Sports and the Outdoors
Allagash Wilderness Waterway. A spectacular 92-mile corridor of lakes and rivers, the waterway cuts through northern Maine's vast commercial forests, beginning at the northwest corner of Baxter State Park and running north to the town of Allagash, 10 miles from the Canadian border. From May to mid-October, this is prime canoeing and camping country, but trips should not be undertaken lightly. The complete 92-mile course requires 7 to 10 days. The best bet for a novice is to go with a guide; a good outfitter will help plan your route and provide your craft and transportation. Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, 106 Hogan Rd., Bangor, ME, 04401. 207/941-4014. www.parksandlands.com.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The Alagash Wilderness Waterway is part of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which runs from New York to Maine. P.O. Box 565, Waitsfield, VT, 05673. 802/496-2285. www.northernforestcanoetrail.org.
Baxter State Park. A gift from Governor Percival Baxter, this is the jewel in the crown of northern Maine, a 210,000-acre wilderness area that surrounds Mt. Katahdin, Maine's highest mountain (5,267 feet at Baxter Peak) and the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Katahdin draws thousands of hikers every year for the daylong climb to the summit and the stunning views of woods, mountains, and lakes. Three parking lot trailheads lead to its peak; some routes include the hair-raising Knife Edge Ridge. The crowds climbing Katahdin can be formidable on clear summer days, so if you crave solitude, tackle one of the 45 other mountains in the park, 17 of which exceed an elevation of 3,000 feet and all of which are accessible from an extensive network of trails. South Turner can be climbed in a morning (if you're fit), and its summit has a great view of Katahdin across the valley. On the way you'll pass Sandy Stream Pond, where moose are often seen at dusk. The Owl, the Brothers, and Doubletop Mountain are good day hikes. Reserve a day-use parking space at the Katahdin trailheads if you plan to hike the mountain between May 15 and October 15. Check the park website for information; without a reservation you may have to hike elsewhere in the park. No pets, domestic animals, oversize vehicles, radios, all-terrain vehicles, motorboats, or motorcycles are allowed in the park; roads are unpaved, narrow, and winding, and there are no pay phones, gas stations, stores, running water, or electricity. The camping is primitive at the park's 10 primitive campgrounds must be reserved online within four months of your trip.There are also cabins at Daicey Pond and Kidney Pond campgrounds. The visitor center is at the southern entrance outside Millinocket. You can also get information about Baxter in town at park headquarters. Headquarters:, 64 Balsam Dr., Millinocket, ME, 04462. Togue Pond Gate (southern entrance): 18 mi northwest of Millinocket via Rte. 157 and Millinocket Lake Road (becomes Baxter Park Road); Matagamon Gate (northern entrance): Grand Lake Rd., 26 mi northwest of Patten via Rte. 159 and Grand Lake Rd. 207/723-5140; 207/723-4636 hiking hotline. www.baxterstateparkauthority.com. $14 per vehicle (free to Maine residents). Open Hours: Mid-May-mid-Oct., 6 am to 10 pm and, additionally, Togue Pond Gate (southern entrance) opens 5 am late June-Labor Day and weekends mid-Sept.-Columbus Day. Mid-Oct.-mid-May, sunrise to sunset (road not plowed in winter; depending on conditions, access only by cross-country ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile; no groomed trails).
Katahdin Air Service. Katahdin Air Service offers charter flights by seaplane from points throughout Maine to smaller towns and remote lake and forest areas. It can help you find a guide and also does scenic flights over the Katahdin area. 1888 Golden Rd., Millinocket, ME, 04462. 207/723-8378. www.katahdinair.com.
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