Monday, June 13, 2005

Blake & Mike at Mt. Katahdin

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY BLAKE'S DAD: The two hikers left CT on Thursday 2June05 for the drive to Baxter State Park in Maine. The drive up (courtesy of Blake's dad) was only interrupted by a stop in Freeport, ME at the LL Bean store. A motel in Millinocket, ME -- about 16 miles from the park -- was to be their base of operations for two nights.

On Friday 3June, they were in their car at the entrance to Baxter State Park at 5:00 a.m. This early arrival -- gates opened at 6 -- was to ensure that there would be availability to secure a parking space at a desired trailhead inside the park. This park is one of the few in the country that strictly limits who gets in, and if a certain parking area is desired, and it's full, then you are TURNED AWAY AT THE GATE!!

The 9 mile drive from the gate to the Abol camp area and the Abol trail -- parking spaces for day hikers is limited to 18 cars -- took a short time and by 6:30 a.m. Blake, his dad, and Mike were on the trail to Mt. Katahdin. The weather was in the 70’s and bight sunshine and they only shared one day-pack among themselves with water, snacks, and camera. The first half mile was on upward sloping ground through thick stands of trees and evergreens and that was followed by 2 hours of uphill movement through a ravine/slide area that ran up the southeast corner of the mountain. Once the tree line was passed, the black flies and their friends left them alone. A large, glacially eroded flat area a few hundred feet below the summit was the first horizontal movement in hours. There were fields of snow around and, of course, a mini-snowball fight ensued.

The top of Mt. Katahdin was beautiful in its simplicity and since it juts up almost by itself, the views in every direction were incredible. The hike up had been on the Abol trail as it was the only one open to the summit. All other trails, including the actual Appalachian Trail’s HUNT TRAIL, were still listed as not open and off-limits to all hikers by Park Rangers. The Abol Trail (blue blaze marks) merges with the Hunt Trail (white blazes) on the aforementioned flats, and after resting on the summit, the boys decided to descend the mountain by the Hunt Trail. The return was longer by over a mile, but the white blaze marks provided direction in the areas where not even a discernable trail was evident.

Upon arrival back at the Katahdin Streams Campground, Blake and Mike were told that they were the first south bounders this season to use the Hunt Trail from atop Katahdin! Not a bad way to start their trek to Georgia.

Late Friday afternoon, the three hikers used the motel’s hot tub to loosen up sore muscles, had pizza in town, and were asleep by 9:00 p.m. On Saturday 4June, the two were driven pack to the Katahdin Stream Camp Grounds, and after one picture pose for Blake’s dad, the two were off into the 100 Mile Wilderness.


At 4:33 PM, Blogger Eventidecu said...

You go boys! We'll all be pulling for ya down here and when you get around the Smokey's post your itenarry and I'll pick you up somewhere and tote you to dinner and laundry or whatever you need. My e mail is and I'll be looking for you. Be safe and God speed!


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