|Thru-hikers finishing their 2189.1 mile AT journey on top of Mt. Katadyn.|
I took a small daypack with lunch and water in it. I also took a water filtering bottle, which we filled up at the last water source. We still ran out of water! I suggest taking at least 2 Nalgenes full of water (each Nalgene having 32 oz. each of water). Also, it is a park rule that each hiker has to have a flashlight. (If rangers decide to check hikers and you don't have one, there is a fine.)
The hike was a very tough hike. The toughest hike I have been on - ever! Pretty much it was like being on a stair master on the way up! Once you get closer to the top, then you start climbing over boulders! In a few places there were iron handbars attached to the rocks to help you pull your self up. Going up, I wondered how I would ease myself down from a couple spots.
Once at the top, you are rewarded with spectacular views. Our views were obstructed by fog after awhile. We saw about 20 people finish their hike of the Appalachian Trail. Wow, were they all in shape!
Going down, we decided to take the Abol Trail, which were heard wasn't as steep. It was still difficult and I slide myself down rocks on my bum! But maybe it is my age -- I saw some 20 somethings jumping from rock to rock like they were mountain goats!
The hike took us about 8 hours. Once back to the Abol Trailhead we had a 2 mile walk to the car, except that a man we hiked with said he'd take us back to Katadyn Stream Trailhead in the back of his pickup.
This was a spectacular hike though. We rated it our top experience in Maine. If you decide to do this hike, I suggest camping in the park the night before. This way you have a jump on all the others coming into the park that day and also want to hike to the top. The rangers say that people start lining up at the gate at 4:00 a.m. If Katadyn Stream Trailhead parking lot is full, you can try the Abol Trailhead and maybe even Roaring Brook. I don't know anything about Roaring Brook and the trails to the top, except that I have heard the Knifes Edge Trail is really tough!
If you decide to camp in this park, you will need to take in all our water (or boil or filter the water from the lakes around you). You also have to pack out your trash. We rented a cabin (on Kidney Pond) for a couple nights and it had beds, chairs, a deck for cooking on and inside was a wood stove to keep you warm at night. We used the wood stove - even in August! Beware -- there are mice -- best to keep all food and other items in plastic totes. Life for a couple days on Kidney Pond was gorgeous! We heard the eerie cry of the loon often. There are canoe's you can rent for $1 an hour and we went out both nights and searched for the baby loons we heard were on the lake. We found them! Mom and Dad loon were diligently feeding their two babies. Fun to see!