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BSP Question

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    • BSP Question

      I just finished 5 days backpacking Isle Royale. Last I did a 5 day Hermit Loop in the Grand Canyon. I'm now thinking about trying BSP/HMW next year. I was considering a couple options.

      1: Summit Katahdin up and down the Hunt trail, camp at Katahdin Stream, hike out to Abol Bridge, and then head south on the AT to Monson.

      2: Start at Roaring Brook, camp at Chimney Pond, summit Katahdin from there, descend to camp at Katahdin Stream, and then hike out to Abol Bridge and on to Monson.

      Option 1 summit day is 3 miles longer with 1800 ft more elevation gain, but can be done as a day hike, leaving gear at the campground (I think). Option 2 requires summitting with my pack, but I was hoping that would not be unreasonable as it has so much less elevation gain and mileage on the summit day and I would only need to carry one day of food as I would arrange a food drop at Abol Bridge the following day. I would also like the option of going via the Knife Edge trail (for sentimental reasons - my dad did it in the 1960's). Looking for input on these two options. Also looking for info on the trail to take from Katahdin Stream to Abol Bridge. The map shows three options (AT, Lost Pond, Blueberry Ledges). I am not tied to taking the AT route.
    • You could go up Hunt and take the Abol trail down, a bit easier, but would require a bit of a road walk on the tote rd to get back to the trail. I did knife edge in the 80s and probably wouldn't do it again. It's very exposed the whole way, and you'll need a good weather window. Chimney Pond is a beautiful site and you can take the Cathedral Trail instead of knife edge, then come down the Hunt Trail. Blueberry ledge trail will get you out of the park faster.You should be able to leave your full pack at the ranger station at KSC.They have daypacks you can borrow.The old AT Lodge in Millinocket is now called 100 mile Wilderness Inn and can arrange a food drop at jo-mary rd. The last time I did HMW, We left cars in Monson, and shuttled up to BSP, but we skipped Katahdin( we'd both done it multiple times)and started sobo from Abol Bridge. Shaw's and 100 mile wilderness camp both do shuttles and food drops.
      its all good
    • If you decide on option #1 I'd reserve at least 2 nights at the campground.
      The night of the day you arrive at the park as that will allow an early start up the mountain the next day. Then the night you climb Katahdin so you won't have to immediately make the hike to Abol Bridge as soon as coming down the mountain.
      Whatever you do know that BSP is a great place. My wife Kathy and I really enjoyed the 100 mile wilderness, I hope you do too.
    • hikerboy wrote:

      You could go up Hunt and take the Abol trail down, a bit easier, but would require a bit of a road walk on the tote rd to get back to the trail. I did knife edge in the 80s and probably wouldn't do it again. It's very exposed the whole way, and you'll need a good weather window. Chimney Pond is a beautiful site and you can take the Cathedral Trail instead of knife edge, then come down the Hunt Trail. Blueberry ledge trail will get you out of the park faster.You should be able to leave your full pack at the ranger station at KSC.They have daypacks you can borrow.The old AT Lodge in Millinocket is now called 100 mile Wilderness Inn and can arrange a food drop at jo-mary rd. The last time I did HMW, We left cars in Monson, and shuttled up to BSP, but we skipped Katahdin( we'd both done it multiple times)and started sobo from Abol Bridge. Shaw's and 100 mile wilderness camp both do shuttles and food drops.
      Someone suggested hitching between the AT and Hunt Trail heads was a reasonable possibility.

      Everyone says CP is great and the short hike up from the trail head would be a good warm up and takes some distance and elevation off summit day, at least that was my thinking. There are three trails up from there so I could decide based on conditions that day. I guess my main Q was if submitting with a full pack (but little food) was reasonable, as most all I read is about people summiting as a day hike.

      I hadn't looked at the HMW Inn. I did see the AT Hostel/Outfitters and Shaws also do drops.
    • odd man out wrote:

      hikerboy wrote:

      You could go up Hunt and take the Abol trail down, a bit easier, but would require a bit of a road walk on the tote rd to get back to the trail. I did knife edge in the 80s and probably wouldn't do it again. It's very exposed the whole way, and you'll need a good weather window. Chimney Pond is a beautiful site and you can take the Cathedral Trail instead of knife edge, then come down the Hunt Trail. Blueberry ledge trail will get you out of the park faster.You should be able to leave your full pack at the ranger station at KSC.They have daypacks you can borrow.The old AT Lodge in Millinocket is now called 100 mile Wilderness Inn and can arrange a food drop at jo-mary rd. The last time I did HMW, We left cars in Monson, and shuttled up to BSP, but we skipped Katahdin( we'd both done it multiple times)and started sobo from Abol Bridge. Shaw's and 100 mile wilderness camp both do shuttles and food drops.
      Someone suggested hitching between the AT and Hunt Trail heads was a reasonable possibility.
      Everyone says CP is great and the short hike up from the trail head would be a good warm up and takes some distance and elevation off summit day, at least that was my thinking. There are three trails up from there so I could decide based on conditions that day. I guess my main Q was if submitting with a full pack (but little food) was reasonable, as most all I read is about people summiting as a day hike.

