Day 170 – Summit Day

I had set my watch alarm for 4 a.m. I was sleeping so hard, I did not hear it and I woke up at 5:15 a.m. I did not sweat it. I did want to summit before the day heated up and the mountain produced it’s own weather.

I got my gear packed up and I walked over to the Baxter State Park Ranger Station. They have day packs for hikers to use instead of full backpacks.

I grabbed some water out of the creek to hydrate up and fill my water bottles. I also brought food, headlamp, some warmer clothes and a few other items in case something unlikely went wrong.

I signed in that I was leaving for the Mt. Kathadin summit.

The trail was nice and easy for the first mile or so. Passing my Kathadin Stream Falls, a great waterfall.

The trail slowly got a little more rocky, like a normal AT trail.

Then the trail turned into true mountain climb. It was climbing using both hands and legs to get up very steep sections of large boulders. The views were fantastic and the weather was perfect. I have no idea how I had the energy left to do this, but I did and it was one of the best days of my life. I maintained focus on safely climbing up.

After getting to a false peak, the trail opened up to a broad expanse of windblown table lands and climbing up the true summit.

As I was hiking up, a guy asked if it would be ok if he took pictures at the top, I said sure. I was still mission focused.

All the way up the mountain I was taking pictures and a few videos for fun.

I did not make a video of this part, I wanted a private moment. When I got to the top, fifty feet from the Kathadin summit sign, I broke down. I stopped in my tracks crying. People were urging me on, I was saying I don’t want it to end, I don’t want to touch the sign…it was pretty dramatic. I was the first thru hiker of the day. Everyone was quiet out of respect. Eventually, I made it to the sign…I hugged it tight, kissed it and collapsed crying holding it. My journey ended, just like that. People, total strangers were hugging me and telling me they were proud of me and congratulating me on completing the thru hike. The guy will share the photos with me that he took, might be interesting.

Eventually, I stood on the back of the summit sign for the traditional photo.

I sat down in silence and reflected as I ate food I brought with me. I thought about every single person who supported me and helped me in some way. I got a lot of help and support for sure.

It was time for me to hike backdown. Clouds starting to fill in and I did not want to risk a change in unforecasted weather. As I went down, other thru hikers I knew were coming up and we congratulated each other. I got more hugs too. People must have just sensed a need.

The hike down was very steep and fun. Feeling a little lost, but I got down safe and very proud of what I accomplished.

I got down and saw done friends who will summit tomorrow. I teared up and made them too. But was excited for them. We all own and process our experiences in our own way.

It was time for me to leave Baxter State Park. It took me two hitches to get to Millinocket, the closest town which was about 29 miles away may be. In town a hiker hostel had room for me. I had a Maine Lobster dinner and planned my trip back home.

I weighted myself after dinner and I lost 58 pounds on the hike. LOL. I will need a belt for my pants…LOL

A grateful Thru Hiker thanks everyone from the bottom of my heart.

42 thoughts on “Day 170 – Summit Day

  1. Thanks for taking us along!Looked forward to the blogs every day……Jason P Moran, Man of great courage and determination, Very proud of you….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A big high-five man! You did it just like I knew you would. I even teared up a bit reading your post… did the same when Shark Bait reached the top and made a video. He lost 38# and you lost 58#… WOW! I’ve got an old sweat-stained leather belt I used to wear backpacking and it has a string of hand-punched holes so I could keep tightening it as I hiked mostly out west. You set the alarm for 4 and woke up at 5:15… I guess you slept well! ha Email me when you get settled back in, and we ‘ll get together for that drink! Looking forward to meeting you and shaking your hand! Job well done, J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you a ton. I will need a belt for a while. I look forward to shaking your hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just pure awesome! I had my heart in my throat reading your descriptions. Congratulations seems inadequate. What a fantastic accomplishment. Thank you so much for taking us along for the adventure.
    Dave Shannon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dave. Thanks for following. I have enjoyed following you running!

      Like

  4. Congratulations!!! You are amazing!!! This was such an incredible journey, I thank you so much for sharing it with us!!! I found myself wishing you weren’t going to be done too-I will surely miss your posts. Your pictures have been just breathtaking and your writing is so engaging. I hadn’t considered all of the emotions you would be experiencing. I pray you have a smooth transition back to life outside of the woods!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am just a normal guy, who has wonderful friends and family, as you know! Things will work out with the transition.

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  5. Sharon and Dave August 21, 2018 — 7:32 am

    Congratulations! We are from Maine and have been following your Blog! What an awesome feeling this whole trip must have been! Best of luck in whatever lies ahead for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been so awesome. Maine is a challenging and beautiful State and great people. Thank you for the well wishes. Best of luck to you both too!

      Like

  6. PartAnimal PartMachine August 21, 2018 — 7:44 am

    The journey begins….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bravo and heart-felt congratulations to one of America’s finest citizens. You did with style and developed a real sense of purpose. Take your time and ease into the civilization that awaits you. The lobster looks scrumptious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The lobster was soooooo yummy!

