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.