April/May trip to Maine

11:35 a.m. on December 6, 2011 (EST)
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Hello all, I'm planning on backpacking in Maine with my family around that time, I would like to know from the experts when is the time to go to avoid the black flies, the rain and the heavy snow? Also some suggestions of trails to go to, we plan on being 6-9 days in the woods camping, I've never been anywhere near Maine so any suggestions would be appreciated! 

12:59 p.m. on December 6, 2011 (EST)
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You are making a big mistake!!! Don't do it!!! LOL

Ok, in all seriousness that is the heart of black fly season. i made that mistake once and will never do so again.

On average the main black fly season is in full swing from memorial day until the 4th of July. The season seems to start earlier in southern maine and starts later in northern maine(and the northeast in general). This largely has to do with snow melt as black flies need cold, somewhat still water to breed.

Now the above dates are what the experts say, and I do agree with them being largely gone by July 4th...most of the time. However, the start date of memorial is hit or miss. I have been engulfed by black flies in March on many occassions.

Wooded, wet or marshy areas with standing water are the habitat of the black fly, but as many know their reach extends far!

If you decide to brave it and take your chances, just remember to fill out your will before going lol. Seriously though, wear long sleeves and pants and tuck your pants into your socks or wear gaitors. Wear something like a bandanna around your neck and button the sleeves of your shirt the tightest you can. And lastly a head net.

Black flies like to crawl on you and bite, and believe you me they will find any opening in your clothing they can to get in.

This is also mosquitto and noseeum season as well, but the black flies are your real enemy. Any repelant for the most part works on EVERYTHING but black flies.

Deet does not work at all against black flies IMO. I have found lemon eucalyptus repelants to work 'ok' against them, but far from perfect. I highly recommend you pretreat all of your clothing, tent etc with permetherin before your trip. It does work and makes a world of difference. You can buy a spray on or wash in. I prefer the wash in. You basically mix the solution in a 5 gallon bucket and dunk your clothes etc in it then just let them air dry and then they are good to go and it lasts for 40-50 washes on average. The spray on treatment will only last for 5-10 washes typically.

You can buy permetherin from places like tractor supply co, REI, home depot, some walmarts, other lawn and garden type places. It will usually be some different name, just look at the ingredients. I bought a 1 gallon container from tractor supply co and it will probably last my entire life lol.

My final advice is to pray, alot, you need all the help you can get. God bless you...i will never venture into 'their' territory again lol. I stay in CT and southern NY until mid summer. We signed a petition here in CT to keep black flies out.

6:19 p.m. on December 6, 2011 (EST)
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What time of the year would you suggest for us to go to enjoy Maine? Either closer to winter or later? Maybe August-October? 

6:46 p.m. on December 6, 2011 (EST)
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hahaha rambler! That is the rant of a man who hates blackfly season. And I gotta say I completly agree with every word. I headed out about the same time last year, I live in Ontario so its a similiar climate, got to th campsite and was miserable. I didn't even stay one night, I turned around and headed out the same night!

8:54 a.m. on December 7, 2011 (EST)
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Maxx, the only times I would go to maine or Upstate NY , or even parts of VT and NH for that matter would be the winter, or anytime after mid July. So I would say July 15th-mid Feb ish is 'safe'. Outside of that you just never know what is lurking in wait haha.

There are other insects at the other times of years, but nothing nearly as bad as the black flies.

The most miserable week of my life was on my wife's spring break from college back like 6 years ago and we went up to the northern adirondacks. I felt like blowing my brains out lol.

I grew up in Mississippi so I know all about flying insects being a real PITA. And I had never had bugs ruin a trip. Well this trip was so miserable I vowed to myself I would NEVER do that again haha. Nothing worked, especially not DEET. DEET was like an atractant I swear. The only thing that worked was covered head to toe in clothing with a bug net on. I couldn't even take a sip of water without like 100 of them getting inside my head net. Truly MISERABLE!

Mid-Late Summer, Fall, Winter are the only safe times. If you value your sanity do not go there in Spring time or early summer. Consider yourself warned!

