Katahdin

It’s been a big week. You only turn 40 once. I honored the last day of my 30’s with a special solo adventure to “my Mecca.”

 

Mount Katahdin has been a beacon for me ever since I was a kid. My mother, Lynn, is from Upper Frenchville, Maine on the Canadian border. Most of our vacations were to “Vacationland” which meant making the 500+ mile drive from Connecticut to Aroostook County via I-95, Rt. 11, and Rt. 1. Every time we saw Katahdin, heading north or south, we were thrilled. The mountain stands out. There are other hills and a few lesser mountains in this part of Maine, but unlike the White Mountains, the lack of a range highlights Katahdin’s prominence.

 

 

Our family visited Baxter State Park several times, but we never made it on to the mountain. My parents made a trip to the top in the mid-70’s and often spoke about that adventure. It wasn’t until I was in the Boy Scouts and Troop 11 made a trip to the Maine High Adventure Camp on Grand Lake Matagamon in 1989, that I got on to the mountain. Prior to a seven-day canoe trip in northern Maine, we hiked Katahdin, but we didn’t make it to the 5,267 foot summit. We were turned back at Thoreau Spring on the Hunt Trail, only one mile from the top. It was painful to return to the bottom without the prize.

The mountain called me back in September 1994. I was a senior at Boston College, had a few extra days off, and made an important mid-week solo trip to Baxter. I made it to the top, was shattered from the hike, but held on to the joy for a long time.

 

 

In October 2000, I proposed to Debbie from the Katahdin scenic overlook on I-95, but we didn’t make it to Baxter. We were headed for Frenchville.

 

Debbie and I returned in July 2002, along with 15 other cousins, aunts, and uncles. We had a tough day with nasty weather. Still, we guided the group to the summit before making a hasty retreat back down the mountain. We had no views. Debbie and I also bagged Hamlin Peak (a sub-peak) on the way down as part of our quest to hike all of the 4,000 foot mountains of New England. The next day, we ran the other official 4,000 footer in Baxter, North Brother. We have run and hiked a lot of other mountains since then.

 

I’ve been trying to get back there for 10 years, but work, family, and so many other aspects of life have kept me from the mountain. A beautiful picture of the mountain hangs prominently above our fireplace mantle, so the hill is always there, but I hadn’t touched it in a long time.

So, this past Tuesday, after work, I made the drive north. I stayed with my Aunt Terry in Portland, just as I did in 1994. I departed her house (base camp) at 4:30 A.M. on Wednesday, made it to Millinocket by 8:15 A.M., got to the Togue Pond Gatehouse, and then to the Roaring Brook Campground. I sorted my gear, signed the trail register at 9:05 A.M., and hit the trail.

My route, as captured by my GPS, took me in a counterclockwise 10.3 mile loop with 4,540 feet of elevation gain and loss. The route was: Chimney Pond Trail to North Basin Cut-Off to North Basin Trail to Hamlin Ridge Trail to Northwest Basin Trail to Saddle Trail to The Knife Edge Trail to Helon Taylor Trail and back to Roaring Brook. It was a thrilling trip. I had the North Basin to myself. There was no one on Hamlin Peak. I finally saw another person when I got to the Saddle.

I saw another 20 or so folks between the summit and The Knife Edge. The Baxter rangers had warned against Knife Edge, but I had a gorgeous day, the snow/ice wasn’t bad, and I was inspired. So, I took it and loved it. I also did it in 1994, but this time, I really appreciated the extreme exposure and beauty of the trail. I finally got my fix! I was able to run much of the Helon Taylor Trail on the way down and I was back at Roaring Brook before 3:00 P.M. I hopped back in the car and was in Portland by 7:00 P.M. My Aunt Terry and I had a celebration dinner at a great vegetarian restaurant called the Green Elephant.

Life Adventures!!!

 

Other Katahdin links:

http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2006/features/katahdin-final.cfm

http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/ideas/katahdin-baxter.cfm

http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2010/flashback/conquest-of-katahdin-map.cfm

http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/baxter97.html

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




HORST Engineering Family of Companies

Cross Spikes™ by HORST Cycling

Instagram

Some sights and sounds from yesterday’s Secret Squirrel CX. #cyclocross #teamhorstsports @horstcycling #crossspikes #teamhorstjuniorsquad
Connecticut XC State Open Championships #running #cc #crosscountry #trailrunning
Fantastic day in #hartford at the #aerospacealley trade show. The morning workforce development session included 40+ schools and 1,200+ students. Crossing the #connecticutriver at sunrise and then at sunset was spectacular.
Senior Night at Bolton High School: Bolton vs. Somers vs. Coventry. Made it from the middle school race in time for the boys race. Missed the girls but stayed for the festivities. #xc #running 🏃🏽‍♂️
Fantastic evening for XC at my middle school alma mater. Bolton vs. Vernon vs. Porter. @trailrunningmom is a wonderful coach! #running #xc 🏃🏽‍♀️
From #newyork Sunday for @pearljam at @thegarden to #Chicago on Wednesday for @imtschicago it’s already been a busy week with lots of planes, trains, automobiles, and jet packs! Amazing technology at the show.
#usa
A final @hardrock100run update for now and it’s a bit of a bummer. @trailrunningmom stoped at Animas Forks Aid Station just shy of the 59 mile mark. Persistent nausea and the inability to eat or drink weakened her. She arrived in Ouray in this condition and even a 40 minute nap didn’t improve the situation. She is at peace with her decision to stop and it helps that she finished this beast of a race in 2017 going the other direction. I unexpectedly joined her between Ouray and Animas Forks because I didn’t want to see her go alone. We got to suffer together for eight hours and enjoyed an amazing moonlit night. In our household there is always more to learn when you miss a goal than when you hit one.
@trailrunningmom has quite a crew assembled in Ouray at the @hardrock100run We await her arrival. From the looks of the tracking she was likely suffering in the climb and dealing with the t-storms. She might have had to hunker down because her location didn’t change for a long time. Now she appears to me hammering the six plus mile descent to the LOW point in the course in Ouray at a 7,792 feet.

Follow me on Twitter

Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 450 other followers

%d bloggers like this: