The final section, the final preview, the final leg, the final countdown. Call it what you will, this is the end of the Appalachian Trail road. It’s no cakewalk, and it has some well-known trail milestones to prepare for, the greatest being Baxter State Park and its ultimate summit of Mt. Katahdin. For the 20% that make this far, here’s what to expect!
- Start of Section: Stratton, ME (2002.7)
- End of Section: Mt. Katahdin (2190.9)
- Total Miles: 188.2
- Total Days: 13.5
- Avg Daily Miles: 14
- Planned Town Stops: 3
Highlights and Preview of Section 11
- 2008.2 – No surprise here, coming out of Stratton you are met with a sequence of peaks over the next 7 miles: North Horn, South Hern, Bigelow Mountain, and Avery Peak. But after that, hiking levels off more or less until Katahdin.
- 2039.3 – Here lie’s the infamous Kennebec River. You can not and should not ford this river, as it is 400 feet wide with a swift current powered by hydroelectric facilities upriver. The depth and current of the river can surge quickly and unpredictably, so hikers must use the
ferrymanned canoe to cross to Caratunk, ME. But don’t worry, the canoe has a white blaze painted on the hull, marking it an official part of the Appalachian Trail.
- 2056.4 – Moxie Bald Mountain will be nothing to a hiker at this point, but on paper, it is a notable climb.
- 2073.1 – Monson, ME is your last town stop before entering the grueling 100-Mile Wilderness next. You’ll need to resupply, but unless you plan to carry 100 miles worth of food, should also consider purchasing a resupply to have dropped halfway on Mary Jo road.
- 2076.4 – Start of the 100-Mile Wilderness, the wildest and remotest part of the Appalachian Trail. It is challenging to traverse and offers little support if needed. No trail towns to resupply and no access to civilization (besides a few logging roads). Yes, it can be dangerous, but less so if you prepare.
- 2118.1 – From the summit of White Cap Mountain, you get the first view of Katahdin and your final destination.
- 2134.9 – Jo-Mary Rd, where hopefully a pre-arranged resupply is waiting on the side of the road for you.
- 2143.2 – Twitchell Brook offers a short side trail for another view of Katahdin
- 2145.2 – If you didn’t arrange a resupply, consider arranging a pickup from the Mahar Tote blue blaze trail here to the White House Landing Camps. They provide beds, showers, resupplies, etc. They also accept maildrops.
- 2154.6 – Nesuntabunt Mountain, with another view of Katahdin … now 16 miles away as the crow flies.
- 2169.8 – Rainbow Ledges and another view of Katahdin … I’m noticing a recurring theme in the guide-books at this point…
- 2176.3 – Entry to Baxter State Park and end of the 100-Mile Wilderness.
- 2185.7 – Katahdin Stream Campground offers the last place to stay before summitting Katahdin. Hikers will need to pick up a permit here, but can also leave their packs with the ranger station for the final summit hike. This is also a good place to arrange travel to Millinocket 25 miles away, which is the common place to conclude and stay after summitting Katahdin.
- 2190.9 – Katahdin, Baxter Peak, Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
And that’s it, folks! Sounds easy enough, right? Only 11 sections full of exciting sights to anticipate along the way will make this an easy trek, right? I can only hope the journey provides me as much excitement and joy as planning it has, but the reality is about to set in. For all those who followed along with these preparation posts, thank you. For those who ignored it but may come back for daily journal updates, thank you.
For everyone else, you aren’t going to see this anyways, so screw you! Just kidding, I love you all and can’t wait for this adventure to finally begin next week. I’ve spent my entire adult life romanticizing and dreaming about this hike with hopes to one day actually live it. On March 1st, that dream becomes real.
Thanks for reading and Hello Neiman!