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  1. #1
    slammiam's Avatar
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    Grafton Loop Trail - Maine

    Hello all. It's been a while since I've had a chance to hike or hang. Been working my butt off and acclimating to city life in Chicago. I need a hike badly! I'm planning a trip, taking my time with a 4 day hike in Maine from October 19th - 22nd. Anyone familiar with this loop that can give me tips? Permit required? Best place to start ( North or South trailhead )? Any tips for weather this time of year? Bugs an issue? Know of a good shuttle service from Bangor and back?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    I did it a couple of years ago Oct 6-9 with a couple of friends and the weather was absolutely perfect wall-to-wall. Zero bugs.

    No permit needed. We started at the south trail head and went clockwise, which I would heartily recommend because the grade is gentler for the warm-up.

    We drove up so I don't know about shuttles to Bangor (about 130mi away, as you probably know)

    What's in store....

    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

  3. #3
    slammiam's Avatar
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    Thanks for pointing out the distance. Looks like Portland is closer. If I were to leave a rental car at the trailhead for a few days, would it be safe?

  4. #4
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    My Caravan was parked at the south parking lot for the whole trip with no problem.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

  5. #5
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    I did the western half of the loop last year, starting from the north. No permit needed. Bugs will not be a problem that time of year. We stayed at the Bull Brook campsite and there was a good water source, a bear box, and a tent platform.

    We left a car at both ends and had no problems.


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    Almost forgot, there was a privvy at the site as well!


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  7. #7
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    Water can be hit or miss that time of year. I would plan to fill or stay at some of the more reliable water sources.

  8. #8
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Water can be hit or miss that time of year. I would plan to fill or stay at some of the more reliable water sources.
    That's a good point.

    If you plan to camp at Stewart Camp the last night, get water at Chase Hill Brook before the climb up toward Puzzle Mtn. Some maps show a stream near the camp but when we were there it was bone dry, so we were really glad to have gotten it at Chase Hill Brook.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

    Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. Leo Babauta

  9. #9
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    Did the Grafton Loop Trail summer before last. Second the caution about water - we have had a dry summer in Maine, this year. As far as camp sites go - most of the loop is on private land with no camping except at established sites. No problem hanging at established sites. I have hiked the loop both clockwise and counter. Steep portions both ways. I've never had a problem with leaving a vehicle at the southern trail head. Do suggest parking at the southern end of the loop. Flights into Portland and Boston work. Both have direct flights from Chicago. Boston is two hours further away from trail head.

  10. #10
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    We just did a 4 day loop clockwise from the north trailhead this past weekend and I was happy with that route given our weather forecast. While we saw fewer than 20 people over the entirety of the trip, we shared camp every night. When you go you'll be past Columbus Day and peak foliage so you'll probably have better luck with some solitude. Water was a non issue because of rain, but if it doesn't rain just before or during your trip it will be a different story. A pump filter or a scoop could prove helpful. Plan on overnight temps in the 20's or possibly lower. We bottomed out in the upper 20's and there was a small amount of ice on Old Speck. We stayed at Town Corner (great hanging), Bald Mtn (you'd have to get creative, we hung in the woods past the kitchen area), and Slide Mtn (great hanging).

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