June 4, 2010

Mt. Katahdin

At 6:15, I woke to the sound of chirping birds and the warmth of the morning’s sun on my down sleeping bag. With much resistance, I unzipped my bag and crawled into the cold Maine air.

My dad had already checked the weather and prepared breakfast. “Great day for a hike,” he said with a boyish smile. Forty five minutes later, we were on the trail, heading up Mt. Katahdin.

Prepared by a youth spent tromping around the woods and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, I felt unfazed by numerous war stories from trustifarians at Colby and Bill Brison’s comical account of his tribulations in the 100 Mile Wilderness.

The “trail,” consisting of a foot and half gap in the Maine woods along a compass bearing connecting our campground with a distant peak of Mt. Katahdin corrected my fantasy of briskly walking up mellow switchbacks whilst eating granola bars and casually snapping pictures with my camera. Scrambling up Igloo-cooler sized blocks of granite, we emerged from the pine and hemlock trees onto a sparse alpine environment found on only a few of New England’s highest peaks.

Stopping frequently, we snacked on Cabot cheddar and Wheat Thins all while taking in northern Maine’s beauty from a 5,000 foot vantage.

Above the trees, we moved quickly across the barren mountain top. Looking down at my foot and hand holds, I forgot where I was, traveling thousand of miles away to the Rockies or the Cascades.

Confused by the thin air and sparse environment, my mind bounced from place to place transcending time like a daydream. The wind whistled through rocks, rattling the small and tilting the tall signs in the same direction.

Cinching up the leather straps of my Bergans pack.

This is a trail, look for the blue blazes spray painted on sporadic rocks.

Maine or the Rockies? For more pictures from Katahdin, check out this albumI took with my iPhone.

After ten hours and forty five minutes we made it back to a small bridge within shouting distance of the car. Sore from twelve miles and 3,500 feet of vertical change, I rested my feet in a cool stream. As the sun dropped below the rugged outline of Mt. Katahdin, I wiggled my toes in the runoff from winter’s snow. Taking my time, I jumped from rock to rock, happy to have finished the day.
Here are some more links,
Mt. Katahdin (Picasa),
Out of Reception: Mt. Katahdin (Picasa).