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 Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
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 Re: Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge
Walrus wrote:
Last time I was in the park (9/4/13) we got to the gate, said where we wanted to park(RB) and they said "cool" and sent us on our way. Didn't have to describe plans or talk about gear or anything like that. Didn't bother with the reservation because a week out only like 5 out of 40 spots were taken. I think I said somewhat recently that a lot of the restrictions in the park have been relaxed in recent years, but it seems that the general hiking community has not been informed.

I haven't done a day trip into the park before, but that jives with my experience. They just check where you are going, if there is space there off you go (or if you have a reservation you're all set already) after they write up your pass. I've had no issues with the park/restrictions unlike some folks, part of that might be due to the easing of some restrictions, but I think most of it is actually reading the rules before going...which is always a good idea.

Interesting point about the fact you only need someone with a ME license in the car, I hadn't heard that but it makes more sense in a way.

GraniteGuy, I had forgotten about the Toque Pond center, or whatever it is. I think that is where a lot of folks go to swim. It looks like it is only a few tenths of a mile from the main gate (1/2-mile at most), but I too don't think it is open that early, and as it is before the gate I don't know what additional issues that might introduce, if any, for getting inside.

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Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:09 am
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:03 pm
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 Re: Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge
The rangers were very nice when we were there in 2011 too. When I signed the trail register at Roaring Brook, one of them asked where we were hiking, but it didn't have the tone of an interrogation at all. He suggested a different descent option, but that's all it was - a suggestion. I saw other people hike up without signing a register, and there was no issue. And nobody asked us to show that we had flashlights (we did) or anything like that. we really weren't bothered by anyone on the four or five trips into the park during that week.

Regarding parking - if you do plan on parking in one of the popular lots, I would definitely look into making a reservation in advance, since you are going in July. The lots probably don't fill up in September, but the popular ones (e.g. Roaring Brook) will fill up in July.


Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:26 am
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge
That would all be great to hear if they've relaxed a bit. I definitely noticed a slightly more relaxed ranger and entrance procedure on my last visit two years ago than on my first few 20 years ago when it was more like something you'd expect getting into the old communist Russia. Not exactly where are you going? Ok cool! But no more checking of all the gear and asking for next of kin and stuff like they used to. I think it was down to asking if we had flashlight/headlamps for the hike and an emergency contact number instead of next of kin. They asked our itinerary and then used their radios to check and see if we had a reservation at the said campground (each one does their own??) as they had no master list at the gate. Ranger at the campground was none to friendly when we told him of our planned hike, and tried to convince us a couple times not to tackle so much in a day, but didn't go so far as to tell us not to either, just strongly suggested we didn't.

So if other have experienced a more chilled out attitude that's great. And even if not, I'm not complaining, just saying. I think I mentioned in another thread it wasn't so much that they were giving you a hard time as they were very strict with the rules. And really, if that was what they felt it took to keep that place as wild and awesome a spot as we have in the east so be it. It's like nothing else out here and I think they do a great job keeping it that way however they see fit. Maybe they question people staying overnight more thoroughly so you don't get any bright ideas like sleeping on the summit or something. Maybe me and my friends just look like trouble. Maybe I caught a couple on grumpy mornings before they had coffee. I'm just relaying my experience from multiple trips and recent experiences, not that they're terrible, I've just never had it be that easy except maybe one time on a day hike of North Brother three years ago. That one was pretty much "$14 bucks and then have at it fellas!" I'd just hate to tell someone you'll have no problems if you show up trying to hitch rides because one time I went and didn't, only to have them drive 6 hours to be told no way, or find out the hard way if they don't have their boots on the trail at a certain hour they won't be allowed to hike. I still don't think it would be a bad idea to call ahead if your plan is to hitch rides if you're not prepared to stay overnight, but hopefully the park is getting more user friendly.

FWIW the Adirondacks aren't as strict as BSP is (or used to be) but they will send you packing and fine you if you don't have snowshoes in winter or a bear can for overnights in summer. You have to sign in and out, and there are a lot more rangers than I've ever seen anywhere else, including BSP. The Whites on the other hand are pretty much a free for all. Camp pretty much anywhere you want, go anywhere anytime you please. I'd guess it's because it's federal land vs a Forest Preserve in the Daks and a Public park but under it's own jurisdiction and not part of the State Park system in Baxter. Really nothing to do with anything there, but I find the differences interesting.


Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:58 am
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:54 pm
Posts: 256
Location: Belmont, NH
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 Re: Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge
Well,my hitch hiking won't work.I won't have the needed confidence do try it. And may not be let into the park. The worst result would be driving all the way up there, paying for a hotel and not even having a parking space inside the park. So I think i've got to find another hiker or pair who wants to hike the opposite direction. I'll probably hike the loop out of the roaring brook campground. And I will reserve a parking spot. Thanks for the great information.


Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:40 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:03 pm
Posts: 256
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 Re: Can I hike up Katahdin on the AT, over knifes edge
Hiking the loop from Roaring Brook will give you the chance to visit Chimney Pond, which is an outstanding spot and a worthy destination on its own. (I know this wasn't your original plan, but at least it's a silver lining.)


Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:20 pm
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