Every summer my family embarks north during the third weekend in June to take a jaunt up the tallest mountain in Maine, the 5269′ Katahdin in Baxter State Park. The tradition started with Pops and I in 2014, and has gradually grown to include more and more people over the years. Last year was the first year that all five of us did the hike together, as my mom and both sisters snagged their summit on a cloudy and windy day on the Saddle Trail. This year we took on the Abol Trail with a good bunch of people, and rather than have me write about Katahdin again (1, 2), I’ve enlisted Sophia to make her Livin’ Deliberately debut. One of my two amazing sisters, the youngest Neville to ever stand atop Kathadin, and an all-around badass, here’s her unedited recap.
Saturday morning I woke to the smell of bacon. I was trying to get a few more minutes of sleep but I could not resist that smell. I went down the ladder and everyone was up and talking VERY loudly as they got ready. We all went to our cars to begin our adventure.
We drove to Baxter State Park which was not open yet so we had to wait in the car line for a long time (but stuck in a car with your favorite people isn’t that bad!) We finally got through the rangers station and we parked our car in the Abol Campground parking lot. We signed in the log book, so they could look for us if we didn’t come out. And then it was time…we started the hike in hot air, last time we did this it was raining so this was already a better hike.
The beginning was really easy but we all knew it would get harder. We stopped at the “You’re Entering The Maine Wilderness” sign and had a water break. After that we hiked in the woods for a long time maybe 1 or 2 hours maybe even 3. I’d say that was the most boring part! But we took breaks every quarter mile or so. When we finally reached the rocky and bouldering part we were already super tired because we just climbed uphill for 2-3 miles, but that part was easily my favorite. We had to climb around, over, and under rocks and it was really fun and it felt like rock climbing. You had to be really careful about not slipping and you had to take your time so you wouldn’t fall backward. Tyler was helping me and Hunter climb around the rocks and over the big ones.
After that we got to the table lands. It was really flat and windy. And I kept dropping my trail mix everywhere! But it was really easy to hike, it was like a walk in the park! After a while, we reached another “mountain” and climbed up that. There were patches of snow on the sides of the mountain and way down below we could see the tops of the tall trees. There were these “rock stairs” we had to climb and it was really fun. Tyler ran the last mile up! What a crazy person! When we got to the top there were 50-60 yards to the summit sign!
We stayed up there for a little bit, we ate snacks and took pictures. The clouds started to roll in, Hunter and I ran around catching the clouds but then it was time to go down it all again! My opinion is that it was much easier going down, but now it was all cloudy and it looked like we were going to fall into the nothingness! We walked the woods again, me and Tyler were in the middle behind Hunter, Emily, Colby, and Luke and the rest of the group were behind us. Tyler and I talked and joked most of the way and I was calling the groups “units”. We walked a really easy way back to the cars where we reflected on the hike.
Me, Emily, and Tyler were sitting on the tailgate of the truck talking about how much our feet hurt and how great the ice cream was going to taste on the way back to camp. These are the moments I will always remember: touching the sign, hanging out with my siblings, and spending time with family. It was a really fun trail and I always appreciate the feeling of “I did it!”. I am really excited to do it next year!
— Sophie Neville
Altogether, we had an excellent hike on the Abol Trail with excellent people. Clocking in at just under 9 miles, it was my first time on the trail and I can say if a “mellow” way up Katahdin exists this would be it.
A day in the mountains where everyone gets home safe, we’re all allowed to hit the summit, and the day ends in smiles all around is rare and a blessing. I paid Sophia $3 for this article, so let her know how much you love it!
Until next time,