      I hadn't looked at the HMW Inn. I did see the AT Hostel/Outfitters and Shaws also do drops.AT hostel was AT lodge and is now HMW inn.
      If the weather is good do knife edge, otherwise take the Cathedral. You should absolutely not do Knife edge with a full pack. But if you campat Chimney Pond, you won't be able to borrow a day pack. It shouldn't be too hard to hitch a ride if necessary.
      its all good
    • hikerboy wrote:

      If the weather is good do knife edge, otherwise take the Cathedral. You should absolutely not do Knife edge with a full pack. But if you campat Chimney Pond, you won't be able to borrow a day pack. It shouldn't be too hard to hitch a ride if necessary.
      I am going to see my dad on Monday. I'll have to ask him if they did the knif edge with packs.

      Why Cathedral over Saddle? Just curious.
    • odd man out wrote:

      hikerboy wrote:

      If the weather is good do knife edge, otherwise take the Cathedral. You should absolutely not do Knife edge with a full pack. But if you campat Chimney Pond, you won't be able to borrow a day pack. It shouldn't be too hard to hitch a ride if necessary.
      I am going to see my dad on Monday. I'll have to ask him if they did the knif edge with packs.
      Why Cathedral over Saddle? Just curious.
      Cathedral is a little more direct route to Baxter peak, But if I remember right, it's also steeper.
      its all good
    • I've been at a family reunion all week. I had a chat with my dad about his backpacking days. I had him tell me all he could recall about his BSP hike from 55 years ago. He is now 91 and in poor health, but after going over the few details he could recall and going over the BSP maps with him, I was able to piece together his itinerary.

      Day 1: Roaring Brook trailhead to Russell Pond.

      Day 2: To Chimney Pond via Hamlin Ridge

      Day 3: Up Saddle Trail to Baxter Peak. Then Knife Edge and Helon Taylor Trails back to Roaring Brook.

      He said it was his best hike ever, despite the knife edge being terrifying.
    • I'm still reading about a Katahdin and HMW hike for next year. Some Qs arise.

      Would you recommend NoBo or SoBo.

      If going NoBo, would I need a campground reservation at BSP. I know it is needed SoBo.

      How many days should be allocated to hike between Katahdin Stream CG and Monson. Would need to know in order to make
      transportation, lodging, and possibly caming reservations. Hiking to s schedule is so annoying.

      Is a food drop 1/2 way through the HMW worth it?

      I'm familiar with transportation logistics for Millinocket. But how does one get to/from Monson. I know Shaws is sn institution there, but I didn't see anything about transportation on their web site.

      tia
    • omo, I wonder if the AT Hostel in Millinocket could provide a shuttle to Monson? It is a 90 minute drive, so it would not be cheap. Might be worth giving them a call for suggestions. Not sure if you were planning on flying or driving in, but if driving you could leave your car with them and begin and end your trip there.

      appalachiantrailhostel.com/rooms-rates
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • max.patch wrote:

      odd man out wrote:

      Is a food drop 1/2 way through the HMW worth it?
      What do you do if the food doesn't arrive?
      Valid concern. But from the Shaw's dropping it off, I've never read of any issues. What I've read is that they give you a 5 gallon bucket, you put in it what ever you wish. Seal the lid, duck tape the lid, mark it to identify it. It is dropped/hung at a set location along with all the other cached drops. I suspect they drop it a day or two before your expected arrival at the cache so if you hike faster it would still be there. But I've only read about the service.
      Pirating – Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    • At least as of 2020 you had to meet the folks from Shaws, they didn't leave it for you. That was the folks from the hostel in Millinocket that would leave it for you. That's what Kathy and I did. Got our bucket, took our food and put our garbage in the bucket. Worked without a hitch.
    • IMScotty wrote:

      omo, I wonder if the AT Hostel in Millinocket could provide a shuttle to Monson? It is a 90 minute drive, so it would not be cheap. Might be worth giving them a call for suggestions. Not sure if you were planning on flying or driving in, but if driving you could leave your car with them and begin and end your trip there.

