Tagged: thru hike

It’s Official

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Climbing Katahdin

When you get to the end you expect the mountain Katahdin to be a simple punctuation mark on a long and sometimes painful journey. Once you start up you realize quickly that the climb up is going to be maybe the toughest climb on the entire trail. You start up from a nice comfortable riverfront campsite at the base and enjoy a leisurely but steadily ascending but once you start seriously climbing you realize that you are going to be in for a grueling day. The climb up incorporates elements from many other mountains we encountered along the trail. You can basically put your hiking poles away because your hike begins with a steep hands-on climb up with intermittent boulders lining the way toward what has been described by Spit Walker as a vertical Mahoosuc Notch which basically means that you take perhaps the most technically demanding mile along the AT. As you climb hand over foot up the face of huge boulders you realize you are hanging onto a huge rock for dear life as you look over your shoulder at the steep dropoff into the valley below.

I can not describe the feeling that came over me as I realized I would be taking my final steps. The Katahdin sign represents the culmination of a long, arduous journey that has been quite a drain at times. The relief that I can walk on my own for a while without the aid of white blazes gives me a sense of freedom believe it or not even though I will miss every single aspect of what the trail has to offer.

To make matters a little more perilous I was goaded into heading back down the mountain over the other side on a narrow, jutting, and mounding series of smaller peaks that are known as the Knife Edge. The name alone represents just how dicey the descent can be but since I came up one way (Hunt trail) I figured it would not be a wise idea to start backtracking miles now so I went up and over the peak and down the very ridge that conjured up the very intimidating name.

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