It only took a year and some change, but I FINALLY got Colleen to join Livin’ Deliberately’s writing team. Here she details the second climb of Katahdin this summer, via the Hunt Trail this time. Be sure to give a ton of feedback so I can convince her to keep coming back!
When it comes to adventures, Tyler is usually the mastermind of the whole ordeal as I wait anxiously to hear the new scheme we’ll get to go on. This time it was a bit different. I asked Tyler if he would be interested in hiking Katahdin again, taking a different route than our earlier summer trek, and spend the weekend up at his family’s great cabin. Tyler obviously hated the idea and we decided to sit home all weekend and binge watch Netflix.
If you can’t tell, I’m joking. We immediately wrote it on the white board calendar and powered through the tedious first two weeks back at school.
Friday afternoon we started our drive up, which was admittedly drawn out due to an extremely necessary Chipotle stop, and arrived to camp giddy for our hike in the morning. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait that long since the 4AM alarm comes nice and early. After some oatmeal and coffee we hopped in the Blazer and took the quick drive to the Baxter State Park entrance. The gate is listed as opening “generally around 6AM” on the Baxter State Park, which is not only the most Northern Maine thing I’ve ever heard but it also adds to the anticipation and excitement of the hike. Once in we headed to Katahdin Stream Campground, enjoyed a quick jam session to some Jimmy Buffett (the muse of our adventures), and laced up the hiking boots.
With our official sign in time at 7:00 AM, we cruised through the first 1.3 miles of the Hunt Trail which consisted mostly of a level dirt path. You know you’ve hit 1.3 miles because you arrive to an amazing wooden bridge, your last chance of a water bottle refill at Katahdin Stream, and a toilet. An additional 0.2 miles and you reach Katahdin Stream Falls. Now my initial reaction was to run up the trail to get a better view, however there is hidden viewpoint at the bottom that Tyler thankfully pointed out. After a few pictures we continued up the trail.
From here the trail increases in difficulty. A series of numerous stone stair cases lead us up large boulders that require a little bit of climbing for the next 1.5 miles, but I guess if we weren’t really into that type of thing we probably wouldn’t be climbing a mountain, now would we. After that we reached some more serious boulders for about 1 mile, a few even with metal pegs to help boost us up, and offer some stunning views of the ranges around us. Then, just as quickly as our hike started, we reached the Tablelands. Now close your eyes and imagine you just landed on the moon, but the moon was dusted with a little bit of desert terrain, then add a bunch of sweaty people who think it’s a good idea to hike in jeans. That’s what the Tablelands look like. We popped some trail mix into our mouths, sipped our Nalgenes, and decided to keep pushing forward instead of resting with a group of outspoken female body builders.
With only 1.5 miles to the summit, I turned to Tyler and commented on how beautiful and clear the peak was. With that single remark, fog rolled in covering just the peak. Tyler looked at me, actually it was more like a scowl you’d give your dog while they shit on the carpet while maintaining constant eye contact with you, and told me I better be careful or Pamola would throw me off the mountain. Who’s Pamola you ask? Don’t worry; if you aren’t familiar with Maine lore or Native American mythology chances are you think I’m naming an exotic fruit. Pamola is the mythological protector of Mount Katahdin described by the Abenaki Tribe. With the head of a moose, body of a man, and wings of an eagle, he brings cold weather and likes to ruin young college girl’s hikes. However, the peak was just as satisfying as ever.
After soaking up the summit and some pop-tarts and peak photos (say that five times fast) we headed back down the mountain. Now the Tablelands are a nice and easy 1.5 miles unless you are Tyler and nature calls at very inconvenient times with absolutely no tree coverage or leaves to improvise with. I’ll spare you the details. From then the steep down hill boulders, which can be tough on your knees and hips, will offer some awesome views of the ranges around. To our thirsty relief, we reached Katahdin Stream refilling our water bottles and blasting through the last 1.3 miles ending our hike around 3:15 PM. In true celebratory fashion, we chowed down on boxes of macaroni and cheese and ice tea from the Abol Bridge Campground store.
This trek, most likely the last one up Katahdin in 2016, was a one to remember. Even though this was Tyler’s fifth time up the mountain, I was ecstatic to journey up Katahdin for the second time ever and without twelve blisters. Katahdin always makes me feel connected and thankful of Maine. Not only does it offer arguably the most beautiful views of Maine, it instills a confidence in myself of my physical and mental ability. There really is no amount of personal stress or insecurities that can’t be knocked away by climbing 5,267ft.
Colleen Geaumont, 9/22/16