Sunday August 6, 2017
Katahdin Summit Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail 5.2 miles
Total mileage 1166.1
Last night was an Appalachian Adventure! We had a severe thunder and lightening storm with very heavy rain and I’m sleeping in a tent! It started about 10:30 pm and stopped about midnight. Thankfully I stayed mostly dry. I got a lot of back splash from the rain coming through the screen of my tent so I need to make sure I don’t stake out my doors/vents when there is possible rain. This should prevent me from getting the back splash. I put up anything I could find in my tent around the screening to prevent the water from coming in. I had my umbrella opened and covering the end and one side of my sleeping bag. My backpack was against the screen in another area, my sit pad in another, my food bag in another and the list goes on. All in an effort to keep my sleeping bag dry so I could sleep. SHORTCUT didn’t make out so well. She was using her sleeping pad like a raft in the middle of her tent surrounded by water. She was getting a lot of water in her tent. Plus after getting caught in the rain storm from a couple of nights ago she was so ready to be done with this trail. SOULFLOWER also had some water in her tent, but her tent is pretty worn out. She used it on the PCT and this whole trail so she had some random small pinholes in it that allowed her sleeping bag to get wet.
We were up early and got packed up. I had a very muddy and dirty tent to pack up. I knew I would be going into town after this so I would worry about cleaning it up later. My one pound tent now feels like it is four pounds with all the water/dirt weight. Luckily we are leaving our gear at the ranger station and hiking up Katahdin with minimal weight.
We started our climb at 6:45 am with a very overcast sky, but it was supposed to clear up.
We only made it about 2.5 miles before we had to put our trekking poles away and start pulling ourselves up rocks. Sometimes I was pulling SOULFLOWER up and SHORTCUT was pushing her from behind trying to help her up the huge climbs. SOULFLOWER is only 5’3″. It wasn’t long after that that we had other guys pulling all of us up areas. Things were really getting scary for me. I had to just keep my head down and just following others feet. I was now above treeline and very scared. Luckily we were really fogged in and in the clouds that I couldn’t see a whole lot, but I could see enough to be super scared. In some areas I was begging people for help. Asking them how they got up and over a boulder or having them coach me through a climb. A lot of the mountain I just crawled up on all fours. Sometimes crying and hyperventilating! I just wanted to be done with this mountain. The higher we got the worse the weather got. By time we reached the top we had ice crystals starting to form on our clothes. It was super windy and I was freezing. I would guess the wind speed around 40 mph.
As soon as I got to the top I just wanted to get my picture take by the sign and get the hell out of there.
We took the Hunt trail up which is the official AT trail which took us about 4.5 hours to go 5.2 miles. On the way down we took an easier trail, but still very difficult and scary, the Abol trail. It took us about 3 hours to go the 4.4 miles down, but this trail deposited us in a campsite about 2 miles from where we needed to be. SHORTCUT was able to get us a ride back to where we needed to go to pick up our gear. Then we still needed to get another ride into town that was 45 minutes away. SHORTCUT came through for us again. She managed to get us a ride all the way to our hostel. Thank you SHORTCUT!!!
I am so thankful to be done with the northern half of the trail and injury free. Although I did leave blood on Katahdin it was minor .