“You love it and you fear it, It is wild and harsh and high, A mass of ancient granite towering into the sky. For Indians who revered it and climbers of today, A symbol of a spirit that will never pass away.”- Katahdin by Earl Shaffer, the first person to complete a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.
In Monson, ME I ran into my friend Ranger Bill who I hadn’t seen since Atkins, VA. We headed out into The Hundred Mile Wilderness with ridiculously heavy packs, filled with ten days with of food. The beginning of “The Wilderness” was similar to Southern Maine, extremely rugged. My pack strap snapped five miles in, I had to jerry-rig it together with knots and duct tape. The weight distribution of my pack was off and causing a strenuous pull on my left shoulder. It was cold and rainy the second day in we decided to stop early and have a zero day at Cloud Pond Lean-to. When we arrived early at the shelter Flintstone and Grizzly were already there collecting wood and working on a building a raging fire, so we joined in, and they ended up zeroing with us. Climbing White Cap we had our first view of Katahdin. Periodically throughout “The Wilderness” Katahdin is in view, getting bigger and bigger everyday, seeming like a magnet pulling hikers in. The terrain in Maine is relentless, it’s rocks and roots, bog bridges, then more rocks and roots all day. My feet were killing me by the time I got to Abol Bridge Campground, the end of the Hundred Mile Wilderness. We stayed at the campground, kicked back by a pond and had a few beers while looking at Mt. Katahdin, which we were two days away from climbing. In the morning we hiked ten miles into Baxter State Park to check in with the park ranger and sign up to summit the next day. The weather report was fifty percent chance of rain, but we were determined to climb regardless. It turned out to be quite an adventure. The morning started off rainy which meant it was going to be slick. We hiked cautiously up the rocky mountain. To get up to Katahdin’s “table lands”, the less steep climb, requires a three mile boulder scramble straight up.The accent and decent of Mt. Katahdin was the toughest and most dramatic climb on the Appalachian Trail, it’s a great mountain to house the Northern Terminus. Reaching the end is bittersweet, months ago it seemed like this adventure was going to last forever. I’ve made great friendships throughout this journey, now everyone is parting ways to head back into society. I reached the finish line but still have a section of trail to make up to officially be a thru hiker. My hike will still continue, I’m jumping back on trail in Dalton MA and will walk south bound down to PA.