There are a lot of great mountains to hike in New England, but none has a trail as fabled as the legendary “Knife’s Edge” on Maine’s tallest mountain, Katahdin. When you consider the passion the Jordan Brothers have for hiking and adventure and the fact that they vacationed in Acadia National Park every Summer for 25 years, it’s almost inconceivable that they had never tackled Mount Katahdin. In an attempt to make up for lost time, the JBs left Boston in June for some camping and, of course, hiking on the toughest trail on this beast of a mountain.
Katahdin sits inside Baxter State Forest near the town of Millinocket, Maine. Besides hiking, the area is known for its whitewater rafting on the West Branch of the Penobscot River, moose-watching in the many swamps and bogs, fishing for trout, smallmouth bass, and northern pike, and winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. It’s a long ways up in Maine - the trip took eight hours from Boston with traffic - but well worth it. The biting insects like mosquitos and black flies are voracious and relentless, and on this trip the former made the nighttime tent setup a gigantic kick in the gonads for the hosts. We booked a lakeside campsite through the New England Outdoor Center, which run rafting trips in the area, which gave us a good base camp, with facilities, just a couple of miles from the entrance to Baxter. The parking lots are “first come, first serve” so Phil and I got up just North of 5AM to ensure we could get on the mountain.
The video will speak for itself, but on a nice day you’ll experience cool, wet and buggy lowlands, steep gravel and rock ascents, and ankle-breaking boulder hopping from ridge to ridge. Phil and I are fast hikers, and our ascent up Chimney Pond trail and across the Knife’s Edge took us over ten hours, so get an early start! You’ll want to bring a LOT of water in case you don’t run into any of the trail rangers who will offer you a refill if you are in need. Yes, that is SNOW and yes, it was 75 degrees in June. Be prepared for a change of weather at any time by dressing in layers and if your clothes say “cotton” on the label, leave them at home!
After the descent, if you are starving, head over to the New England Outdoor Center headquarters and you can get a meal that is pretty close to gourmet and some ice cold local Maine beers. Be sure to come back here and comment so you can share your stories!!!