August 19, 2014
The Birches to Summit Mount Katahdin
Mileage: 5.2 Miles
What an ending this journey! I woke up at 5:00AM and felt like I had been run over by a truck. There is no way I could eat anything. Thank God another hiker named Zoo Man gave me two Pepto Bismal tablets. I had to drive with Happy Fella to pick up Deep Blue back at Abol Bridge. I was thinking it would have been better to hike back to pick up Blue then to take a ride down that bumpy road.
We picked up Blue and came back to the base of the mountain where I had camped and got sick, the night prior. I was very unsure that I would be able to complete the climb to the top. The good news was that it was a bright, sunny morning with gentle breezes which were very comfortable for hiking. Even though I was feeling drained of energy and sick, I was going for it!
Having lived my entire life in New England, I have had many invites to climb this amazing mountain. I always declined knowing that Katahdin would be the finale of my thru-hike. I am so glad that I did it this way. The country in Baxter State Park is a perfect place to end such awesome journey.
The early part of the hike was slow going. I was glad the hiking beneath treeline was not very strenuous. We hiked by a crystal clear stream called Katahdin Springs. The water was delicious. Once I got above treelike, the hike became a bit more challenging. Hiking up over and around large boulders all the way up to the table. There were two false summits and once I got to the table of the mountain, it was another 1.5 miles of easy hiking to the summit. I felt a lot better once I got to this point.
When I reached the summit with Deep Blue, there was a full scale celebration going on. People were capturing the epic day with pictures, drinks were flowing and everyone was celebrating. It was such a surreal day with this being my last climb of many over the past 5+ months. I tried to look at it as just the beginning of something new. I know that much of what I will take with me from this time on the AT happened somewhere in the middle of the two termini. Standing on top of Katahdin gave me a strong feeling of completion which, for the first time felt very real to me.
I spent much time with thru-hikers on the summit, knowing that I would not see many of then ever again. I took the obligatory pictures and eventually made my way down the mountain with Deep Blue. I have mixed emotions about my hike being over. I am thrilled to be going home to my family and prospects of a career. I am proud of myself for doing exactly what I set out to do on this thru-hike and hiked past every white blaze. I am sad that I have to leave behind the everyday adventures that the trail brought to my life. I hope that I can bring these adventures and make them a part of my everyday life. I will miss the trail, but I remain grateful for the fun times, great friends and unique experiences that I got only by getting out there and hiking the trail.