One of my favorite hikes of all time. Did the Hamlin Peak/Baxter Peak/Knife Edge loop from the campground. What a great day!
Good times with four good friends...quite crowded...fun scramble, long descent
Definitely the best hike I've done on the East Coast. Hiked up the Saddle Pass Trail and down the knife edge. Fun hike and nice to finally find a mountain above the ridgeline east of the Mississippi.
The hike took right around 9 hours flat. We went up Saddle, then went across the Knife Edge and down Helon-Taylor. Took 2 small breaks: the first at the Chimney Pond view right by the water and the second at the summit to make and enjoy a Mountain House meal. We were encompassed by clouds soon after heading up Saddle and all the way until about a third into our decent down Helon-Taylor.
We went up Helon Taylor to Knife Edge, down the Saddle Trail and back to Roaring Brook. There was rime ice all along the Knife Edge, and the weather was great. We took a very leisurely pace and did the loop in about 8 hours. The authorities were out in force, no thanks to Scott Jurek, but were not particularly helpful.
After being bullied by several park rangers we started at 1 oclock pm from Roaring Brook trailhead and it took us only 3 hours to make up to the top via Cathedral. It was a gorgeous hike. 4000 feet of elevation gain - about half of it on the 1.5 mile stretch on the cathedral ridge. We spent nearly an hour on top and took a leisurely pace back down the saddle trail to see some different scenery. Katahdin is a cool mountain and I'll be back to backpack through some of the other part of the park some day for sure.
The rangers must be used to all sorts of inexperienced people trying to hike this mountain. Here are a few things they were very adamant about telling us before we hiked to make sure we knew that Katahdin is the roughest and toughest mountain in the world:
-You CANNOT start hiking after noon.
-You must have a headlamp and a backup headlamp.
-Katahdin WILL kick your @$$.
-They don't move rocks off the trail like on some trails back west.
-It WILL take you 8-12 hours.
-It doesn't matter how many 4k+ foot elevation gain mountains you have hike before because they aren't the same as a Katahdin 4 thousand feet gain."
My thoughts as I hiked Katahdin in 7 hours at a leisurly pace well past their cut-off time on a beautiful bluesky afternoon:
-There are more signs in this park than any trail system I've seen in any part of Utah.
-There are nearly as many rangers and ranger stations in this area as a National Park.
-There are at least 3 places you register or checkin/checkout.
-There were all sorts of volunteers wearing hard hats (probably working on trails).
-The trails are marked by Color Coded Spray paint rectangles and arrows every 10 feet.
-Once up above tree line there are 5-6 foot cairns every 10-20 feet with the color coded spray paint in between the cairns in case you can't see the carins.
-There are many boardwalks any time it gets marshy.
-There are bridges across streams.
-There are huts you can rent to camp in at the half-way mark if 4 miles is too much for you to handle in one day or if you want to acclimatize at 2400 feet for a few nights before a summit push.
-It felt like a normal 4000 foot elevation gain mountain.
-The trees and understory grow in so thick in Maine that it would be nearly impossible to get off-trial.
Just as a disclaimer to this:
We were not being irresponsible hikers starting at 1:00 pm. We had been checking weather reports for days. We had turn-around times if it got too late. We had plans for bad weather. We would have been fine going back down and camping if things got ugly. We had the 10 Essentials and some non-essential gear with us. Katahdin is a serious mountain, no doubt, but not any more serious than any other mountain I've been on.
after about three hours of steady rain. I summitted an hour later and got occasional great views from the top between cloud cover. A fun, challenging solo climb across the Saddle trail. The park and area in general is just so remote and beautiful. Due to the rain the ranger advised me against the Knife Edge and Cathedral (especially going down) but I still had an outstanding eight hour hike. #22 and done with the East.
After missing the turnoff to Baxter SP and driving about 25 miles out of my way, I made my way back and had a great day hiking up to Katahdin. Great weather and views!
Solo hike of Katahdin up Abol Slide, across Knife Edge and descending via Helon Taylor trail. Perfect weather. Hitched a ride back to Abol Campground with a van full of Amish from Iowa.
Hiked this with a big group of friends (under 12 of course…). Beautiful weather and a great, challenging hike.
Camped a couple of days to bird and hike. Bagged the peak and got a Bicknell's Thrush along the way!
Bushwhacked a gulley/rock scramble route from Chimney Pond and descended Cathedral. Beautiful weather and isolation until the summit crowds. Highpoint #25.
By the Hunt trail.
Hiked up the saddle trail in the rain (plus it had been raining for days prior). Trail was basically a river/waterfall. Not fun!
We hiked into Chimney Pond in the rain and suffered through thunderstorms all night, but the dawn brought clear skies and high winds (50mph) so we opted not to do the knife edge. We did Baxter Peak and then the clouds covered the summit and we headed over to Hamlin. The wind blew the clouds away toward afternoon and we enjoyed the view into the basin as we hunkered out of the wind and had lunch. No one else opted the Hamlin Ridge trail so we had it all to ourselves. Great day.
Up the Helon to Knifes Edge, down the saddle and Chimney Pond trails. Helon is a gorgeous hike, noted by big rocks jutting from the trail and lined by trees native to the area. The Knife's edge was beautiful, but much easier than anticipated. Be careful to pass any inexperienced hikers with caution. A beautiful day, warm 60degrees 10mph winds, clear skies- I couldn't have asked for a better day. I also spotted a moose who calmly drank from the same stream as I cooled my hands near the Roaring brook parking lot (about a mile in) Amazing hike all in all!
We summited Katahdin on the Hunt Trail. Very demanding hike, 5 1/2 hours up and 5 1/2 hours down. 60 degrees at the start, sweating like pigs in no time. However, the weather cooperated the whole way, probably mid 40's at the summit. My wife was 15 hours round trip.
Some points: 1) You need to secure a permit ***on-line***. We thought you just needed to show up early but they were already full for our Saturday (fortunately, there were permits available for Sunday). 2) 2 quarts was not enough. We actually stashed a 3rd quart at the falls but somebody pinched them. If you try this, hide your stash really well. 3) The holds and boulder scrambling can be very difficult if you're short. 4) There is no water at the trail head, bring extra in your car. 5) Bring your headlamp! I know, I know, you won't need it, but it's completely dark after sunset, no hiking possible without a light, and stuff does happen. 6) If you happen to encounter locked gates at the park (we did), there's an emergency release.
I would like to thank my employer for (unknowingly) sending me on business trips that just happen to be near state Highpoints :) Kathadin was one of those. Questionable weather reports initially almost lead me to not venture out. But as I got closer to the trailhead it was just overcast. Abol trail closed for the season so I took the Hunt trail up and down. On the way down the rain appeared and held on for most of the descent. One bonus was that I never had to break out the bug spray or sunscreen! Luckily the rental car had heated seats so that I could warm up my butt on the way back to the hotel! Highpoint #16
Climbed it via the Knife Edge route. Very windy but I pressed on anyways. Not for the faint of heart! Dramatic exposure. Loved it. Probably my favorite part of my hike to the Whites. Descended the Hunt/AT
The icing on the top of a great week of backpacking trip with my brother. Grey and blowing up top, but great memories!