DISTANCE
9.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4169 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

no dogs

hiking
5 months ago

I stayed at Katahdin Stream Campground with my best friend and her cousin during our trip to Maine last month. I was in no way prepared, at least mentally, for the hike we would be embarking on. I love hiking and often go to local trails near my home in south central PA, but I’ve never boulder scrambled or been so challenged before in my life. I’m 20, but I’m definitely not in the best shape and was very nervous for the hike. My best friend planned our entire trip, and made sure I was well prepared for the trek. We all brought about 3 liters of water, food, extra socks, gloves, and layers. We hiked up the Hunt (AT) trail, which we started up around 6:40 on October 16th. The last thing we wanted was to get stuck climbing down the mountain in the dark, but bringing a headlamp or flashlight is a necessity for anyone attempting this hike anyway. But, definitely start early to have as much daylight as you possibly can. My hiking partners were both aware of my abilities, as I was of theirs, and we took breaks and took it slow when needed. There was a very scary point during our ascent though. During the mile long stretch of steep rock scrambling, it got quite foggy and windy and I began wondering whether it was worth it. I was actually scared for my life and in tears at one point, and I began realizing we’d have to not only go up this trail, but also come down it. Along the way, we met many other hikers, all of whom said they’d be taking the Abol trail down to avoid the harsh wind hitting the Hunt trail, so we’d decided to do the same. Every time we thought we must be near the peak, there were more rocks to climb. But, after what seemed like forever, we finally saw it. We reached Baxter Peak in about 5.5/6 hours. All 3 of us had a thin layer of ice on the left side of our bodies, our hair was frozen, and my nose ring definitely had ice hanging from it. It couldn’t have been more than 10 degrees F at the summit, maybe even less with the wind chill. But after all the climbing, we definitely weren’t cold. The fog did clear for us a bit and the sun was shining at the summit, and a wonderful older gentlemen that we met on the way up actually waited for us to take our picture with the sign. I then took his picture, which was special as this was his final trek on the AT. We took in the amazing views before beginning our descent down the Abol trail, which was steeper than Hunt, but not nearly as windy. It was still terrifying for me, but we took our time as there are many loose rocks down this trail. We completed our hike at Abol Campground at 4:30, well before sunset. The hour long walk on the dirt road back to our campsite was nothing after what we’d just accomplished. I definitely would’ve preferred better weather for our hike, but we could’ve had it much worse. I recommend this to anyone looking for gorgeous views and an exhilarating experience in Maine’s largest wilderness. Definitely do your research on the trails available, know your abilities and limits, and listen to the weather forecast as well. If you prepare and pack well, you’ll have an amazing experience climbing Mt. Katahdin. I can’t wait to come back to Baxter State Park and hike some more!