View Full Version : Top of Katahdin

Former Admin
10-01-2002, 22:37
Whats it like to finally reach the top of Katahdin, finishing up a thru? how did you feel, what were your emotions, thoughts etc.......

Hammock Hanger
10-01-2002, 22:44
is an awesome experience even when it is not a thru. I did a b-day hike up and was almost in tears. I can only imagine how the thrus feel. (Next year!!) Jumpstart share... Hammock Hanger

Trail Yeti
10-01-2002, 23:03
Finally reaching Katahdin....this is how it was for me....
We started hiking up the trail and I didn't even feel it....I was so excited and had so much adrenaline pumping that until I got to the rock scrambles I was flying. The rocks and treeline slowed me up some because I went up on an incredible day (class 1) and the views were breathtaking. took pictures of the little group I was with etc.
When we got to the tablelands I couldn't stand it I was so stoked. I kissed my girlfriend/partner told her I would meet her at the top and took off (I tend to hike fast when excited, or anyother time for that matter). I was going quickly but everything is still in perfect clarity, and when I got to Thoreau spring I realized I had 1 mile left. 1 mile. I couldn't believe it. I started hiking again....and it seemed like I was going in slow motion although I really wasn't.
I topped the last rise and there, in silhouette I saw the sign for the first time (if you had a good day you know what rise I'm talking about). I took out my camera, zoomed in and took my first pic of the sign...I almost dropped my camera I was so excited. When I started hiking again I found that I could not slow down....I ran that last couple hundred yards...stopped about 15 ft short of the summit. I walked that last bit and grabbed the sign. Those first 30 seconds were surreal. I held the sign with both hands, touched my head to it and then put my head back and yelled at the top of my lungs! It was yell in jubilation or burst. Then I just leaned my head back down and rested it on the sign (if you have seen the poster end of the journey i looked like that except standing). I read the sign, looked around and just let my emotions run rampant. In my 15 minutes alone on the summit every emotion imagineable rushed through me. I almost cried...13 years (1/2 my life) I waited to touch that sign. I said before that it felt like I was in slow motion....the longest mile I have ever hiked...however, in reality I did it in around 15 minutes....weird huh? When everyone else came up we enjoyed 2 hours on the summit, and me and Moonshine drank our PBR tall boys in celebration (I am not a champagne type of guy, and they didn't sell it at Abol Bridge anyway). I don't know how all this sounds, but its really hard to put into words what I felt. All I know is seeing and touching that sign made every moment of my hike worth it.
life is good, WEAR A KILT!
Trail Yeti
ps-going back down was entirely different

10-02-2002, 07:17
I have great weather for three weeks in Maine. I was looking at Katahdin from every overlook since Saddleback. But Katahdin was in the clouds on the day I summitted.

I think what made an impact on me was that I didn't want to go back down after reaching the summit. I had accomplished my goals and enjoyed it very much. But emotionally, I just wanted to hang out on top rather than climb back down.

10-06-2002, 18:42
When we got to Thoreau Springs, I started crying, and by the top the tears were flowing profusely. I was overwhelmed sa the sight of the sign that had been in my head for just SO long. It was awkward, because there were a million day hikers up there, and I was bawling like a big baby, hugging my husband, screaming and yelling, acting like an idiot. I felt this overwhleming sense of "FINALLY...", and sorry to say, I wasn't sad. I was so excited to have it behind me, to have gone through what we went through, but ready for it to be over. We had lunch up there, took a half roll of film, soaked up some sun, and then realized we had to go back down...I didn't expect it to overwhelm me the way it did, but it was great, becuase I stood up there, hugging the sign, knowing that no matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone else does, we did it our way, we had an amazing experience, and we felt like we had our own "little secret" on the rest of the world...

12-08-2002, 01:31
Just bringing this topic out of the 30 days in the hole

Lone Wolf
12-30-2006, 10:17
Whats it like to finally reach the top of Katahdin, finishing up a thru? how did you feel, what were your emotions, thoughts etc.......

