Home > Hiking > Katahdin Stream Campground to Mt. Katahdin

Katahdin Stream Campground to Mt. Katahdin

My trail name is “Python” and I chose this name because I was born in the year of the snake. My hiking partner’s trail name is “Dirigo”. She is from Maine and “Dirigo” is the Maine State motto.

My hiking partner and I did this hike on August 19, 2007. This was very early in our hiking adventures. We did not know much about the Appalachian Trail at this point and we collectively called ourselves “Dumb and Dumber.”

Hiking Conditions
Class I with a wind advisory (40-50 mph wind gusts near Baxter peak)

High Spirits
Our morale and confidence was high at the start of the hike. We were determined to summit Katahdin and descend down the Knife Edge. There was no IF we summit Katahdin; we were going to summit Katahdin. We were psyched. We signed the trail register at the Katahdin Stream Campground at 6 AM.

Signing the trail register

The day started off overcast and a bit chilly. The trail initially paralleled Katahdin stream.

Katahdin Falls

Easy Rocks
Python kept asking "are these the hard rocks?" Dirigo said "I think so". Little did we know what Pamola had in store for us! We passed a jumble of rocks that we thought was the cave?

The Cave?


Just before we left tree line we put on our coats, hats, and gloves because the wind was whipping pretty hard.

Dirigo

Rung Ladders?
Are you freaking serious! The guide book said nothing about rung ladders!

Rung Ladder


Gary and Brad said nothing about rung ladders! Melody said nothing about rung ladders! They all lied to us! Omitting the truth is considered lying in our book! If we can't pull ourselves over these rungs, we have to turn around. Several times we had to take off our backpacks and throw them up onto the rocks and then pull ourselves up onto the rocks.

Hell begins at the Hunt Spur
Our determination and confidence is first tested here. Do we really want to do this? There would be no shame in turning around, right? Sure, it would be embarrassing telling people that we couldn't do it but at least we were still alive. Maybe this just isn't our year to summit Katahdin? The wind is whipping around us and we are afraid of being blow off the mountain. We hugged the rocks while we kept climbing. We crawled on our belly many times; we were surprised that our cameras survived the ascent.

Python

Nightmare
Where in the guide book did it say anything about this crap! They all lied to us! Is it too late to turn back? That would mean going down the rung ladders! Never mind! We kept hiking north because we were too scared to backtrack! Fear is a powerful motivator. Obviously, this was not designed with short people in mind. It felt like we were mountain climbing instead of hiking. Our knees were taking a beating.

Keep following the white blazes

Hell continues
Good thing we had been working hard in the gym; otherwise we would have died a horrible death on the Hunt Spur.

Boulders


An elderly gentleman gave us kudos for attempting the summit with our short little legs. He said he would have taken his hat off to us but it was too darn cold. It was a bit disheartening to see the young kids just step over the big boulders whereas we had to hoist and shimmy ourselves over the rocks. We congratulated a thru-hiker that passed us on the ascent (below the tree line) and was passing us yet again during his descent of Baxter Peak.

Tableland
Oh thank goodness we finally made it to the Tableland!

Tablelands


What do you mean the summit is still over a mile away? By this time there were a lot of people on the mountain and you could see a trail of people heading to the summit.

Baxter Peak – Elevation 5,267 Ft
The Abenaki Indian word "Katahdin" means greatest mountain. We reached the summit in 6 hours, 39 minutes. We wisely decided not to descend the Knife Edge due to the whipping wind.

Mt. Katahdin Sign

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  1. Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Wow, what a tough climb. I had some friends that did Katahdin last summer and experienced hypothermia. Things are always tougher than they seem. Glad you made it down safely.

    • Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:55 am

      The biggest lesson I learned from this hike is “patience.” We should have waited 2 days to do this hike because (1) the weather would have been warm & sunny without any wind and (2) we would have been better rested (we were still tired from the drive up to Maine). We were too eager. Actually, the descent from the mountain was much harder for me.

  2. Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I can’t imagine the descent! Way to push through!

    • Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

      We had to push through because we were too scared to turn around! The descent was really tough on my knees but I got to see a moose! I’ll post the hike description soon.

  3. Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I just posted the hike description for the descent from Baxter peak on our hiking website – http://www.wildernessescapades.com/wp/.

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