      appalachiantrailhostel.com/rooms-rates
      I talked to the AT Hostel and they suggested a shuttle, but didn't give a price. It's a two day drive for me which sounds pretty horrible. I have friends in Kingston ON which is exactly halfway who would let me stay overnight en route. But if they were out of town, it might be cheaper to fly to BOS, bus to Bangor, bus to Medway, shuttle to Millinocket. Easiest, but most expensive is to fly to Bangor.
    • LIhikers wrote:

      At least as of 2020 you had to meet the folks from Shaws, they didn't leave it for you. That was the folks from the hostel in Millinocket that would leave it for you. That's what Kathy and I did. Got our bucket, took our food and put our garbage in the bucket. Worked without a hitch.
      Thats what I did. Confirmed with Shaw's by phone from White Cap Mountain I still on track for the next day.
      Shaw's often picks up hikers that finish from BSP. That is how I got back to Monson.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I would park at Monson and then go NoBo.

      Kalamazoo to Monson is less than 16 hours. I would get up early and do in one day.

      Or stop at Bascom Lodge, Hikers Welcome Hostel, or Green Mountain Hostel and get more experience with some of the neat spots on the AT.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      I would park at Monson and then go NoBo.

      Kalamazoo to Monson is less than 16 hours. I would get up early and do in one day.

      Or stop at Bascom Lodge, Hikers Welcome Hostel, or Green Mountain Hostel and get more experience with some of the neat spots on the AT.
      these are all good idea. Google Maps says it is 15.5 hrs, but add time for 2 border crossings and driving through Toronto. I suppose I could consider closer AT hikes too. Plus there is also Northern Sweden, which is surprisingly simple (public transport to trailheads, no permits, reservations). My short list keeps getting longer.
    • odd man out wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      I would park at Monson and then go NoBo.

      Kalamazoo to Monson is less than 16 hours. I would get up early and do in one day.

      Or stop at Bascom Lodge, Hikers Welcome Hostel, or Green Mountain Hostel and get more experience with some of the neat spots on the AT.
      these are all good idea. Google Maps says it is 15.5 hrs, but add time for 2 border crossings and driving through Toronto. I suppose I could consider closer AT hikes too. Plus there is also Northern Sweden, which is surprisingly simple (public transport to trailheads, no permits, reservations). My short list keeps getting longer.
      OMO, please note I was not recommending other places to hike, but instead hostels you could spend the night at to break up the trip (and experience some AT culture). Bascom Lodge would probably be number 1 for me, with the benefit of the views including the War Memorial. Blueberry muffins and coffee in the morning.

      For the trip back I would always try to stay at The Inn at Long Trail. Neat feel and hiker special breakfast. A little more expensive than the hostels, but not bad, and worth it to me.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      odd man out wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      I would park at Monson and then go NoBo.

      Kalamazoo to Monson is less than 16 hours. I would get up early and do in one day.

      Or stop at Bascom Lodge, Hikers Welcome Hostel, or Green Mountain Hostel and get more experience with some of the neat spots on the AT.
      these are all good idea. Google Maps says it is 15.5 hrs, but add time for 2 border crossings and driving through Toronto. I suppose I could consider closer AT hikes too. Plus there is also Northern Sweden, which is surprisingly simple (public transport to trailheads, no permits, reservations). My short list keeps getting longer.
      OMO, please note I was not recommending other places to hike, but instead hostels you could spend the night at to break up the trip (and experience some AT culture). Bascom Lodge would probably be number 1 for me, with the benefit of the views including the War Memorial. Blueberry muffins and coffee in the morning.
      For the trip back I would always try to stay at The Inn at Long Trail. Neat feel and hiker special breakfast. A little more expensive than the hostels, but not bad, and worth it to me.
      I'm not familiar with it. I will look it up.
    • I have been revisiting my idea of a BSP/HMW hike in late July/early August. I had a Q about permits. The BSP web page says all AT hikers must get a permit in-person at the KS Campground and once the quota for the year has been used up, hikers must follow the same procedures as the general public. It says hikers self-declare as thru hikers (NOBO, SOBO, or Flip Flop), or section hikers. This is confusing since SOBO hikers (thru or section) have to follow the same procedures as the general public anyway, so why would it be necessary to get a permit? By getting one, wouldn't I be cutting down on permit availability later in the season? Am I missing something?

