September 28 post
An inch and a half of rain fell last night, so it will be a messy 3.3 miles back to the Roaring Brook parking lot today. I am not looking forward to it -- least of all the heavy packs laden with all our group equipment, trash, and leftover food.
This was surely my wettest sunrise walk so far, a constant vigil of rock and puddle jumping. Two rangers from the Chimney Pond station were the only people I saw. They pointed out the waterfalls coming down the face of Katahdin this morning.
"I've never seen that much water coming down there," Craig remarked.
Yesterday, however, was lovely. Perfect temperature, mostly clear skies to the north, with the usual misty curtain dancing and retreating around Baxter Peak.
It is an extraordinary mountain, no matter how you look at it, and no route up is ever easy.
It's a fitting final challenge for through hikers finishing the Appalachian Trail, and this is their finishing time of year. Several finishers were up top together yesterday, celebrating. Tequila, champagne, cigars, and lots of hooting and hollering.
This was my 5th climb and my 4th summit success (I was stopped by high wind and thick cloud on top of Pamola Peak the 1st time). It was my first time up Hamlin Peak - my third 4000 footer in Maine. From there my cousin and I trekked across the tablelands and up to the summit of Katahdin - Baxter Peak.
It never loses its impressiveness, and the sense of accomplishment is great. I thought I had done something pretty cool, summitting at age 50 -- but we have some nearly 70 year olds in our group, and a woman who broke her neck in 3 places in a car accident 16 months ago. Climbing Katahdin was her final dream in the long road to recovery - and she made it. The ranger told us of 2 regular Katahdin climbers who just summited - at age 80 and just shy of 80 years old.
"This might be my last time to the summit," said the 80 year old man.
This mountain with its massive granite slabs and arctic vegetation has an indescribable allure. I was thinking maybe this would be my last time up. I don't have such enthusiasm for the pain in the body, the tentative balancing on rocks for hours on end, the sodden feet and relentless tramping.
But once I've had a nice hot shower and slept in my own bed, I'll remember, look at pictures, and think again.
Makes you proud to be a Mainer.