Day 102: Abol Bridge Parking Lot to Mt. Katahdin (14.9 miles)
Updated: Mar 2
August 22, 2004 - What a perfect place to camp out, I could see so many stars. However I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited about hiking up Katahdin and finishing my hike. I watched the sun slowly make its way over the hills starting at 4:30am. I finally decided to start packing up around 5:30am. The other guys that were sleeping near by woke up and I talked with them for awhile. They had just finished up the 100 mile wilderness and were heading back to New Jersey so they gave me their leftover food. I was waiting for Shepherd to pass by but never did by 6:15 so I decided to get moving. I entered Baxter State Park around 6:30 and had 9.5 miles to the base of Katahdin, I signed in and saw that Shepherd signed in an hour before me so I starting flying through the park in hopes of meeting him at the top. The trail was very flat and made it to the last campsite before Katahdin in 2.5 hours. When I got to the campsite I knew I had to sign in at the ranger station but didn’t know where that was so I just decided to make my climb and sign in later, I did sign in at the trailhead like the sign said. I started my climb at 9:45 after getting water and eating. I had a 5.2 mile climb where I would gain 4000 feet. The first mile was completely flat so it was really 4000 feet over 4 miles. The trail kept getting harder and harder as I climbed towards the top, some places I was using all upper body to pull myself up. There were so many false summits, you get over one and there is another. Finally I get near the top where I’m walking on a rocky trail that was somewhat flat. Once I see the summit sign I knew I there. I ran over to the sign and gave it a big hug. There were lots of people at the top and had one ask me if I had just finished hiking at the AT and I said yes and they said there was another guy up here that had just finished. Sure enough it was Shepherd. I told him about what all had happened in the last few days. I spent about 1.5 hours at the top talking with lots of day hikers and soaking in that I final made it to the end of my hike. I then got my picture at the summit sign, then Shepherd and I decided to hike down together. He was meeting a family at the bottom who was giving him a ride to Ohio. He is trying to get back home to Minnesota and is probable going to have to hitch most of the way because he only has $50 left. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do. The hike down took a little longer than the hike up. At the bottom Shepherd showed me where the ranger station was and we exchanged e-mails and hope to be running a marathon with him this fall. At the ranger station I filled out my AT questionnaire and was told I was number 140 to finish a thru-hike this year. I then left for the main road in hopes of getting a ride to a town where I could get a bus for home. It took awhile for someone to pick me up but when someone did they asked if I want a ride to the end of the park. In the car we were talking and it turns out they live very close to Bangor which is the closest place to get a Greyhound Bus for home. So I drove the 2.5 hours with them. We got to the bus station and it looked like it was open and the nice people dropped me off and had offered to take me back to their place for the night if the station was closed. They lived 30 minutes away and I didn’t want them to go out of their way anymore and it looked like the bus station was opening. I thanked them for the ride and walked up to the door only to find the station closed and not opened till 5:15am, it was 6:30pm. I had no idea was I was going to do for 11 hours. First thing first was food. There was a supermarket just down the street, so I bought food for dinner and for the bus ride. Still had no idea where I was going to go, it looked like a nice town and didn’t have to worry about being in danger. I thought about going over to a church since it was Sunday and see if I can hang around for a few hours. As I was leaving the supermarket this woman coming when I did asked me if I was heading out for a hike since I had a pack on. I told her that I had just finished hiking the AT and was waiting around town for the bus station to open in the morning. She said that she has a spare room at her place and I could stay with her for the night but she had to check with her husband first, which he didn’t have a problem with at all. So I was able to get a shower and a nice bed to sleep in. They even offered to drive me back to the bus station in the morning. People up here in Maine are the nicest people. I put in 14.9 miles in today finishing up my hike of 2174.1 plus the approach trail (8.8), hike down Katahdin (5.2), and probable at least another 100 miles of town walks and side trails. Tomorrow I start my 45 hour bus ride home. The trail took 100 days, 21 hours, and 45 minutes.