Day 110 – KATAHDIN!

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters most, in the end. – Ernest Hemingway

Miles hiked up 5.2 (hiked down too but those miles don’t count)

Boy oh boy, am I glad I waited the extra day to some of Katahdin. Everything about today was pretty perfect. We were able to catch the shuttle to Baxter State Park at 6:30 AM.

The Penobscot Indian tribe has a special ceremony each year around Labor Day at Katahdin so the park was extremely full and we had to wait in a line to get through the park gates.

I started hiking at 7:53 AM toward the summit. Everyone had warned how hard The hike would be today. Over and over we heard this was the hardest mountain of the Appalachian trail. We were prepared!

It was not the hardest mountain on the trail.

We flew up the mountain and reach the summit in two hours and 40 minutes. Sure there were parts that were difficult but over all the hike to the summit was a great hike.

It was a small city up there.

Timeless and I hiked up and down the mountain with the Colonel (Greyeagle). I still want to be him when I grow up. He is 75 years old and has thru-hiked the AT and kept up with me. This man has fought in every war since Vietnam, I was honored to hike to the summit with him.

Last couple of weeks with Timeless have been so enjoyable for me. I got back that social part of the trail that I was missing by going to the RV every night. I absolutely loved summiting with a friend.

Girl on Fire is headed home for awhile.

Day 109 – One More Day

“PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE my young padawan” – Yoda

Miles hiked 1.6

I was supposed to summit today. I did not. When Timeless and I woke up and looked at the weather we had a decision to make. Did we want our last day on the Appalachian trail to be in bad weather with no view? Or did we want to wait a day when the weather was supposed to be better?

We decided to wait one more day.

After we made that decision we needed to get a hitch to get back to Hugh. We walked to the parking lot where people were dropping off hikers that we’re planning on still going up and ran into Blackfoot. Blackfoot was one of the hikers that Hugh fed hotdogs two on his trail magic day. There really is such a thing as karma on the trail. 

Blackfoot’ dad was dropping him off and he gave us a ride back to a point where we only had to hike 1.6 miles to where Hugh was camping with the RV. We arrived just in time because Hugh was packing up getting ready to head into town. 

This will be a nice break before summiting Katahdin. We will catch a shuttle at 6:30 in the morning that will take us to the trailhead. RVs are not allowed within the park.

Hopefully the next thing you’ll see from me is a summit picture.

Day 108 – Best Lunch Break Ever

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

Miles height 20.1

Timeless and I wanted to get an early start, so we could have a longer break with Hugh today. So we started off at 5:30 AM, while it was still pretty dark outside. It lightened up pretty much by 6:15 AM and we we’re urged on by the thought of a hot lunch.

It was still a pretty rough trail for the first 10 miles.  The trail goes around a lot of streams and lakes where the roots of the trees are pretty much on the ground.

We climbed over some rocks on the streams and just kept our heads down and hiked. It was all about getting into Abol bridge.

And finally there she was!

We knew Hugh awaited us as soon as we crossed the bridge. You can see the RV in the picture below under the trees.

We were lucky enough that a man, that was taking pictures of rafters that were floating underneath us, took time to take our picture too. Then it was off to the RV.

What an awesome break! We lounged around for a couple of hours and then fixed a lunch of spaghetti, meatballs, bread and salad. It was exactly what we needed and so good to see the Hubster. We repacked our packs, leaving our tents behind, because we had a lean-to reserved at the campground. Then once again we set off.

We were entering Baxter State Park where Katahdin awaits us. The trail turned back into a WONDERFUL trail.

The waterfalls were everywhere!

We followed the river for the first hour of our afternoon hike.

Then we pasted “Big Niagara Falls”. It was a beautiful waterfall but it was NOT bigger than the real thing.

You cannot believe how man lake/ponds Maine has. And what the call a pond – we most definitely would call a lake.

We got to our lean-to (dang it I forgot to take a picture) it was getting dark. We blew up our air mattresses, unpacked our sleeping bags and settled in for the evening. After eating our sandwiches, we each curled up under our sleeping bags and read for a bit. It was a cold night. The temps were in the high 30’s, but we both stayed warm in our sleeping bags.

When checking in at the Ranger’s Station and getting our permit to climb Katahdin ( I was NoBo #581) we learned the weather was not going to be great for summiting tomorrow. We decided to make the call in the morning whether to go or wait a day.

At the base of the Big Rock Candy Mountain!

Day 107 – Thirty Mile Marathon

Walk is a four-letter word. – Janet Ridgway 

Miles hiked today 30. There you go

Today our goal was 30 miles. That would leave 20 miles for tomorrow and we would be at the base of Katahdin. Hugh dropped us off back where he picked us up and we were off.

We thought we had landed in the Emerald City. With a path so wonderful that we knew 30 miles would be an easy trek.

We were carefree and happy, taking pictures to remember this wonderful trail.

We passed beautiful lakes/ponds. Some had beaches of sand, others of gravel.

And we were most surprised by this staircase. We could not believe someone had gone to all the trouble to put it there. We had to climb steeper and much more difficult banks than this one. Go figure!

We had to cross many streams but never got our shoes wet. There were always stones strategically place to get across.

We took very short breaks that day, but at one we met this little fellow. I think he knew a lot of hikers because he was not scared of us at all. I shared a Skittles with him.

About 10 miles into our 30 miles the trail changed. Our easy walk became a hard hike.  Foot placement became all important. There was no more looking around and gazing. It was watch where you walk. It was lift your knees high enough that you don’t trip. It was exhausting.

There were a couple of lighthearted moments. This is my stone throne. Queen of the Trail.

Then it was back to more slogging through the roots and the rocks. I have to say with the exception of about 15 miles Maine has been absolutely wonderful. But those 15 miles came on a 30 mile day!

I knew we were getting close to the camp we had chosen for the night when we passed the Cascades. They were wonderful but we didn’t stop for very long because the sun was going down.

We made it to the lake where we set up camp at 7:15 PM. The sun was setting and we put our tents up pretty much in the dark. It was a very, very long day, but I was excited that I put in 30 miles in one day.

Getting close,