After a near sleepless night at Katahdin Stream Campground there was some nervous energy as we got ready to climb our last mountain on September 25th. I was cold in my sleeping bag for the first time, so I could have started up much earlier, but we got going around 6:15am. It was just getting light as we trundled on. The trail was kind to us for a little bit and then there were a few rocks. We got to a bridge over Katahdin Stream and then started climbing stairs. At this point Beth (who was awesome enough to summit with me) was already feeling the burn. The Katahdin falls marked 1.4 miles from the start. That part went fast…the last 4.1 miles took a long time! Soon we got into boulders and then into slabs of rock. The trail was well marked thankfully, but some of the places we looked up and thought: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? There were a few places where we weren’t sure if we could make it up, but somehow we did. Thanks to the help of other hikers holding feet or offering hands to pull!
I had told Beth it would be a full body workout. Indeed! We weren’t
looking forward to coming back down those boulders. We reached the tablelands and had a snack. At this point we had heard that the hardest part was over. YEAH! The tablelands were much flatter and the rocks much smaller. There was even some easy walking in there. We passed by a spring and made our way up to the peak. It looked like we would have to go off to the right, but as we got closer we could tell there was a large gathering of people on the peak closest to us. Are we almost there?
As we got closer they yelled for me to come into the group picture. I sat next to N Trovert and got tears in my eyes. Wow. My journey is over. It was pretty overwhelming. We did it!! OH MY GOSH! There were a lot of people up at the top, many of which I didn’t know. I would say there were about 25-30 up there. I waited awhile to take my picture with the sign, and it was so cold and windy. I was eager to get somewhere not as cold. I took pictures with the Troverts and Beth and took pictures of the challenge coin I brought up for Gypsy and a yellow golf tee that Andi VanHove had given me before I started. Wow.
I thought about those that are not with me, that were unable to finish. Like Reaper and Alison and others that I know have gotten off the trail. Why was I special and was able to finish? It’s just crazy.
At one point I was taking pictures for a group and one of the guys asked me if I was good at taking pictures…this is important. I immediately got the hint. He proposed to his girlfriend and I was the photographer. I hope I got some good pictures. Pretty cool. That is the second engagement that has happened on the top that I am aware of this year. Tree trunk said that guys will have to be careful now if they are hiking with their girlfriend because there will be some expectations when they reach the peak.
We reached the top a little before 11am and we headed back down around 11:30. I was so ready to get out of the wind and when we reached the end of the tablelands we ate lunch. Then we started the boulders. We found that we could slide down most of them and that was easier than going up. I wasn’t sure my shorts were going to hold up much longer. At one point I asked if my shorts were still there! My knees were threatening to give out, but I coaxed a couple more hours out of them. I have found that my balance has improved a lot since the beginning. That’s pretty cool.
Beth and I were very much looking forward to the first privy that we saw as we were coming down. It was about 1 mile from the bottom. We still had to navigate some rocks but eventually the path smoothed out and we saw the registration box! X and N were waiting for us and we decided to sing our summit song. I will put the song in the next post.
We finished at 4:28pm. We took 4.5 hours up and 5 hours down. Nearly a 10 hour day. Crazy. We met Alison and the Troverts met their base camp manager Ashley and her husband Clint. It was nice to meet them after hearing so much about them.
We were not sure how much we would be able to move the next day, especially Beth cause she hasn’t been hiking for 6 months. I am so thankful that she came with me. She is a really good friend!
It was an amazing day – hard, beautiful and emotional. Wow.