My first post here, so take is easy on me...
    Welcome to the jungle! We got fun and games ...

    You're pressing your luck and travel time to get to Baxter and Roaring Brook by ... what at least used to be... cut off time (5 PM) for heading up to Chimney Pond. Better, as others have said, to take it slow because you can't hurry on Park roads (20 mph) and there is so much there that more time on your hands is better than not enough. An early arrival with a trip to Sandy Pond or South Turner would be better than a late arrival and sure disapppointment.

    You are at the mercy of the weather so be flexible. There is a lot you can do with only one night at Chimney Pond but if you can work in an extra day, go for it, because it is a long haul from NY and weather can be a factor and they do close trails.

    Enjoy!

  11. #11
    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADKSherpa View Post
    Day One: Drive from New York, hike in to Chimney Pond.
    Day Two: Up the Dudley Trail to Pamola (pronounced like the name?), along the Knife Edge around South and Baxter, in and out of the saddle and up to Hamlin. Quick out and back to Howe Peaks and back to Hamlin and down the Hamlin Ridge Trail, returning to Chimney Pond.
    Day Three: Back out to Roaring Brook and drive another 9 hours home.
    Welcome to VFFT.
    I suggest getting a spot at Roaring Brook for two nights.
    Day One: Crash at the campground after checking Sandy Stream Pond for moose. Bring binoculars, you can see the summit sign from the pond. Talk with the ranger about an itinerary.
    Day Two: Start well before first light to beat the conga line of climbers spilling out of the vans that were parked at the gate. Seriously, hit the trail at 0400. If it's a Class One day, you'll enjoy your dawn til dusk day on the mountain. Campfire and beers from the cooler in your car, nice way to finish the day.
    Day Three: Sleep in, be rested for that drive home.
    Pick up your feet!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    The drive can be a real drag, It's about that that long from CT. I'd also consider adding a day. Not sure getting to Howe peaks adds much to your views & they aren't on any peakbagging lists. (The views from Hamlin down into the basins & back over at Knife Edge are great.)

    If you can't get Chimney pond Spots, doing Helon Taylor, across KE, over Baxter & Hamlin & back to the car is doable as a day trip. If the day is projected to be stellar, I'd reverse it though. (We didn't which meant we arrived at Baxter peak with the forementioned conga lines)

    If you get spots in BSP great, drive in & just get that done. Can also drive as far as Millinocket on day one, get a good meal & a good nights sleep in a local motel & get an early start on day two. If weather is good, hit the main peaks. If not, there is another 4,000 to climb along with three other peaks on the NE 100 highest list, also many other peaks not on any list, The view from South Turner (past Sandy Stream Pond) is great providing the main peak is not sitting in the fog.

    Your last day with the drive can probably combined with a little more than three miles out from Chimney Pond & the drive home. If at the Roaring Brook lot, it's an easy walk to Sandy Stream Pond & not too hard to get up South Turner.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    South Turner is a great "little" peak on the east side. Sentinel Mtn is a greal "little" peak on the west side. Both gives you great views of both sides of Katahdin...

    Jay
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  14. #14
    Senior Member TJ aka Teej's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    The view from South Turner (past Sandy Stream Pond) is great providing the main peak is not sitting in the fog.
    The view: http://whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/show...&imageuser=314
    Pick up your feet!

  15. #15
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Great recommendations so far. Just have one to add:

    You might want to check out Blueberry Knoll, if you desire an "easy" day, or want a slightly longer, but more interesting return trip from Chimney Pond to the Roaring Brook parking lot. It is a very cool and unique place off the beaten path. Highly recommended.

    Hope you have a great time!

    Marty
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