Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park.
Maine’s highest mountain and the source of hiking, camping joy for many. Photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone wanting to be smack dab in the middle of nature all return again and again to Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park.
This Maine blog post is to highlight Mt Katahdin, the dream of Governor Percival Baxter ad the jewel for so many in love with her majesty.
First off the facts about Mt Katahdin, the corner stone of Baxter State Park.
Mt Katahdin is horse shoe shaped, with five separate granite peaks.
Howe Peak (North Howe is 4612′, South Howe is 4734′). Pamola Peak is 4912′. Hamlin Peak is 4751′. Baxter Peak is 5267′ and Mount Katahdin’s highest point.
I learned early in my childhood about the wonder of Mt Katahdin at Baxter State Park.
My parents bought a JC Higgin’s canvas tent and along with my three older brothers, the family would go on sleep overs at Baxter State Park.
We all had jobs from setting up the tent with the front screen “porch”, gathering fire wood, helping prepare or clean up camp fire meals. Mt Katahdin herself only represents about 16% of the hiking trails at Baxter State Park.
Like I did with my four kids, as a little shaver Horse Mountain was the first peak to conquer.
Slowly working the way up to the main attraction, Mt Katahdin which means “Greatest Mountain” named by the Penobscot Indian Nation.
You don’t just hop off a couch and decide to climb Mt Katahdin.
Starting off slowly on a smaller elevation before tackling Mt Katahdin is a safe idea. Plan on an 8 to 12 hour day of climbing, rest and snack stops.
Mt Katahdin is the first stop on Appalachian Trail heading north to south.
Ending up in Georgia, nearly 2200 miles away. Mt Katahdin is not a easy climb.
Nearly vertical and twisting with granite boulders. there are places on Abol Trail with metal bars to grab and maneuver around, over or under giant rocks that make up Mt Katahdin.
Before you plan you day of climbing Mt Katahdin or any of the trails, make sure these hiking considerations are covered in your group preparations.
Secure a parking reservation. Here’s how to get hold of the folks at Baxter State Park for any climb, your dream of tackling Mt Katahdin. Check your local weather forecast for the Baxter Park area. The park rules limit your party size to a dozen hikers.
Stay on the trails to avoid being mentioned in search and rescue headlines in the local newspapers.
If you are not at the peak of say Mt Katahdin by mid afternoon, plan to reverse your direction and begin the trail climb descent. Being caught up on a Maine mountain of any size in the dark is not the memorable adventure most are seeking. It’s all about safety first, middle and last on your climb up Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park.
For every five children, there must be an adult connected to the buddy system of trail climb hiking in Baxter State Park.
Making it back to the base camp should always be your goal, not reaching the top of Mt Katahdin.
Register your climb at the base trail head. Stay on the trail. Remember before anything else, get your parking reservation. If you don’t have a place to park, you aren’t going hiking that day. If the weather is unsafe, the hiking climb is not going to happen either. There are 82 trails at Baxter State Park and over 220 miles of out of this World hiking adventures ahead.
The incredible views that you slow by sure work for that take time and determination are part of the fun.
Seeing wildlife, experiences the smells of fresh fir and pine, feeling and hearing the breeze around you. Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park is not a once and done check off of a bucket list item.
Mt Katahdin especially, South Branch Pond, Knife’s Edge… they all grab your heart strings and you can not shake loose. The toughest trail, Cathedral. The easiest hiking trail on Mt Katahdin? Saddle trail but the most roundabout to pick.
Whatever the approach to climbing, plan and expect to at least chew up 10 hours or more in your hike of Mt Katahdin. Knife’s Edge with 2000′ vertical drops on a trail that narrows to only four feet wide is something you will never forget. But your hiking squad, the team. Anyone with fear of heights? Wobbly on bad knees or bad back?
The connection at the top of Mt Katahdin peering out in all directions after traversing the table land, above the tree line, is like no other natural setting.
Mt Katahdin and her distance north to travel makes the other hikers you meet more dedicated, more committed. Mt Washington is way way closer to attract the Boston area of population.
No matter how many times you have climbed Mt Katadhin, the feeling of accomplishment, the thrill of what sticking with something surrounded by jaw dropping views everywhere you look never dull. Preparing your year’s vacation in Maine and looking for ideas? Carry in, carry out. Tread lightly on your Mt Katahdin Mountain climb. Have the utmost respect for nature, the wildlife. your surroundings.
Maine Governor Baxter donated the park, here is his dream.
The element of danger combined with winds, precipitation making rocks slippery are part of the emotional build up working your way to ply the trails of Mt Katahdin at Baxter State Park.
Seeing your kids continue the climb up Mt Katahdin and exploring sections of Baxter State Park for return trips. Watching the older ones helping the younger ones hike up the trails. Knowing this introduction to Baxter State Park is a big part of living here and enjoying Maine. It is hard to explain or put into words the admiration for what Governor Percival Baxter envisioned for the local and out of state people visiting Maine.
Hiking trails in Maine.
Which ones to pick and put into combination for your hike in Maine?
Hunt, Dudley, Helon Taylor Trails, Chimney Pond, South Branch Pond too are all places you never forget once you experience them first hand. You don’t do the trails alone. Plenty of wildlife to meet along the trail hikes. From snowshoe rabbits to bigger size Maine moose and white tail deer.
Where you park and start your hike is not always the same place you will finish your day at Baxter State Park.
How you get from where you start the climb and end it is part of the planning too. My family has had a park ranger say hop in, climb on the back. To ferry the tired but excited bunch of hikers back to our vehicle. Where the talk is totally about the hike, what kind of day we all had and how it compared to past trail experiences.
Before long, the discussion all about when to return to Baxter State Park for a day trip visit. Or longer time cut out of the calendar for an overnight camping trip plans are formulated.
Download the trail maps for Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park.
Plan you next trip to be a mile high in the sky or somewhere else along the trails surrounding your day or longer at Baxter State Park. Pick up the $20 trail Guide to Katahdin, Hiking Baxter State Park. Don’t waste the natural resource splendor of Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park! Exercise, being unplugged and outdoors recharging your mental batteries is why we live or visit Maine.
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