I was thinkin' it wasn't gonna be long till I got to Millinocket for some Chinese food and beer. Just another rock pile.

12-30-2006, 10:25
I was thinkin' it wasn't gonna be long till I got to Millinocket for some Chinese food and beer. Just another rock pile.

So eloquent, I could cry. ;)

12-30-2006, 10:27
I was tired and pissed off that my cell phone didn't work. :)

12-30-2006, 10:37
I was thinkin' it wasn't gonna be long till I got to Millinocket for some Chinese food and beer. Just another rock pile.

The first time I got up there, it took me over an hour to finally touch that sign. I just sat there looking at the sign, thinking that when I touch it, this walking thing I that I like so much was over. :(

It never entered my mind that I might walk more miles another time. I was only focused on the fun I was having on that walk.

If I had known that I would be back the next spring to walk somemore, I would have touched that sign right away, taken a few pictures and headed to that Chinese place in Millinocket as fast as I could walk. :)

Lone Wolf
12-30-2006, 10:52
I had hiked approx. 5000 miles of the AT before I ever climbed Katahdin. Done 10 times since. I'll go back again one day.

12-30-2006, 11:28
I had hiked approx. 5000 miles of the AT before I ever climbed Katahdin. Done 10 times since. I'll go back again one day.

I'd climbed Katahdin twice (via Knife Edge) before arriving at Springer. And Franconia Ridge maybe a couple dozen times... :cool:

12-30-2006, 11:41
I first climbed Katahdin in 1964. I'd been having some strange pains in my chest and figured one way to see if they might be symptoms of heart trouble was to climb a really big mountain.

About 8:30 a.m. I left my wife and 11-month old daughter in an overflow camping area (Baxter had them then) and told them to pick me up at Roaring Brook at 4 p.m. I hitched a ride to Katahdin Stream climbed the mountain in street shoes and an ancient wool tweed jacket, and then went down the Saddle to Chimney Pond and eventually Roaring Brook. I was more than half way to camp before my wife showed up. She explained she didn't think I could possibly be back by 4 p.m. and she didn't want to wait around with a crying baby.

How did I feel on reaching the summit? Well, I was pleased I was still alive. Pleased I was able to make it on schedule. And pleased I had reached the top of the mountain that had thwarted Henry Thoreau. My disappointment was the mill in Millinocket, smoke pouring from the stacks. The view was less wild than Saddleback, which I had climbed the year before -- and remains so to this day.

I've since climbed to Katahdin's summit many times -- including once in February and several times reaching the tableland in winter, only to fail the summit quest by bad weather or high winds.

It's a great mountain -- perhaps the greatest mountain, at least in the east. The Presidential Range in the Whites are more challenging in some ways, except that it's too easy to cheat by driving or taking the train to the summit.

BTW, the mild chest pains persist to this day. No doctor seems to have any idea what they are caused by. I've learned to just ignore them. Though I keep hoping to do at least one more test to the summit of Katahdin.


12-30-2006, 11:55
Been there twice -- 2001 and 2003. Both were very moving experiences for me.

In 2001 I joined my wife, BadAss Turtle, in Monson and we hiked the wilderness together and then summitted Katahdin. She was at the end of her hike and anxious to be DONE and get home. As we approached the sign on Katadin she sped up but I grabbed her wrist and encouraged her to take it slowly and savor the moment. I couldn't understand her desire to get there and move on ...

In 2003 it was the culimination of my own AT hike. It was a bitter sweet experience because, like BadAss, I was ready to be DONE ...but I could have stayed on Katahdin for hours that day. For me there was a feeling of exhilaration as I saw and approached the sign. Then there was the jubilation and photo session. Last but not least, was the time spent hundered in the rocks, thinking back on all that had happened over the past 6 months. Kinda hard to wrap all that up in one moment at the foot of the sign ...but that's what I tried to do.

