KATAHDIN TRIP REPORT
by Keith DeBoer
Forget the White Mountains, if you haven't nailed Katahdin then
you haven't yet bitten into the New England's juiciest hiking
apple. This baby really lived up to its reputation for excitement
The sacrificial offering of an old pair of hiking boots, burned
at the stake at our full moon campfire, really seemed to pay off
pay as the "weather gods" blessed us with clear skies
and unseasonably warm temps the whole weekend. Our adventure began
Saturday morning with a moderate but scenic 3.5 mile hike that
took us through a forest of rainbow colors and virgin blue lakes.
Arriving at Chimney Pond we looked straight up at the mouth of
this monster glacial basin at the foot of Katahdin.
We then proceeded up the steep, cardio bomb of a trail they
call Cathedral, and clawed our way up 2,300 vertical feet in just
1.75 miles. After "topping out" at Baxter Peak we played
the role of the welcome wagon for "Wackie Jackie", a 60
year old female thru hiker who had just climbed her final AT peak.
After lunch, and some "Wackie Jackie" tears of joy, and
"striking a pose" next to the Katahdin trail sign we
headed out on the second half of our 9 mile loop by tip toeing our
way along the infamous Knife Edge trail. This 3-6 foot wide ridge
grinds up and down like a angry snake over boulders and jagged
rock for about a mile and offers a handy 2,000 feet of "over
exposure" on both sides. Yikes! This one mile trail took
almost 2 hours to complete despite our fearless leader, Hiker Bob,
telling us that even if we fell off the trail it wasn't steep
enough that we would die (yea thanks Bob that's very reassuring).
We then arrived at Pamola peak and picked up the Helon (Hee-lon)Taylor
trail enjoying 3 hours of Chinese knee torture, as we descended
3,400 feet of rough rock, and landed our little tent village in
the woods. After several minutes of heated discussion our friendly
Ranger did manage to convince us that our $6 per night camping fee
didn't include a massage or Jacuzzi we licked our wounds and went
happily off to bed.
Next morning we arose in the predawn light and hobbled over to
the nearby Sandy Stream Pond in hope of spotting the ever elusive
"Bullwinkle the Moose". After an hour of watching the
morning sun light up the glacial basin, Bullwinkle finally made a
majestic but rather brief appearance (I think the TV show has
really gone to his head).
We then had breakfast at the nearby "hikers only"
diner in town and "blew that popstand" feeling fat and
oh so satisfied.
Many thanks to our faithful trip leader, Mr. Bill, (that's Bob
Williams to the rest of you) for his flawless orchestration of the
whole adventure from start to finish. He was always there to offer
guidance but never got in the way when we wanted to just be our
own foolish selves. I hope everyone gets to experience the thrill
of Katahdin real soon. See you on the trails.
Katahdin Adventure Guy Keith DeBoer