Katahdin – Northern End of the Appalachian Trail

Another through hike update from our friend “Patches” — End-to-end on the Appalachian Trail (AT) with Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider . . .

Well, they say that all good things must come to an end.   Unfortunately for this thru-hiker, that also goes for my thru hike.  4.5 months after leaving Springer Mountain in Georgia, I walked up to the large wooden sign on top of Katahdin and ended my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.  It is insane to me that it’s over.  I summited last Friday, July 13th at 4:37 am.  I’ve hiked Katahdin many times in the past so I decided that getting up there for sunrise would be a nifty way to change it up for my thru-hike.  Best decision ever.  It was absolutely stunning and allowed me to take it all in by myself for a few hours before the rest of my crew arrived.  It was a gorgeous day, as had been the entire week leading up to it.  Let me tell you about that.

After leaving Monson, ME on July 7th we entered the 100-mile wilderness.  I’ve never hiked in the 100-mile before and all I’ve heard is that it’s all bog board, mud and roots. I would strongly disagree with that.  I’d call it beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  From sunrise at Barren Ledges to the first great view of Katahdin from Whitecap and swimming in ponds and streams in between, the first two days rocked.  The last 2.5 days were also great.  The trail mellowed out a bit, which was a nice break for my legs.  We camped at some great camp sites and continued to get amazing views of Katahdin.  The group I’ve been hiking with since MA/VT was still together and we picked up another hiker for the last week.  We hiked together throughout the 100-mile and into Baxter.

Upon exiting the 100-mile Wilderness, we camped at Abol Bridge Campground and then enjoyed an EASY 10 mile day on Thursday over to Katahdin Stream Campground.  That was it.  That was our last night together on the trail.  I wanted to keep hiking with these guys for a long while, but everyone else was ready to be done.  I wasn’t ready.  A huge part of me was thinking of turning around and hiking back to the Whites (then I remembered how tough southern Maine was).  I decided I’d be done, too.  I’d say bye to my friends.  Friends who had become my family, my support system, my cheerleaders.  It is difficult to adequately explain the community and bonds that form on the Appalachian Trail.  For many of us, it is a dream, an experience of a lifetime.  A journey that is difficult to convey to those who are not on it.  I hope that my words and pictures have done justice to my journey.  I hope you  have a taste of what it is like to hike the AT and perhaps you are inspired to get out there and do a little more hiking yourself.

Climbing Katahdin in the middle of the night

Summiting! –> Definitely check out this video.  This is DEF not the reaction I thought I’d have upon reaching the end.  I’m normally an icy gal when it comes to emotions.  Who would’ve thought?!?!

Thanks for sharing in the journey!!  And a HUGE thank you to Mike and the fine folks at Hyperlite Mountain Gear for hooking me up with the Windrider pack and cheering me on in my journey!

Much love,

Patches

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