Well, after waiting for better weather in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park, the Princess and I returned to Millinocket late Saturday and I climbed Mount Katahdin on Sunday morning to finish my AT thru-hike. I have thru-hiked the AT! It’s something I’ve thought about for a long, long time and now seems like a dream. It’s hard to believe I actually did it and the reality of it will probably take a while to sink in.
I woke up at 4:40 a.m. Sunday morning and got my clothing and gear together, then went to the Appalachian Trail Cafe for breakfast at 5:00. After breakfast I drove out to Baxter State Park and started climbing Mount Katahdin at 6:35. I didn’t finish until 12:40, so it took me a little over six hours to get up and back down. Believe it or not, it took me longer to get down than to climb up. I reached the summit just after 9:00, took a short break to get photos, have a ceremony for Shorty, and eat a couple of PB&J’s. Then I started the slow descent back to the trailhead in Katahdin Stream Campground, where I had parked the car.
The trail started out fairly normal and then hit a long, long stretch of boulders that seemed to climb straight up. It was a somewhat technical climb and required finding good placement for your hands and feet to get up the rocks. After the boulder scramble there was a more flat stretch called the tableland, then a slightly steeper climb to the summit. The distance to the summit is 5.3 miles (one way) with a 4200 foot gain in elevation. I believe that’s the longest single climb on the AT by about 1000 feet. It’s definitely a ‘grand finale’.
After I finished I drove back to Millinocket to pick up Princess who was waiting patiently at the hotel. Then we went back to the Appalachian Trail Cafe and I had lunch, signed the ceiling tile that all thru-hikers sign, and picked up a few AT souvenirs.
Now we’re heading back to Virginia and I’m really looking forward to getting home. I have at least one more post to write about the trip, so please stay tuned.