The Hundred Mile Wilderness to Katahdin

“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.

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Stoves, Grizzly, and Ranger Bill

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Southern entrance to The Hundred Mile Wilderness.

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Ranger Bill.

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Ranger Bill fording Wilber Brook.

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Ranger Bill fording Wilber Brook.

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My snapped pack strap jerry-rigged together.

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Ranger Bill climbing up Third Mountain.

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Grizzly with red squirrel and chipmunk traps.

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Squirrel trap with peanut bait.

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Grizzly setting second squirrel trap.

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Raging fire during zero day at Cloud Pond Lean-to.

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Flintstone.

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Cloud Pond.

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Ranger Bill, Grizzly, and Flintstone playing cards at Cloud Pond Lean-to.

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Cloud Pond.

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Mud puzzle.

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Ranger Bill

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Ranger Bill

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Ranger Bill.

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Ranger Bill fording The West Branch of the Pleasant River.The river was freezing cold!

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First view of Katahdin, while climbing White Cap.

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Ranger Bill on White Cap.

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View of Katahdin from White Cap.

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View of Katahdin from White Cap.

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View of Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill walking by Nahmakanta Lake.

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Ranger Bill on Nesuntabunt summit with Katahdin viewed in the background.

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Nahmakanta Lake with Katahdin in the background.

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Ranger Bill walking out of Potaywadjo Spring Lean-to.

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Katahdin!

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View of Katahdin from Abol Bridge.

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View of Katahdin from the Campground at Abol Bridge.

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View of Katahdin from the Campground at Abol Bridge.

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Moose hunting season just started.

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Moose being tagged at Abol Bridge.

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Entrance to Baxter State Park.

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View of Katahdin from Baxter State Park.

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State Park Staffer Jonathan brought us a home made carrot cake to celebrate.

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Blue Sky on summit morning in Katahdin Stream Campground.

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Ranger Bill signing in before summiting Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill climbing Katahdin

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Ranger Bill climbing Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill climbing Katahdin.

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Thoreau Springs.

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Table lands.

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Katahdin Summit!

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Ranger Bill and I on Katahdin Summit.

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Me on the summit of Katahdin.

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Me kissing the Katahdin summit sign.

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Blue Sky arriving to the summit of Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill, Blue Sky, and I at the summit of Katahdin.

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Dream catcher on the summit of Katahdin.

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Blue Sky on the summit of Katahdin.

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Clouds rolled in quick.

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Great Lakes and Tall Grass arriving the summit of Katahdin.

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Blue Sky hiking down Katahdin.

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Blue Sky hiking down Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill and Blue Sky hiking down Katahdin.

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Blue Sky Hiking down Katahdin.

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Ranger Bill and Blue Sky climbing down Katahdin.

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Back in tree line.

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4 Comments

  1. Spokes September 28, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Earl Shaffer, the first AT thru hiker once said “The glory of Katahdin lies in its dual beauty: to look at, and to look from.”

    Congratulations and welcome to the club!

  2. Tooth Fairy October 1, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Congrats, J-Dub. Glorious feeling isn’t it? Katahdin was gracious enough to allow you a great view before blanketing you with the fog. Must be the mountain’s way to say ‘you have done well, hold these memories close as they will become more precious as time moves on’. You should be proud but humbled as well.

  3. leslie October 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    WORD.

  4. Blue Sky October 6, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    Great pics !! Enjoy what you got left to fill in.

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