FKT: Kevin Stewart - Wassataquoik-Katahdin Loop (Baxter State Park, ME) - 2022-08-16

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
6h 14m 30s

I had been dying to run this route since my wife and I backpacked it a couple weeks earlier. I then realized it was a FKT route so that added some more fuel to the fire to get it done! 

I was supposed to do this route later in the week but very poor anticipated weather conditions made me opt to move it up a few days. I was lucky enough to get a camping spot right at roaring Brook the night before so I could get up and just start running with the sun. 

after a small warm-up run, I began the route (counter clockwise) at about 5:45 and made good time out to Russell Pond Campground, even though the trail and leaves were a bit damp from the morning dew and fog. After a short snack and liquids chug break, I started the second section of running towards Davis Pond. Felt very good again for most of the easy climb and nice trail between campground and second Wassataquoik crossing. I think I averaged about 11 minute miles for the first nine or 10 miles.

I was making good time on the more technical climbing starting up towards Davis Pond, although I did take a little slip and one of my legs cramped up on the recovery, so I had to work through that for the last mile or so until the shelter. Once I arrived, I took an extended break to put a bunch of water and fuel down before the upcoming steep section to the north west plateau. had a couple more cramps that slowed me down on the talus at the bottom, but quickly recovered nicely and felt good for the rest of the climb up to the plateau. From there it was pretty smooth sailing to Caribou Spring.

Took another longer-than-I-wanted-to break at the spring for one final big fuel up as it is the last reliable water source for the rest of this route. Climb up Baxter Peak was pretty efficient, and cruising over the knife edge was as well despite it being my first time running it and not walking across for leisure. I did get held up for a few minutes at the base of the chimney as there were a bunch of people coming down from Panola. Not too many places to climb out of there so i just waited it out.

The start of the descent down Helon Taylor was OK, but I started to bonk a bit the last couple miles which slowed me down and cost me a few more minutes. Finished the last half mile strong back to the bridge at roaring Brook.

Overall very pleased with this run although I did leave quite a bit of time out there but took away some good mental/training notes for future endeavors. Such a beautiful day on some of Maine’s finest.