Mount Katahdin - 5,267 feet
Summited on 8/09/06 - Highpoint #25 of 50
|Mark on the summit of Mt. Katahdin (5,267 ft) on 8/09/06. A 3,767 foot climb over 4.3 miles||The Mt. Katahdin plaque. Couldn't find a USGS marker|
|Looking to the north from the Helon Taylor trail. The total wilderness of the area was beautiful||Looking back down the Helon Taylor trail|
|Looking at the Knife Edge from on top of Pamola||On the Knife Edge, it looks scary than it really is.|
|Looking back down at the Knife Edge after crossing||Looking down the AT (Hunt Trail)|
This was peak #4 on a New England high point swing. I had only one day allotted for Katahdin which is taking a big chance as the weather can be spotty and the crowds can be hellacious. Having paid my dues with crappy weather in NY & VT, I anticipated great weather for Maine. Due to the popularity of Katahdin they only let a limited number of people in on a trail head in a given day. Preference goes to those camping inside Baxter State Park. Because we decided late to make this trip, we couldn't get a site inside the park. So we stayed at a campground just outside and I made Christy get up at 5AM and drive me to the trailhead. When we got to the park entrance the gate was still closed and a line of cars was parked there. I quickly started asking people if anyone could give me a ride to the trailhead and someone agreed, so Christy got to immediately go back to bed.
My plan was to start at the Roaring Brook camp ground, ascend via the Helon Taylor trail, cross the Knife Edge, summit Katahdin, and then come back down the AT to the Katahdin Stream camp ground where Christy would pick me up later in the day. The Helon Taylor trail was a drag until it finally came above tree line, then it was great. The early morning views were spectacular. Nothing but pure wilderness as far as the eye can see. No roads, no cities. Nothing but trees, lakes, mountains and skies. As I approached 9,000 feet of climbing over three days my thighs were starting to bake, but I made the top of Pamola in good time. The Knife Edge looks pretty imposing from Pamola but once you get on it its a piece of cake. The exposure is really very minimal with the exception of climbing down into a notch from Pamola and back up to Chimney peak. I down climbed a steep Class 3 section (you might die if you fell) and then talked to some AT hikers coming the other way. I asked them if the whole Knife Edge was like what I just came down. They said "heck no" and "we were scared just watching you down climb from Pamola". OK then, renewed confidence in hand I set off across the Knife Edge. The Knife Edge was a lot of fun and the views continued to be outstanding. I got to the top of Katahdin in about an hour from Pamola. I hung around for awhile enjoying the day and then set upon going down the AT. I passed a ton of people coming up the AT, which was much rockier than I figured it would be. I met Christy exactly as she pulled up at the far end of the trail to conclude a perfect day.
I've done the Presidential traverse in the White Mountains as well, but for my money Katahdin is absolutely the best hike/climb east of the Mississippi river for pure alpine views and just fun scrambling.
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