View Full Version : Snowy Weekend at Katahdin

TJ aka Teej
10-06-2003, 20:29
What wild weird weather ... Thursday saw Nothin' Decent, Butta, Martha Graham, Hanky, Nightowl, and a few others summit on a normal October day. That night things changed. (Saw Fluffy Nutter, Bumpkin, and Mudbutt out at Linda's Store at Abol Bridge on Friday morning. What a sweetheart Linda is!) Friday morning also saw 6 inches of snow and the year's first Class IV ("all trails closed") day at Katahdin. Carolina Cruiser and Karma made it up above treeline, and turned back in a horizontal sleet storm. Smart move. Blink Blink and Scubaman turned back too. The Mountain was beautiful from below, looked frosted. In late afternoon much of the visible snow had melted, but the Tableland stayed snowcovered. Katahdin Stream roared with snowmelt. A bunch of hikers came into the campground, and we enjoyed sweet guitar playing, wonderful singing, and friendly campfires. Love Baxter this time of year!
Saturday saw a huge crush of ATers, about thirty or so, head up into the clouds on a Class III ("some trails closed" in this instance the Knife Edge and Cathedral trails on the East side. Up went Slowride, Geo, Morph, Moonshadow, Frost, Lumber Jack, Sherpa, Loony, Pushing Up Daiseys, Flatlander, Karma, Carolina "CC" Cruiser and camera gear, Chemo, Slip, Trip, Jolly Roger, Loser, Teflon, TV, Slug, Bull, Blink Blink, Scubaman, EKE, Ted and Lara, Glacier and Dad, Sharp, LaMachine, Red Dirt, and Payphone. They hiked up into winter, and a few folks turned backed when it got really bad. CC's camera broke after filming most of the snowy summiting festivities. He missed Trip proposing to Slip by a few seconds! Slip said yes, btw, and I kidded her that most hikers *leave* a rock at the top instead of getting one! Sherpa's family and friends threw a "Tatonka Palooza" party for the hikers as they came down, and hikers coming into the Park joined in. The stories about the weather on top were hair raising, and the digital photos amazing. A mountain rescue squad had summitted from the East, and turned around after two minutes at the top, reporting white out conditions in a blizzard of "mixed frozen participation". I had only gone up into the cloud, and that was more than enough for my old bones. The hikers WooHoo'd and cheered as each member of the group returned, did an arch of hiking poles for Trip and Slip, and when Glacier and her dad came down at last a nice party commenced. Lots of hugs and fare ye wells, many tears, and the cars slowly filled and left. Left me, 1/3, Trace, and Wolverine that is. A storm blew in, and we took refuge in my car waiting an hour and a half or so for Bull to return to pick up 1/3 and Trace. Wolverine spent the night alone in a lean-to as the only thruhiker in the Park. Sixty (yes 60) MPH winds blew into the campground that night, knocking a limb onto my tent, and blowing down several trees. The Rangers were out in the middle of it keeping the tote road clear. Baxter Park Rangers Rock!
Dawn Sunday. Clear, bright blue skies, still a Class III day. Katahdin blowing volcanic clouds into the atmosphere, rolling, billowing, spooky, alive cap clouds. I have *never* seen the mountain like that before. Up, cheerfully, went 1/3, Trace, and Vic. Following right behind were Wolverine, his girlfriend, and buddy. Girlfriend came back down soon thereafter. Sherpa showed up with a mini-Tatonka, many hikers who summitted the day before were back, and a repeat of the WooHooing met 1/3. Trace, and Vic. More sweet singing from Loser and T-Bird, lots of trail talk, and - here comes Wolverine! The parties were nice, but were topped by Wolverine's family, girlfriend, buddy, and grandparents with a 'Congrats Steve!' banner. What a way to finish! After everyone hugged, swapped numbers, and loaded into cars, the sun started to set quickly on a dozen hikers setting up camp. For about two minutes, the sun peeked through the clouds and a complete rainbow arched over the campground. The ATers WooHoo'd the rainbow :O) Some flippers from Gorham showed up, hoping to summit and make it back to Caratunk before the canoe ferry ends on the 15th.
No hurricane that night, just a steady downpour after bright moonshine!
This morning, T-Bird and SoulTrain were the first to head up into the Class III sky. T-Bird was carrying her little guitar, a White Blaze painted on the case. I bet she serenaded the summit sign! Then up went NoPepsi, Chaco, Play (aka Puncture Wound, he had stepped on a nail!), Home Skillet, Master Pee, Tom for Short, Apollo, Snuggles, Punky, Hot Rod, HYDE, Peach Monkey, p-nut, Bumpkin, Flying Bear, Laughing Bear, and a few I didn't meet. I went Moose hunting and found a cow and calf posing for photos on the AT at Tracy Pond. I headed back to break camp and tada! Mudd Butt was at the campground! Well met indeed. Whatta weekend... hope my tent dries before the Gathering!
TJ, your Katahdin Correspondent

10-07-2003, 12:21
Wow. a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Us folks down here in 80 degree Austin are impressed!


10-07-2003, 19:34
Thanks so much for your entries about hikers at Katahdin. I read them with much interest. Looking forward to meeting you at the Gathering.

10-09-2003, 15:40
This post was so exciting to see, thanks for writing it! Apollo and Snuggles were my hiking buddies for the 846 miles I did this spring, and I'm so excited for them and everyone else that has finished this season! Congratulations to everyone