Friday, August 30, 2013

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail - A Training Hike for Mt Katahdin

In mid-September 2013 three friends and I will be hiking Mt Katahdin in Maine’s Baxter State Park. Mt Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  One of the trails leading to the summit is known as The Knife Edge.

We expect this hike to be between nine (9) and eleven (11) hours over very rough terrain.  We must be physically fit.  As preparation for this trip, our group has been doing hikes of varying distances and difficulties.  Each hike offers unique and beautiful scenery of New Hampshire. Our focus was on endurance and distance.

We carried day packs containing similar contents as we will have in September.  We had the same amount of water we will need for the Katahdin hike as well as gear (e.g. at least 48 ounces of water, rain coat, winter hat, first aid pack, whistle, map, compass, camera, two light source headlamps, duct tape, two contractor 30 gal bags for emergency shelter, bivy sack.)

 We will follow the ten essentials for hiking

In the past five weeks my hiking partners and I have done a variety of training hikes:
  • Mt Sunapee’s Rim Trail to Lake Solitude – 3.5 hours
  • Mt Sunapee’s ski lift trail with a return on the Access Road.  I did this route twice on two different days - 3.5 hours
  • The 7.5 mile round trip Pumpelly Trail of Mount Monadnock - 8 hours
  • South Mountain of Uncanoonuc - 2.5 miles in 2.5 hours
  • 4.5 mile Welch-Dickey Loop Trail described below via video - 4 .5 hours

I took the Welch-Dickey trail description from the Hike New England web site:


Welch (2605') and Dickey (2734')
Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
NH - Central East
White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley

Exit 28 - Route 93
Thornton, NH


Route Summary

This is a loop hike across the summits of Welch and Dickey Mountains, providing many views along the way as the trail winds its way across open ledges. It follows the yellow-blazed Welch-Dickey Loop Trail all the way. The different branches of the loop are commonly referred to as Welch Mountain Trail (the right-hand fork which leads most directly to Welch); and Dickey Mountain Trail (the left-hand fork which goes directly to Dickey Mountain.)

  • Start on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail which will fork after just 15 yards.
  • Take the right-hand branch to approach Welch Mountain first. (The return trip will be via the opposite leg.)
  • After 1.3 miles on the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, you will reach the open ledges and extensive views on the southern flank of Welch Mountain.
  • Continue following Welch-Dickey Loop Trail and you will reach the summit of Welch Mountain 0.6 mile later where you will be treated to a 360-degree panorama.
  • Descend the opposite side of the peak, continuing to follow the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail in a northerly direction.
  • You will then need to do some uphill climbing before reaching the summit of Dickey Mountain 0.5 mile from Welch's peak. Dickey Mountain offers views of Franconia Ridge and Franconia Notch. Shortly before the summit, there will be a poorly marked 0.2-mile spur path on the right leading to an open ledge also with an outlook to the north.
  • Still on Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, descend from Dickey's peak in the opposite direction from which you climbed it.
  • After 2.1 miles, you will be back at the fork near the beginning of the loop. Bear right to return to the parking lot.

Click the below 8 minute video as Dundee and I share our training for the Katahdin climb by hiking the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail.

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go outdoors." – S. Priest

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at

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