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 Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN 
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 Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN
As I mentioned in The Baxter Report :wink: , I hiked Katahdin on the 4th. But here's
the brief recap. I headed up on the 3rd to stay in Millinocket for 2 nights. Only planning
on hiking on the 4th. Katahdin was my only goal for the 3 days I'd be up there. As it
turned out, I hiking all 3, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Sunday the 3rd was Mt. Chase, a
great warm-up. :)

Even though I had a DUPR for Roaring Brook, I didn't know how busy the park would be so
I headed out early. I arrived at the gate at 5 AM to be second in line. OK. Put the seat back
take a nap. :D The gate opened promptly at 6 and with that, I signed in at the ranger station
at 6:45 and was on my way. On my trip to Chimney Pond last year, I stopped at all the view
points along the way and got great shots. So I planned to skip them all, including Chimney Pond
since I wanted to save time and I couldn't do any better on the pictures. Since I opted for my
lighter PnS for this trip. But alas, it's impossible for me to bypass a view.

First the bald spot just before Basin Ponds.
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Then Basin Ponds.
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And Dry Pond.
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Lastly, Chimney Pond.
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I decided I wanted the most bang for my buck on this hike (excluding The Knife Edge :shock: ),
so my route was going to be up the Cathedral Tr. and down Hamlin Ridge. So off I went to the
Cathedrals.

Crap! What have I done? :roll:
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The scrambling starts in that mini fan in the above photo. My photos don't give you a good
idea of how steep and tough this trail is. For the most part it's scrambling over huge boulders.
And if you don't follow exactly where the blazes are, you can find yourself at a point you can't
go forward without taking a chance of falling in the cracks. There was one spot where you hit
a large head height ledge with a pile of rocks leaning up against it as a step. there were 2 women there,
one of which was on these rocks trying to proceed with no luck. They finally said, you can go pass. I
got up fairly easily then asked if they'd like a hand. The one who was struggling accepted.
The other manged on her own. Funny thing is, after moving on, I remembered Becky talking
about that very spot from last year. Anyway, here's some shots heading up. This was definitely tough
climbing.

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Finally at the top of the Cathredrals
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Next, a few hundreds yards of scree to walk in. A rolled ankle just waiting to happen. :?
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A couple more junctions and 4.5 hours from the start, success. :D
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I wasn't even half way mileage wise at this point so I only hung around on Baxter for
about 20 minutes. A couple protein bars and Gatorade helped me regain some life. And
with that on to Hamlin.

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And 2 hours from arriving at Baxter, Hamlin. I have to give up the Hi-Def selfies. Yikes! :( 8)
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Now, I had more knee busting boulder hopping, descending the Hamlin Ridge Trail.
Again, the photos don't tell the tale.
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North Basin. Very awesome looking.
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Looking back.
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Seeming never ending as was my ascent.
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Moving along to my only screw up of the day.
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Here, I wanted to go left. Where I wanted to go is clearly on the sign. Blueberry Knoll. It's at the base of
North Basin and I assume affords a spectacular view up said basin. That, and the Basin Cut-Off sounded nice.
But, for what ever reason, I went right. Not realizing my goof until I hit the Chimney Pond Trail. :roll: I was really
pissed too because there's really no way to work it in to a future hike as the trail dead-ends at Blueberry Knoll. :(

So off on the wonderfully boring, and ridiculously rocky, CPT. But did stop one more time for a
look. I just can't help myself. 8)
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10 hours later, back at the ranger station to sign out.
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I don't know if it's my age since I started hiking or last years injuries and lack of hiking,
but this is by far the toughest hike I've done. If I had to compare it, it was similar to ascending
Washington via Huntington Ravine and descending Nelson Crag. But far more strenuous.
But great temps and a stiff breeze, made this much easier than Becky had it last year.

Having said that, it's perhaps the most spectacular hike I've done as well.

Click Pik 4 Pix Yes, there's a lot. :D
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Last edited by JustJoe on Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:53 am
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 Re: Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN
Your timeliness in posting this couldn't be worse - half of my workday is about to be lost to your post.
Awesome pics!

I one-hundred percent agree with your "NOPE!"

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Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:55 am
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 Re: Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN
I haven't done Cathedral trail, but I agree, doing both Katahdin peaks is one of the tougher hikes out there. I did these a few years ago with 2 other people during one of the yearly "Baxter Bash" trips I've gone to a few times with old hiking friends. We went up Hamlin Ridge trail (can't even imagine going down that trail!) and hit Hamlin first. Then we crossed the saddle and went up to Baxter Peak. Our intention was to go back down to the saddle and down the Saddle trail, but when we left Baxter peak, a little fog had come in, and we were gabbing away, and we went in the wrong direction. For quite a while, it turned out. I realized it when I looked down and saw some string roping off a re-vegetation area, which I hadn't seen on the way up. We had been going down the Hunt trail. This mistake probably added close to 1.5 miles to an already-long hike, and I was not happy. By the time we got down the Saddle trail (not exactly an easy trail either) and were on the Chimney Pond trail, I was already pretty beat, and it's still about 3 miles out on Chimney Pond trail, and it feels like it goes on forever. I got ahead of my hiking partners and at one point I passed another hiker, she must have felt it was tough too because she said "I feel like I'm in hell!". :lol:

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:48 am
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 Re: Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN
BobC wrote:
Our intention was to go back down to the saddle and down the Saddle trail, but when we left Baxter peak, a little fog had come in, and we were gabbing away, and we went in the wrong direction. For quite a while, it turned out. I realized it when I looked down and saw some string roping off a re-vegetation area, which I hadn't seen on the way up. We had been going down the Hunt trail. This mistake probably added close to 1.5 miles to an already-long hike, and I was not happy. By the time we got down the Saddle trail (not exactly an easy trail either) and were on the Chimney Pond trail, I was already pretty beat, and it's still about 3 miles out on Chimney Pond trail, and it feels like it goes on forever. I got ahead of my hiking partners and at one point I passed another hiker, she must have felt it was tough too because she said "I feel like I'm in hell!". :lol:


I added at least that to hike hike once. But not nearly as long and tough a hike.
Doing it on that hike. I think I'd be more than just unhappy. :wink:

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:26 pm
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 Re: Hiking Maine's Emerald on the 4th of July.....KATAHDIN
Thanks for the report. I actually screen-shot it and read it around the fire this week when I had no service in Acadia. :D Sounds like a fun trail, and since its Katahdin obviously the scenery is to die for, or maybe not, since you skipped the knife edge! :wink: If you ever want to go back for it let me know. I could use some of the blue skies you carry around with you all the time. Haven't met many people get who don't agree with you that Katahdin (using the "better" trails) is one of if not the most spectacular hike in the east.


Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:32 pm
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