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      1. Mary Lou Iverson August 22, 2018 — 4:24 pm

        I can only imagine. I ate a Maine lobster sandwich in Kennebunkport and at home when Jerry brought home a whole box full of live ME lobster. Best ever. You earned it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats buddy. I’m so happy, proud, yet sad for you. I kinda feel like one of Floyd’s burritos…you know what the ingredients are but just not sure how they will process – hahaha!!! I’m sure you’re like a burrito as well only with a little extra salsa and sour cream to mix in. Have a safe journey back to civilization when the time is right and thanks again for the blog and the updates. You are a remarkable friend and I’m proud of your accomplishment and what your future might hold in store for you. Only you know but others might have an idea 😉 (insert two talking pens segment here…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha…those pens…hope YOU are ready for them. Also, thanks for the kind words my friend.

      Like

  9. Jason, just so happy and grateful you made it. I had no doubts, but there’s always that stray tree that could just stop you in your tracks! 😉 (super glad you weren’t in its way!)

    I can’t imagine what an emotional high, the culmination of 6 months of walking, how that feels. I’m so sad that my dad did not make it, but I’m beyond happy that you did. I can’t wait to see you when you get back and hear more about it. I hope you can handle the new/old city and the hustle and bustle. In the meantime, thank you again for the amazing photos, the daily blog and for keeping us in your thoughts. I, along with many others, will miss reading your story day by day. It was often the highlight of our day, and we talked about your trip and what you were up to. thanks for your random calls, it was good to hear your voice and know you were doing ok.

    Let us know if you need a ride home from the airport, when you arrive. We can help!

    see you soon!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See you and the gang soon. I do miss the smiles, laughs and commeraderie. I might have to relearn proper office ettique again.

      Like

  10. Jessica, Chad, Dean and Ryan August 21, 2018 — 9:23 am

    Amazing!!! Congratulations!!!! So happy for you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment. I can hardly wait to have you back to hear all the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m crying, I’m so happy for you. Happy hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No crying…your make up will run….hahaha…happy hugs back

      Like

  13. Awesome, simply awesome. You just did something special few would even contemplate, let alone finish. It was a highlight of my day to follow along your journey, both the highs and the lows. Plus how many people can say they know an AT thru hiker? I’m going to miss the daily blogs but can’t wait to hear more of the adventure in person. Safe travels getting back Jason! Or do we call you PC now?

    Like

    1. You can always call me Pace Car. I did not know if I could finish, but I was going to give all I had to try. I would tell people it’s great to try huge things and not to be afraid of potential failure. Just do what you dream.

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  14. Congrat’s Jason!! You are Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an amazing journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. See you soon.

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    2. Thanks John. See ya soon!

      Like

  15. JASON! Crying tears of joy for you! We are all so proud of you and your accomplishments. I get goosebumps just thinking about what those folks on the peak were thinking when they saw you. What a special moment for you and for them. Connectedness with total strangers – something you’ve experienced so many times on this journey. What a gift!

    As much as I’ll miss the daily updates, I know that I and others can’t wait to see you!!! A big, high-calorie lunch to put some of those pounds back on is on the docket – as soon as you’re ready. 🙂

    I still can’t believe I checked the blog yesterday and hadn’t seen any updates since Day 165. I figured that you were signal-less in the 100 Mile Wilderness so would catch up soon. Little did I know you’d made it already! Safe travels home and CONGRATULATIONS on an incredible achievement!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this! I cannot wait to see you and others. The bonds of friendship cannot be separated by the miles. I too have thought a lot about everyone while hiking miles and it would bring a smile to my face. I am glad we got to share this all together.

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  16. What an amazing journey Jason, thank you for bringing us all along. Congratulations

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fantastic and so awesome Jason!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a journey you’ve been on! I’m filled with gratitude that I could follow along. Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so proud to be your aunt, grateful that you are home safely now and looking forward to seeing you soon! Hugs and kisses to you for a job well done Jason!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you are my aunt also! Slept a good part of the day today. Hope to see ya soon.

      Like

  20. Unbelievable. I blink and you’re at the top of a mountain! But not just any old mountain. Congratulations!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is amazing what can happen during the time of a blink.

      Like

  21. Congratulations Jason! Such an awesome adventure. Thanks for all the sharing. I think everyone reading your posts have learned a few things along the way too. An amazing accomplishment! See you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. See you soon!

      Like

  22. Congratulations Jason my friend. You did it!! Your memory album with all the beautiful pics and stories of the great people you met along the way will be a true treasure. Your one lucky, brave and amazing guy to get to experience this extraordinary journey, live to tell about it, and enjoy a lifetime of the memories you made. Be proud. High five! YOU MADE IT!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my friend. See you soon!

      Like

  23. Just finished reading every post. What a journey. Great pictures and great respect. Congratulations. You have a great writing style. It really brought me back to my own hike.

    Auto Draft AT’15

    Like

    1. Thanks Auto Draft, I appreciate it. Hats off to you for your journey too!

      Like

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