      After considering all the info and advice, it seems my best option would be to fly to Bangor. Although expensive, I'm not sure I'm up for a 1000 mile ( +/- ) drive. The AT Hostel and Outfitters in Millinocket can arrange lodging and shuttles on arrival as well as a food drop in the HMW. I would get a reservation for two nights at KS Campground to have a couple days flexibility due to weather. I could go up Abol Trail and down Hunt to avoid hiking the same trail twice. If time/weather/physical condition allows, I could hike out and back a bit on the Knife Edge trail to experience some of that fun (but probably not more than the 1/4 mile to South Peak). After summiting, I would hike the AT to Abol Bridge and then the HMW to Monson. Shaws would provide lodging, famous breakfast, and shuttle back to Bangor.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by odd man out ().

    • odd man out wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      I went up Hunt and down Abol. Personally would not want to go down down Hunt.
      I've heard that. Is that due to more scrambling on Hunt vs Abol? Scrambling up is easier. That's why I did the GC Hermit Loop counter clockwise. Do you road walk back to KS campground from the Abol Trailhead or camp at Abol?
      I guess Abol would be easier going up than down too. The third quarter of going up the Hunt trail is the most difficult thing I remember doing in my life. Going down that would have been much worse. Going up you are reaching for things, while going down would be more like dangling and guessing.

      Now you might be a lot taller than me, but that was my perspective.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • odd man out wrote:

      LIhikers wrote:

      OMO
      Sounds like a good plan to me.
      Know that the shuttle from the hostel doesn't get there particularly early. I think we got there somewhere around 9-10 AM.
      I've never been on the Abol trail so can't comment on that.
      Good to know. if the weather is good I would camp the night before to get an early start, I think.
      That's what we did to be able to get an early start up Hunt trail.
    • Plans for a Baxter Peak to Monson section are coming along. But how many days to plan for? From what I've read, 10 days from Katahdin Stream CG to Monson is a reasonable estimate for a SOBO section hiker.

      Would you plan on 11 days, just to be safe? This affects meal planning as well as lodging and transportation logistics at the end.

      I will probably use a food drop service so I don't have to carry it all food at the start.Everyone says the Abol Bridge Store should not be used for HMW supply but could it at least be relied upon for a meal?

      I was under the impression you could make CG reservations for multiple nights starting 4 months out, but the online system doesn't allow that. Do you know if this is can be done over the phone?

      Last problem. What are the chances Mrs OMO will be happy with me taking a 15 day trip?
    • New

      No, we all should though.

      Last time I was in Millinocket I hit a Hot Dog stand.

      Certain parts of Maine have these weird red hot dogs called 'Red Snappers.' Worth a try.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • New

      odd man out wrote:

      So has anyone eaten here when visiting Millinocket?

      No, but I originally planned to. Unfortunately in trying to catch better weather to summit, I slowed down at the end of the 100 mile wilderness and then took a zero at Abol Bridge. So after burning those two days I just had Shaw's pick me up and take me back to Monson.

      My summit dinner unfortunately was just the best sandwich I could find at a gas station on the way back to Monson. :(
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • New

      Astro wrote:

      No, but I originally planned to. Unfortunately in trying to catch better weather to summit, I slowed down at the end of the 100 mile wilderness and then took a zero at Abol Bridge. So after burning those two days I just had Shaw's pick me up and take me back to Monson.
      My summit dinner unfortunately was just the best sandwich I could find at a gas station on the way back to Monson. :(
      I've been rethinking my my plan to go NOBO to allow some more flexibility to adjust for weather or needing to bail out as you apparently did. Plus the layover connections are a little better going NOBO so I could avoid sitting around a bus station for a half a day and scheduling a pre hike zero day as would have to do going SOBO.

      Did you use a food drop in the HMW or just carry all your food?
    • New

      odd man out wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      No, but I originally planned to. Unfortunately in trying to catch better weather to summit, I slowed down at the end of the 100 mile wilderness and then took a zero at Abol Bridge. So after burning those two days I just had Shaw's pick me up and take me back to Monson.
      My summit dinner unfortunately was just the best sandwich I could find at a gas station on the way back to Monson. :(
      I've been rethinking my my plan to go NOBO to allow some more flexibility to adjust for weather or needing to bail out as you apparently did. Plus the layover connections are a little better going NOBO so I could avoid sitting around a bus station for a half a day and scheduling a pre hike zero day as would have to do going SOBO.
      Did you use a food drop in the HMW or just carry all your food?
      I had just completed the Pinkham Notch to Grafton Notch section, and then drove up to Monson. I strongly recommend staying at Shaw's. Great breakfast and then they will take you to the AT trailhead. I paid them to bring me food half through the 100 mile wilderness. They give you a bucket to fill up and put your name on it. They had me call from White Cap Mountain a day before to confirm what day I would be there to meet them. Worked out great for me.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General