Published: October 15th 2012October 15th 2012
We did it! Climbed Katahdin...it was hard and we had the weather against us. But before I get into details let me back up, as it has been awhile since my last blog.
Last time I wrote we were off the trail, we went to our friend’s wedding in Plymouth NH, celebrated my bday and I had recovered from Giardia.
On Sept 10th we set out for Monson, ME. Left our car at a hostel and had them drive us to Caratunk, ME. We took 3 days and hiked this section; it was tough to be out on the trail again after 2 weeks off. It was mid-September and the weather was finally cooling off. The trees were starting to change colors and the trail took on a completely different look. After arriving back in Monson, where we had our car, we took a day to resupply and prepare ourselves for the 100 mile wilderness that we had before us. It is actually a 117 mile trek but they named it the 100 mile wilderness which was scary enough for me. The difference in this part of the trail was that on our previous legs we were doing 30-40 miles at one time, stopping in a town to resupply, shower, communicate with family etc. This time it would be 117 miles with no resupply and no towns along the way.
We planned it would take us about 7 days to complete including the Katahdin climb. We left Monson with 10 days of food. This was the heaviest our packs had been the whole summer. Stephen's pack had to have weighed 50 lbs. (he was carrying extra food in case something happened to us) and mine about 30 to 35 lbs. I made some serious weight decisions and opted out of carrying a lot of the things I had been all summer....this would prove not to have been the best decision in the days to come.
I cannot express enough how beautiful Maine is...we left for the 100 mile wilderness with very happy excited hearts, we were almost done, had gone through everything that one could possibly think of and we were 7 days from being done and 8 days away from me flying home to see my family! We were finally in shape and that made the days so much more enjoyable. We planned on averaging 15 mile days, with a few 20 milers in there, just for fun. As you enter into the wilderness section there is a sign hanging on a tree basically confirming the dangers of entering into the wilderness unprepared (without experience, food, water, and the right equipment). All I could think as I passed by that sign is....I am sure glad my Mom will never see that sign. That is when Stephen snapped a picture.
The first day in we met up with some old friends that we met back in Monson and kept pace with them for most of the week. It was such a joy to see familiar faces at the end of a long day and we looked forward to sharing stories from the day each evening. Thank you "Steps" for the astronaut/dehydrated ice cream that you gave us one evening for dessert...it was an amazing treat!
Within a few days you could actually see Mt Katahdin, which is the end of the AT and a very emotional mountain to climb for those hikers that have given so much of their time to complete the AT from Georgia to Maine. For me, it was just as sweet, as my hike through NH to Maine felt like I had hiked from Georgia so it was just the same for me! I figured 400 miles in made me pretty legit. Mt Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine at 5,268 feet (1,606 m). Named Katahdin by the Penobscot Indians, the term means "The Greatest Mountain". Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park: a steep, tall mountain formed from underground magma.
We stayed at the Birches campsite the night before the Katahdin hike, with friends. They allow 12 hikes to stay at the Birches the night before your Katahdin hike. Stephen and I got up at 530am the next day. We wanted to get up as soon as we could. We had to register with the ranger and verify that we had the right equipment to hike up....and we were off. It was 8 miles round trip, it was dark, really humid and we knew it was going to rain. The terrain was very step and rocky, we reached the top in 80 mph winds, sleet and limited visibility. The weather was getting so bad and we knew that we had another 4 hours that we needed for our decent, so it was a quick photo or two and we had to leave the summit. I could have stayed up there for days...by that afternoon at 4pm it was all over. What a surreal feeling....for the last few months we had lived by a schedule, had our days planned out, our meals planned out and now we felt a sense of...well, what now?
Stephen headed back to Mass and I flew out to North Dakota, I think my parents wanted to physically see that I was "ok" after our summer adventures.
We are now back in Breckenridge Colorado....after all there are many more mountains to be climbed out here.
We want to thank all of our friends and family for all of the support that you have given us this summer, we really could not have done this without the help of many of you. Thank you to all of our friends that we met along the trail, you truly helped to make the trail an adventure, we often wonder what all of you are doing now. If you read this blog please leave us a message. Also we have had many people read our blog that we don’t know, drop us a message as we are sure you are friends from the past or avid hikers that we would like to stay in touch with.
LTD and Boston