AT Portion Ten: The Road to Katahdin

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Mount Good results, NH, to Mount Katahdin, ME

Distance: 283.7 miles

Total distance: two,192 miles


I reached the peak of White Cap Mountain on a clear, sunny morning. Right after taking a moment to admire the view, I proceeded down the trail and about a bend.

That is when I saw it.

Katahdin.

The mountain seemingly rose out of nowhere to dominate the surrounding landscape. I knew that I was nonetheless 70 miles away, but it felt close sufficient to touch.

As I stood there gazing at the hill in the distance, it took a minute for the notion to totally sink in: my journey on the Appalachian Trail was coming to an finish.

The Longest Mile

If I was seeking for some relaxation right after conquering the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I would not come across any in Southern Maine. A couple of miles right after crossing the Maine border, I entered the infamous Mahoosuc Notch, a jigsaw of giant boulders that stretched for more than a mile.

Even although the location was in the midst of a heat wave, I could really feel it was conveniently 30 degrees cooler in the notch. I even discovered patches of ice in the deepest crevasses.

It was nearly 90 degrees outdoors, but cold as ice in the notch.

Some take into consideration Mahoosuc Notch to be the hardest mile on the AT. Scrambling more than, beneath, and by means of the enormous rocks was taxing, but it was also a lot of entertaining.

I felt the hour it took to get by means of went by quite speedy.

Crossing the Bigelows and two,000 Miles

The rest of Southern Maine was a series of rugged climbs and unbelievable views. 1 of my preferred sections of the whole trail was hiking above treeline more than Saddleback Mountain and The Horn.

I hit the two,000-mile mark just ahead of the town of Stratton. It unquestionably felt like a huge accomplishment, and I truly began to really feel like I was on the homestretch.

The Bigelow Mountain Variety proved to be a different challenging but rewarding section. I was surrounded by dramatic cloud formations when I crossed more than West Peak and Avery Peak, but created it by means of largely dry.

My preferred aspect of the Bigelows was recognizing that they had been the final peaks more than four,000 feet till Katahdin.

Maine: The Way Life Must Be

It was quite not possible not to fall in adore with the raw beauty and pristine wilderness of Maine.

I sat on mountaintops feasting on wild blueberries throughout the day and listened to the haunting calls of loons at dusk. I forded gentle streams and passed by means of dense pine forests that had been dark as evening.

Ponds and lakes grew extra and extra plentiful as I traveled farther north. Practically each and every day I discovered an awesome spot to go swimming.

Lounging on a sandy lakeside beach, the globe silent except for the gentle lapping of the waves and the occasional buzz of a dragonfly, I attempted my greatest to preserve any thoughts about the future at bay.

I discovered myself in a paradoxical circumstance: I desperately wanted to finish my hike, but at the exact same time didn’t want it to finish.

Into the Wilderness

Right after taking a zero to rest and resupply at Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson, I began the final push to Katahdin by getting into the 100-Mile Wilderness. A welcoming sign reminded me that it was the most remote section of the Appalachian Trail.

As remote as the location was, I in no way felt alone. Aside from fellow thru-hikers, there had been a quantity of day hikers and huge groups of backpackers trekking by means of the location.

After I passed White Cap Mountain, I continued to catch glimpses of Katahdin. My excitement and nervousness elevated as the mountain grew closer.

Navigating Baxter State Park

Baxter State Park has some strict guidelines about how a lot of thru-hikers are permitted to camp at The Birches–the final shelter ahead of Katahdin. Fortunately, I had an awesome pal who drove up to meet me outdoors the park at Abol Bridge, so I avoided the will need to claim a spot there.

I knocked out the ten-mile section of the AT among Abol Bridge to Katahdin Stream Campground even though my pal discovered us a location to remain in the park. It was at a campsite more than an hour’s drive from Katahdin Stream, but it didn’t matter. I had just 5 miles left to full my thru-hike.

That evening, my pal ready a celebratory pre-summit feast even though I attempted my greatest to loosen up. I didn’t get significantly sleep recognizing exactly where I was headed the subsequent day.

The Final Summit

The subsequent morning we drove back to Katahdin Stream Campground. I glanced up at Mount Katahdin to come across its peak engulfed absolutely in a cloud.

It was going to be a wild finish.

While the climb was extremely steep and slippery, I had a practically empty pack and was operating on pure adrenaline. I generally floated up the trail.

As I neared the peak, the wind and rain truly began whipping across the rocks. The temperature dropped. I speedily discovered shelter behind a bolder to place on a different layer of clothes.

I sooner or later reached the tableland, a flat section 1 mile ahead of the summit. Visibility was poor, but at least the rain had stopped.

I passed by other thru-hikers on their way back down and we congratulated every other. Right after what seemed like an eternity, I ultimately could make out the summit sign in the distance.

I felt a lump in my throat.

More than the previous 4 and a half months, I spent a lot of nights lying awake in my tent visualizing what it would really feel like to touch that sign. I imagined myself tracing the rough, engraved white letters of “KATAHDIN” with my finger.

Just before I climbed on prime of it, that is precisely what I did.

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