A week after our tri-state trip, we decided to highpoint Maine
and also New Brunswick, the
nearest Canadian province. Maine
marked the last state within reasonable driving distance of Boston.
Highpoint: MountCarleton Province:
New Brunswick Height: 2690 ft Highpoint #: 1 (for Canada) Date:8/16/2002 Trails: Mount Carleton Trail Distance: 5.6 miles roundtrip Vertical Gain: 900 ft Time Taken: 4 hours Weather: 80s, warm and buggy. Group: JO & BC Comments: We left Boston
at about on Thursday night and
drove straight through to Mt.CarletonProvincialPark.We were thinking of finding somewhere to
camp out, but there was a gate preventing us from entering the park, so as it
was already , it was yet
another night sleeping in JO’s car.It
was pretty humid, so we cracked the windows a bit.Big mistake.BC awoke at
about , and found himself itching
all over.After a dome light was turned
on, we saw several hundred extremely tiny flies eating us alive.We spent the next 2 hours killing as many of
these microscopic bugs as we could, and starting up the car to turn on the A/C
every so often when it got too muggy in the car.At the gate was
opened and we were greeted by a very friendly and beautiful female ranger who
had an endearing accent.The hike was
uneventful, but enjoyable.BC got a
little nauseous later on in the hike, but we just attributed it to not having
slept or ate in the last day or so.After grabbing a snack at the summit, we thundered down the mountain and
headed back to Maine.
BC at the trailhead for Mount Carleton.
The firetower at the summit of Mount Carleton.
Looking east on the way back down from the summit.
Katahdin (BaxterPeak) State:Maine Height: 5267 ft. Highpoint #: 24 Date: 8/17/2002 Trails: Helen Taylor Trail to Knife
Edge Trail on the way up, Saddle Trail to Chimney Pond Trail on the way down Distance: 10 miles roundtrip. Vertical Gain: 4200 ft Time Taken: 11.5 hours Weather: 90s. hot and cloudy. Group: JO & BC Comments: After completing our
successful highpointing adventure in New Brunswick,
we drove back across the Canadian border (where our car was searched again!)
and stayed at a motel near Katahdin. We woke up at
and drove to the park entrance where cars were already lined up. The park opens
at and only lets a certain number
of people in. After the gates opened, we drove down a long dirt road to the
trailhead. It was 4.5 miles to the top along the knife-edge trail we were
taking. We headed out from the Roaring Brook campground up an aggressive slope.
After about 1.2 miles we got our first view of the huge ridge before us. Pretty
high, this was the west side of Katahdin. The path continued straight up to the
top of the main range, along a smaller ridge. This was a steep trail of class 2
scrambling. When we got above tree line, the trail became even steeper, with
some very strenuous sections. When we finally emerged on top of the range, we
could see in front of us the entire knife-edge trail that went along the rim of
Katahdin, over to BaxterPeak
on the other side of the circle. There
was some class 4 climbing right at the get go, in a steep notch between Pamola
and the rest of the Knife-Edge which was pretty cool. The trail followed the
top of the range up and down over loosely piled rocks. The Knife-Edge itself
had some precarious sections, which were terrifically exposed, with really
steep drops on both sides of a couple thousand feet. Eventually we made our way
to the summit, but by then we were running out of water. It was a hot day, and
BC was mowing through his water, and JO lent him one of his bottles. We were
nearly out when we reached the top. There were excellent 360-degree views all
over the place. What an awesome place. This is certainly better than Mitchell
and Rogers. Katahdin is now our favorite. We took our pictures, rested a bit
(we were very beat), and headed back down. Some friendly climbers suggested
that we take the 5.5-mile Saddle Trail down since this was easier and we
wouldn't have to traverse the Knife-Edge again. The trail continued on down the
backside of the range and headed over to a saddle. At the midpoint of the
saddle, the trail headed straight down the slope, eliminating the entire
vertical in one shot. This was miserable. It was hot, we had no water, there
were bugs everywhere, and there was loose dirt on the steep rock we were
standing on. We cascaded, along with the rocks we stepped on, down the mountain
and eventually entered the tree line again and began our long traverse over to
Roaring Brook. We stopped at a pond so BC could fill his water bottles, which he
did even though we had no way to treat it. BC reasoned, “Oh well, giardia sucks, but collapsing from
dehydrations sucks even more.” Giardia
is a parasitic infection that comes from drinking untreated water.With this water and some Gatorade that some
other friendly hikers gave us, we were able to get back to our car around .
This was a long hiking day. From there, we decided that our best option was
just to drive home. We hit some small bumps along the dirt road back to the
park entrance, and when we got back into town, the front left tire decided to
deflate. Fortunately, we had a spare, and BC knew what he was doing, and we
were back on the road in no time. JO drove all the way back at 65 mph (don't
want to push the spare) which meant we didn't get back until
or so. However, with the help of Vivarin, it was no problem. With Maine
done, we had finally completed New England, the eastern
seaboard, and the entire South (except for Texas
if you count that as in the South). Katahdin was a very worthy end to our
Looking up Pamola Ridge, with the Knife-Edge in the
background, extending towards the summit.
BC taking a rest about three quarters of the way up Pamola.
Taking a break on top of Pamola, with people visible
ascending the Knife-Edge in the background.
Baxter Peak, the true summit of Mount Katahdin, from the top
BC walking the tightrope on the Knife-Edge Trail.It’s a loooooooong way down on either side.
JO near the end of the Knife-Edge Trail, about a half-mile
away from the summit.
Remember when I said it was a long way down?If you look down one side of the Knife-Edge,
this is the view.
JO triumphant at the summit of Katahdin.This is the endpoint of the 2100-mile
A less triumphant and more exhausted BC at the summit.