The top of Katahdin will always be a special place for me ...


Hammock Hanger
01-01-2007, 15:01
is an awesome experience even when it is not a thru. I did a b-day hike up and was almost in tears. I can only imagine how the thrus feel. (Next year!!) Jumpstart share... Hammock Hanger

Updated of this old post...

IT WAS GREAT!!! (In a sad kind of way) Of all the hikes I have done this is the best "finale" hike. A great workout, beautiful view and a big ole' sign to take pics of, other hikers and onlookers yelling out your name and cheering....

Some trails there is just another little trailhead sign that you walk past and out to a road or parking lot. The hike is done, no real climax!

01-01-2007, 21:51
It Was Bitter Sweet, With A Big Slice Of Satisfaction. Not To Mention The S#$t Eating Grin That Would Not Go Away. I Drank A Bottle Of Cheap Bubbly And Ate A Jar Of Peanut Butter, And Then Realized That I Was Really Tired. What A Great Day !

01-09-2007, 13:15
Once I saw the sign (or was it the crowd on the summit) I started sprinting. There was a group of college kids on the summit and they all started applauding. I replied with a teary voice "what, you've never seen anybody finish a 2000 mile hike?" I was realy wishing they weren't there. I had to wait my turn as a day hiker was taking pics next to the sign. The moment they left the sign I impailed myself upon it and didn't let it go. There were two other thru-hikers to summited after me, but they left the summit before me. I stayed up on the summit for about an hour as I could not let myself leave. I took my boots off and sat on top the sign until someone new would summit and I would get off the sign, let them take pics with it, and get back on top the sign. The only way I could get off the summit was to promice myself that I would stop hiking, but not let the journey stop. I'm still on that same journey along with the other journey I started when I proposed to my wife a few years later on top of springer mt. When I'm depressed I remember my summit and life is good again.

Desert Lobster
01-19-2007, 00:25
Climbed it 21 times but not lately.

Jim Adams
01-19-2007, 01:00
had clouds, no views and snow on both my thrus but still did not want to leave! cried, touched the sign a million times and just did not want the trip to end. Very special place to me!

Big Dawg
01-19-2007, 10:46
As a section hiker w/ only 350+ miles under my belt, I figured it'd be many years before I summitted Katahdin, but my section hiking partner decided to thru hike this year, and I will be joining him as he summit's Katahdin. I imagine my summit of Katahdin after finishing the trail (many years in the future) will be more meaningful, however I'm extremely excited about finally seeing Katahdin in person later this year, and I know it'll have a special meaning in itself knowing my friend has completed the journey.

01-19-2007, 15:41
just that huge grin on my face for the entire climb and a half-numb feeling once i hit the Tableland and didn't have any real climbing left to do.

there were a few day-hikers up there, but they were all really considerate and moved away from the sign when they saw a thru-hiker approaching. very nice of them.

it was very awesome to have summited with a lot of friends i'd been hiking with almost daily for 1,000+ miles, too.

Fly By Mike
01-19-2007, 19:30
In June last year I day hiked Katahdin with my three sons and one grandson. (There's a pic in my gallery). We came down via the Knife Edge and Helon Taylor trail. What an awesome day it was - apart from the bugs. That is some wicked good mountain.

01-19-2007, 22:25
The AMC Annual meeting is in Marlboro, MA on January 27th. They have afternoon workshops, including this one:

Katahdin Campfire Stories: Explore the History of Mt. Katahdin with AMC Author John Neff

Ever hear the on about Teddy Roosevelts life-changin climb up Mt. Katahdin? Or the Great North Woods Elephant Hunt? Or the dreams of building a grand hotel at Chimney Pond? Join John Neff, author of rencent AMC publication: Katahdin: AN historic Journey, around his Katahdin campfire for a captivating slideshow and presentation of some of the lesser known stories associated with Maine's revered highest peak.

I'll be there, too. :D