Highpoint Adventures: The Complete Guide to the 50 State Highpoints
by Charlie & Diane Winger (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
© 2002 Charlie & Diane Winger/Colorado Mountain Club Press. All Rights Reserved.
The Hunt Trail from Katahdin Stream campground is probably the best sampling of the Baxter profile. Less than 5 mi. trail length, but everything along the way from great forest walks to waterfalls to gulp-inducing bouldering up the spine of the mt. Definitely worth some conditioning for anyone not used to this kind of elevation gain, but on this August Tues. we saw everyone from 70+ year old ladies to Amish teens rock-hopping across the knife edge in granny dresses to hikers at the end of a 3 month AT traverse. The trail is well-marked, which is a great help, esp. when mindful of Thoreau’s attempt to bushwhack up (he never made it!) that cost him a sprained ankle and no doubt a good deal of transcendental cussin’ in the process. This is a harder hike (and shorter) than the Roaring Brook/Chimney Pond approach, but much prettier & with fantastic views off to the S and E once you get above the tree line. Unless you’re quite experienced, plan on leaving by 8 a.m. to ensure return before dinner.
We went up the Abol Trail (shorter, but steeper than Hunt) and down the Hunt. Both trails were fantastic. We went in July, and only saw one other hiking party on the way up - two obviously freqent hiker dudes, who left us in the dust. A strenuous hike, frequent very short breaks help.
The Hunt, the trail down, had more people, all of whom we met on their way up as we were coming down. Many of these groups included some who were not going to make it up, nor should they have been attempting the climb. The factors included out of shape to too young. One family had a kid about 7 or 8 years old who was freaking out big time. They were far enough up that he was going to have struggle to get back down. They were also faced with a teenage girl who made it clear she'd rather be at the mall. Physical ability, plus a desire to do the cliimb are musts for this to be fun.
The entire climb and descent took us about 7 hours. We didn't spend much time at the top, as it was foggy and we stuck to the white markers on the rocks like glue. We did get a couple of breaks in the fog to appreciate the scenery along the ways up and down. If scenery is your main reason to get up there, don't count on it. Fog and clouds can roll in at a moment's notice.
If you camp at the park, ask for Ranger Tom Bell - he is the greatest! He took care of the the Abol Stream Campground the night we stayed there, and was efficient and friendly, and offered us a lot of great advice, along with some fantastic stories of some of his adventures.
Awesome hike. We got really lucky with the weather, warm, sunny and mostly clear skies. Camped at Katahdin Stream camp site, and got on the Hunt trail by 7:00 am. Interesting and challenging trail. A lot of scrambling, some of it bordering on almost impossible for us with short legs! We got a leg up from a friendly through hiker at one particular scramble. He was finishing the AT which he'd started back in February! Everyone on the trail was friendly with good camaraderie. Some parts of trail will leave you feeling a bit exposed (if heights bother you), but not really scary drops. Just watch your footing. Bring light gloves because your hands will get scratched up, as well as bare legs. Fantastic views as you proceed up the ridge. Easy walk once you're on the table land. Baxter Peak was busy, but there was a good feeling about the place! The views are EXCEPTIONAL. Changed our minds about doing the knife edge when we saw it! And felt like wimps when we saw a bunch of young school kids heading over - no fear. We went back down on the Hunt trail. Whole round trip journey took us 9 Hr 30 mins, including a 30 minute stay at the summit. A challenge to go back down the boulders, but we heard it was easier/safer than the Abol trail. Hunt is so much fun that you won't feel tired! Do bring plenty of water. Leaving the park we had the good fortune to see a moose! All-in-all, the best hike we've done. Hightly recommended.
Went up the Hunt Trail, up the Hunt Spur, and got stopped just before Table Land by weather. Challenging, but very doable, hike, with lichen-covered boulder field posing a bit of a risky area. Above the treeline and through a boulder field, just before table land, ~800 feet from Baxter Peak, the weather turned treacherous. Strong winds, a sideways cold rain, and hard-hitting hail ended our climb and forced our retreat. Definitely want to bring, gloves for your palms, an anorak, widepants, maybe even a winter cap to be best prepared. Great views. Awesome challenge!
good challenge for the not as fit as they thought teens.
Beautiful views and just challenging enough for mom. (I do martial arts 5 hours every day) We spent 71/2 hours up and down with a leisurely pace and lots of breaks just to enjoy our surroundings. The boulder field was lots of fun. We learned that bare legs will get scraped and if you are going to slide down the boulders etc. you might consider denim. The kids (15 and 14) want to bring thier friends next time.
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