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.
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.
My teenage boys bounded ahead; they waited for my husband and me at the tablelands, a plateau that we reached around 11:30.
From there, it was an easy ascent of one mile to the Katahdin summit, a crowded place on this beautiful August day.
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.
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.
And the lobster rolls we had were pretty good too!
What has been your favorite place to hike?
#57: 101 Things in 1001 Days. Hike Mount Katahdin.