1:54 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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Hi Maxx - I lived in Portland, Maine for 6 year and love to high the white mountains of New Hampshire, there is a lot of great hiking you can do and you can stay within a 50 mile area and hike hundreds of different trails; most people go to hike the presidents  (washington, jefferson and so on), for Maine there is katahdin which is great hike also but i like NH, just me. I find the best time of year is August - October.  less chance to get stuck in a 7 day rain out. Bugs well i have been hiking and never got a bug bite and there were times the flies or mosquitoes were thick as peanut butter, just some thing to be prepared. If you do go to maine take a day and run over to Arcadia, its very nice. the one watch out is stay away of labor day weekend trying to leave the state, i have seen I-95 backed up for 50 miles with people trying to had back south.  If you want specific hikes, Blue berry mountain, Carrigan, Mt Hight and Mt Carter are my favorites. Oh save some room for lobster - and pick some up on your way out - usually runs 3.25 a pound in the summer, and you get them steamed for you at most places.  

2:20 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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To chime in - April and May are not the best times.  In April, you are probably ahead of the black flies, but the weather will be cold and variable.  Cold rain in the lowlands and mixed snow and rain in higher elevations.  Freezing temps at night are possible.  May and June are the height of mud season and black fly season.  Last June I was attached so badly by black flies that my ears nearly swelled shut.  Seriously.  July sees less black flies and more mosquito s.  I'm a big fan of August and September.

For bug protection - I use a headnet on top of a hat, and long sleeves and pants.  Not to be alarmist, but this year Maine is likely to have a bumper crop of ticks too.  The warm winter is causing deer populations to explode.

2:26 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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Seth said:

Last June I was attached so badly by black flies that my ears nearly swelled shut.  Seriously. 

 I need to get up too Maine in June. Seth, ya up for it lol?

3:55 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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I'm planning on going to Maine in late September this year now. Me and my wife have friends that live in NY, we are taking a road trip there, staying 2 nights then driving to Maine for a week or so of backpacking, then driving back. We might stay a night in the Smokies on the way back too depending on what time we leave Maine! And ofc I'm planning on stuffing my face with Maine lobster!

10:53 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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maxx,need to know ages and experience with hiking,do they have comfortable hiking shoes,what physical condition?do they want to go?do they want to go camping or hiking?the best way to entice hiking in pre-teens is have some waterfalls or slides incorporated into the hike(you're also going to have s,mores)fun,fun,fun.how long?(duration of trip)maine has some awesome places for kids in the backcountry.may i ask why maine when NH has waaaaaay more to entice young hikers?is it locale?do you know that's peak black fly season?

11:09 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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you'll be divorced in a week without custody if you go at black fly,go to disney

11:13 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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lobsters,the huge ones taste like?,get a normal sized lobster like normal people!

9:40 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Unk, I think you're a little late to the ballgame; just about all your questions have already been asked and answered. His last comment (the one right before yours) also updated his plans- he's now going in September.

12:58 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Maxx - you'll have a great trip. I suggest you check out Five Islands Lobster Company. Great prices, great view, and the nearby Morse Mountain Conservation Area has a lovely little hike to the beach.

10:13 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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maxx if you need good tips on portland dining I live in portland and can give some great advice. We could always catch a beer too!

11:12 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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It's very pleasant there in August with much more mild temperatures than other places in summer. After Labor Day the place will be far less crowded. It's easier to get reservations to stay at Isle au Haut after the primary months of summer. Have fun! Don't forget about blueberry pie!

5:40 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Alright! We are planning on going Third or last week of December, iClimb, send me your phone number, I will hit you up when we are around there and we can meet up for a beer and some lobster, and maybe a blueberry pie!  We are planning on spending most of the trip in the backcountry backpacking though, we are still planning which trails to hit and for how long.  Now we are checking out Yellowstone, we will be going there first or second week of June, if anyone is planning on backpacking there let me know!

11:38 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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no-see-um,taste-um

9:31 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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wow december eh? What areas are you planning on going to for the backcountry?? Just as a heads up if for some reason you decide to head up near Baxter state park or go to Katahdin, be forewarned that the forest rangers there take their job extremely seriously in winter, and won't let anyone climb without proving themselves first. It's very isolated and they take extra precautions.

8:38 a.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I see, well, I meant to say of September =), sorry for the typo.  But I would love to challenge a ranger to climbing Katahdin in winter!

3:57 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I see, well, I meant to say of September =), sorry for the typo.  But I would love to challenge a ranger to climbing Katahdin in winter!

 

Huh……….This sounds like the next, best outdoor reality show. Pass a ranger if you dare!! I guess you get to be the first challenger , season 1, maxx the marauder.

September 30, 2014
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