While You Can

by Steve on September 28, 2011

I told myself before I left home I wasn’t going to climb but there’s something primal about Katahdin. If you get close enough to see the granite faces and huge slides you have to go up. Even if you haven’t been doing anything more strenuous than walking a little over a mile every morning. On flat ground.

I had to pick up some canoe materials this morning in Millinocket, a mill town that also happens to be the gateway to Baxter State Park. Instead of heading back south toward the interstate I turned north and headed for the mountain intending to fish my way around the loop road and out the north gate, a beautiful drive this time of year. That plan vaporized with the first close view of the mountain. I asked the ranger working the entrance what her favorite short hike was.

“Hall trail to Katahdin Stream Falls… and if you go a bit further you get some great views once you get above the treeline into the boulder field.” In classic New England understatement she added, “Gets kinda steep though.”

Not a problem!

Hiking steep terrain is certainly taxing but in my mind hiking becomes climbing of sorts once the pitch requires steel hand and foot holds. It’s more of a severely steep scramble with occasional assist points but oh what a view!

20110928-111748.jpgOwl Peak as seen from the Hall Trail

Hall is also the last stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Came back off the mountain with a 50-something grandmother that had summited this morning completing her through-hike of the entire AT which she started back in March. Damn! I didn’t make the summit on a day hike. Thankfully I got a late start and knew it was impossible to summit and get back down before dark.

More later once I get back in wifi range. Right now I need Advil and sleep. Why did I do it? One of these years I won’t have a choice. While I still can, I will.

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