Getting to Maine — What a PAIN!

23 June 2017

Zeroing in Missouri while I work my re-entry plans into trail life.

I’m finding it VERY DIFFICULT getting to Baxter State Park to continue my Thru Hike.  Who knew it was like trying to get to the North Pole.  Nothing goes direct.  I feel like I am on an episode of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  I’ve looked at all of the airports and airlines from New York City to Boston to Portland and Bangor.  I’ve considered Amtrak and rail services.  I’ve ran the numbers for taking Trailways and Greyhound buses.  It’s NOT easy to get to Maine!

While the travel plans have been difficult.  The BIGGEST issue was trying to get a reservation at Katahdin Stream Campground (KSC).  Right now, there are almost no open/available campsites left in July!  Who knew?  This impacts my flight, bus trip, shuttles and lodging reservations.  It means a lot of dominos have to line up and fall in order for this too work!

I checked for campsite availability two days ago and 7 July had one lean-to available at KSC.  So now, I’m making my travel arrangements and lodging reservations, and…THAT DATE has disappeared!

I’m getting worried my Thru Hike may be OVER!

So…how to go about this?  With the limited number of available campsites at KSC, it seems I have to secure a campsite and plan around THAT date…then backtrack each leg of the journey HOPING availability and low costs.

A call to Keyna at Baxter State Park (BSP) reservations and it’s confirmed.  The 4th of July has one tent site and the next available date is 11 July!  I quickly secured my KSC tent site for a hefty sum of $32 for July 11th since I don’t want to travel on America’s birthday.

BTW: That’s MORE than I am willing to pay for a full hookup RV site!

Next..I secured lodging in Medway at the Appalachian Trail Lodge.  It turns out THIS was the easiest part.  Ole Man set me up with the Super Special SoBo stay.

Two nights, one breakfast, private room and shuttle to KSC for $100!  BOOM I’ll take that.

Then it was time to schedule the travel from Kansas City to the Great Northeast.

I looked at flights to Bangor (too expensive), flights to Boston and New York (too far away), myWife driving me up (too much driving), Amtrak (no easy route), Trailways and Greyhound Bus Lines (too much travel time) and finally ended up getting a flight to Portland ME.  However, Portland is still a looooooong way from Katahdin with many more stops and coordinated travel plans that need to be worked out.  Then…trying to get TO Bangor or Medway is just as PAINFUL.  I’ve found airlines to Portland (much cheaper $$$) than flying into Bangor…so that’s WHY I chose this airport.

So my itinerary looks like this:

I’m flying from Kansas City via Detroit to Portland.  I tried to get a Direct Flight on Southwest Airlines, but that flight is now Sold Out and the alternative flight with Southwest is over $500 ONE WAY.  So, off to airline B D (for Delta).  They had the ONLY morning flight that allowed me to make the bus connections I need for later in the travel day.

It departs Kansas City at 6:15am.  With a 2 hour drive to the airport, that means it’s going to be a LONG, LONG day traveling to Medway, Maine.  It’s a good thing I have a 2 night stay at the Appalachian Trail Lodge.  I’ll need that extra night to rest from my travels to Katahdin.

After a short layover in Detroit, I arrive in Portland at noon.  Then it’s over to the Concord Coach Lines via taxi ($8) for a departure to Bangor at 4:15pm.  After a 2 hour and 15 minute bus ride, I’ll arrive at 6:30pm and immediately transfer to Cyr Bus Lines for a 1 hour and 10 minute ride to Medway.  That’s where the Great People of Appalachian Trail Lodge will pick me up and take to my final resting place.

Total Cost to get me to Baxter State Park – around 500 smack-a-roos

  • Airline – $238
  • Bus from Portland to Bangor – $27
  • Bus from Bangor to Medway – $12
  • Shuttle and Lodging – $100
  • Gas to KC Airport – $20
  • Baxter State Park Campground – $32
  • Miscellaneous expenses (approximate) – $50
  • Taxi – $8

BUT…catching the bus from Bangor to Medway makes connecting times with only a very small window.  Concord Coach Lines arrives at 6:30pm while Cyr Bus Lines departs at 6:30pm…no play in the schedule.  According to both Concord and Cyr…the only time it’s an issue is when a bus breaks down.  So let’s ALL pray for NO BUS ISSUES.

After two nights at the Appalachian Trail Lodge, Ole Man will shuttle me up to KSC to continue my Thru Hike this time as a Flip Flop going SoBo.

As I said earlier, I have my reservation for a walk-in campsite at Katahdin Stream Campground (KSC) for the night of July 11th.  So after my hike up Katahdin (10 miles roundtrip), I’ll get a much needed rest in my tent for a night, my ONLY night, in Baxter State Park.

After all of this jumping through hoops to get to Baxter State Park, I will finally be back on the Appalachian Trail.

Then it’s off to the 100 mile wilderness.

So let me stop here, since I need to pack my food bag for 100 miles of hiking in the Maine Wilderness.

It’s time to consider my resupply plan up north since I haven’t really looked at this especially heading SoBo.  With it being more isolated, I may have to build some real plans.

As for my leg, it’s doing better but not healed 100%.  The antibiotic is working, but it’s still slightly swollen and red.  BUT…the pain is much better.

 

 

 

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