Hiking Mount Katahdin, the Final Summit of New England’s Highest Peaks

hiking Mount Katahdin

Hiking Mount Katahdin

With a grueling 11 hours of continual effort, I managed to complete a project I started with my husband over 20 years earlier: to summit all of New England’s highest peaks. I may not be a fast hiker, but I am persistent.

hiking Mount Katahdin

My family and I started to hike up Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak, at 8 a.m. at the Abol Campground, 3.8 miles from the summit. We hiked pleasantly for a mile or so along Abol Trail, but I slowed down considerably when we reached the boulders and the slide, a tricky area requiring scrambling–using my arms and legs to maneuver and pull myself up and around boulders.

hiking Mount Katahdin

hiking Mount Katahdin

My teenage boys bounded ahead; they waited for my husband and me at the tablelands, a plateau that we reached around 11:30.

hiking Mount Katahdin

hiking Mount Katahdin

From there, it was an easy ascent of one mile to the Katahdin summit, a crowded place on this beautiful August day.

hiking Mount Katahdin

hiking Mount Katahdin

I had found the scramble up to be very challenging and did not want to scramble down it. We took the Appalachian Trail (Hunt Trail) down, a longer route with a gentler grade that turned out to be not so gentle after all.

hiking Mount Katahdin

hiking Mount Katahdin

The scrambles on the Hunt Trail were steep and tricky also, if anything trickier than what we saw on Abol, which made for a mentally- and physically-challenging 5.2-mile hike down. I didn’t finish until 7 p.m., a full three hours later than the average time it takes hikers.

New England’s Highest Peaks

Many years earlier, my husband and I did a lot of backpacking, and we set out to summit all of New England’s highest peaks. Through a mistake in geography that I don’t quite remember, we didn’t count Maine as a part of New England, so we never tried Katahdin. Before we knew it, we had kids, and the quest to hike this remote mountain had been tabled for many years. Now, finally, we’re done!

I am so slow and cautious on anything with tricky footing that I doubt I will do another hike this challenging with my speedy kids. I hope they will have many adventures ahead of them going at any pace they please. [Update: I ended up hiking the Inca Trail with them the next year.]

Acadia National Park

The day after hiking Katahdin, we visited Acadia National Park. We rested our weary bodies as we traveled by car on the Park Loop Road through the lovely eastern section of Mt. Desert Island. We all felt like cheaters when we stepped out of the car on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. That’s not how hikers reach a summit! With blistered feet and aching thighs, though, I gave myself a free pass to enjoy the views.

Acadia National Park, Maine

And the lobster rolls we had were pretty good too!

Lobster roll Maine

{Like hiking? While heights and scrambles scare me, check out the Trish, Alex and Sage blog for inspiring tales of a mother and her two daughters hiking all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers.}

What has been your favorite place to hike?

#57: 101 Things in 1001 Days. Hike Mount Katahdin.

#57 Hike Mount Katahdin


Hike the Inca Trail

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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19 Responses to Hiking Mount Katahdin, the Final Summit of New England’s Highest Peaks

  1. Great pictures!! Love the family one at the top 😀

    ANd that lobster roll looks fantastic!! 😛
    Shannon ~ My Place In The Race recently posted..Bye Bye Baby BoyMy Profile

  2. Kristen says:

    Congrats on making it to the summit! I couldn’t quite do it and discovered my long lost fear of heights on this my first hike with my family. It’s a tough one. Great adventure though!!

  3. Winter says:

    Great job for marking that one off your life list! I love that you involved your family too! I am feeling inspired to hike some of our mountains here in Utah, but I am worried about blisters and aching thighs. Btw, I also want a lobster roll now!
    Winter recently posted..Happy Weekend!My Profile

  4. What a wonderful hike! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time. Were there any thru-hikers that happened to finish while you were up there?
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  5. I love walking and hiking. I’ve hiked in various parts of Canada over the years and could not possibly pick a favourite. However, the far North holds a big chunk of my heart. Now that I’ve settled on a small island on the West Coast of Canada, my trekking includes a good friend, lots of good conversation and new vistas of familiar views.

    What a great way to spend a family day. Well done!
    Amy@SoulDipper recently posted..Food is Love; Love is FoodMy Profile

  6. Congratulations on ascending all of New England’s highest peaks! That’s a huge accomplishment.

    We’ve only been on Katahdin once, but the peak left a huge impression on all three of us. We ascended Cathedral Trail on the other side of the mountain and loved the experience. Abol sounds like a lot of work and a lot of fun — hope we get the chance to check it out one day.

    Don’t worry about taking longer than you expected — better to be relatively slow but steady than to go too fast and fall off the mountain. 🙂

    Thanks for the shout-out.
    Patricia Ellis Herr recently posted..The Friday Wrap: GirlVentures, Highpointing, and a Very Big TripMy Profile

  7. beebeesworld says:

    I love lord Write on Edge linkup to your story on Mt. Katahdin. I love in the Southern Appalachians, also near the Appalachian Trail and was surprised at how different the landscape and scenery are. The areas here, are for the most part, densely wooded, with a few balds and numerous rock outcroppings and waterfalls. I would love to hike this beautiful area in your photos. I will follow your blog (If you will tell me how-I didn’t see a link) and hope you will follow my blog as well. beebeesworld

    • Marcy says:

      I used to dream of hiking the whole Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, but I have never been on it down south. The part I did on this hike was the last 5 miles of the AT.

  8. What beautiful views you had, but I have to agree that was NOT a gentle descent! It’s lovely that you did this hike as a family and created lots of wonderful memories. Your journey the next day looked wonderful too (I definitely think you deserved a rest), and that yummy-looking lobster roll was well earned!

    I’m not really a hiker, but I did climb Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid with my parents years ago, and I have made it nearly to the summit of Mount Vesuvius (we were not allowed to the crater because it was pouring with rain and very windy…they didn’t want to lose any tourists!).
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