Monday, August 21, 2017

Katahdin

  • Day:  161-162
  • Start:  2184.5
  • End:  2189.8
  • Miles:  5.3
  • Hours:  7
  • High temp:  65
  • Low temp:  53
  • Thru Hikers met:  15





I'm starting at the little orange shelter icon, elevation 1083'
Image courtesy of Guthook

I enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Appalachian Trail Cafe then make my way back to the hostel to catch the shuttle at 0630 hrs. 
I register with the ranger getting my NOBO thru hiker summit number, #433. Then I'm on the trail to the summit at 0750 hrs.  The trail starts out smooth giving me a false sense of it's true condition. Further on up the rocks start and the water runs in the trail. But none of this matters to me, I'm traveling at a strong pace with a desire that won't be quenched until I'm on top. 


Katahdin Stream Falls


Yep it's still a rocky trail

In no time it seems I'm above the tree line realizing the rocks will just be more and somewhat bigger. Still this does not deter me from my quest, I hike on, conquering every obstacle in my path. 


Looking back at the trail I came up


It's not the peak, over the top the terrain flattens out but continues for another mile plus

So Katahdin's Peak is the mountain you can see


There is the summit with the sign and people

I make the summit in 2 hours, there was no stopping me.  There are about 20 others up here with me and more coming. About half of us have completed the AT, the rest are day hikers.  I am elated at this moment, asking to help others with their pictures and receiving help with mine. There is a feeling of unity as we congratulate each other on completing the AT.  The day hikers join in on congratulations adding to the elation. 


The actual highest point on Baxter Peak





And so the adventure ends on a wonderful note. 

I take my pictures and then take my leave giving the summit over to those that are coming up. 



360 view from Katahdin




Clouds blow through as I descend 

I'm free to try another trail now as I've completed the AT from end to end. I choose to descend on the Abol trail, steeper but easier than the AT. 


My way down


Gotta go down there where there are trees

In closing this adventure, I thank my family and friends for their positive thoughts and prayers for my safe completion of the trail.  I thank the kind people who gave me rides, fed me, and housed me when I needed shelter.  Thinking back on this adventure floods my mind with the kindness, generosity and love that I encountered. 

My final thought:  when I'm now asked " are you through hiking the AT" my answer will be "I am now". 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Baxter State Park

  • Day:  160
  • Start:  2163.6
  • End:  2184.5
  • Miles:  20.9
  • Hours:  7
  • High temp:  65
  • Low temp:  50
  • Thru Hikers met:  1


100 Mile Wilderness 

The rain continues to fall lightly this morning, I snooze my alarm hoping the rain will stop soon. There comes a break in the rain at 0615 hrs, so I pack up getting on the trail by 0645 hrs. My goal is to do the 10 mile section ending the 100 Mile Wilderness plus the 10 mile section into Baxter State Park ending my day at the foot of Katahdin. 
As I leave I view Rainbow Lake through the trees, there is a mist hanging over the lake and the water is still restless from the storm. 





An inlet on Rainbow Lake with ducks making a run for it. 

The rain has released the balsam scent from the forest creating that uplifting atmosphere.  I dodge the mud, roots and rocks at a good clip. In just 10 miles I can get food at a restaurant by the Abol bridge., food is always a motivator.







The last bit of the 100 Mile Wilderness is very pretty this morning. I'm enjoying everything as I end this section. By 1200 hrs I arrive at the dire warning sign which is exactly the same as the one on the other end that I posted several days ago. This sign signals the end of the 100 Mile Wilderness in which I fortunately did not stumble into a fireswamp or encounter rodents of unusual size. 
I cross over the Abol bridge to a restaurant and a nice lunch. 


Restaurant for a much enjoyed lunch

Now I have a choice, get a ride to Millinocket or do the last 10 miles of the AT in Baxter State Park leaving the 5.2 mile Katahdin climb for a clear day. I discuss my chances of getting a ride from the campsite around 1600 hrs with a Baxter Ranger. He says it's doable but after 1800 hrs the chances are greatly diminished. I hike into the park finding the trail to be nicely maintained and therefore fast. 


As I cross into the park I notice the industry of local beavers 


Nicely maintained trail


The Penobscot is popular with rafters


The Penobscot River


Nesowadnehunk Stream


Nesowadnehunk Stream

I follow the trail to Daicey Pond and walk along her shores for a while. 


Daicey Pond

The sun pops through the clouds for a little while giving the forest a fresh look. My step quickens with the spirit lifting sunlight. 





I come upon Grassy Pond the last one for the day. I carefully walk some bog boards that are wet and slippery wishing to avoid a tumble. 


Grassy Pond

In short order I complete the 10 mile section in Baxter. Now I have 5.2 miles to complete the trail by climbing Katahdin. It's now 1530 hrs and I want to catch a ride to Millinocket as today and tomorrow are not forecasted good days to hike the mountain. I start walking the road out of the park, in about 10 minutes a car stops to pick me up, the drive says she is going to Millinocket. Thankfully I accept the ride. Tomorrow I'll zero and try my ascent on Monday.