Day 127 – Katahdin

Start Milepost: 2184.6 Time: 07:21B8BA9110-AF46-4FE7-B6C1-7C243C7A5984
End Milepost: 2189.8 Time: 10:38
Miles hiked: 5.2
Miles to go: 00:0
Weather: chilly
Temps: low 40s to high 70s, windy
Blue Side trails: Abol Trail (4.2 miles)
Map: Click on map pin

The nighttime temperature was warmer than either Jack or I expected so we both had to strip to our base layers in order to get a good night’s sleep. Scamper slept just fine in her heavy winter sleeping bag. At BMNT all three of us woke and began efforts to break camp. With sleeping gear stowed and day packs retrieved from the Ford Edge, each of us ate our breakfast of choice. Mine was a pair of breakfast Quaker Squares and a Cliff protein bar.

IMG_8106Shortly after seven o’clock we asked a hiker in an adjacent lean-to to take our family photo. With it taken, we were ready for our hikes. As we left the campsite, a group of nearby hikers, to include Baggins, Imagine, Hyde and Lazy Boy, were in the final stages of hike preparation. We walked a hundred yards past them to a kiosk where we entered our names, departure time and hiking trails. With registration complete we started up Hunt Trail. In a matter of minutes Jack and I had left Scamper well behind so we waited for her only to be told to “Hike your own hike”. So we did.

The first mile and a half proved to be standard Maine trail surface: rocks and roots. Thereafter rocks became the dominant obstacle. Baggins, Imagine and  Hyde caught up to us quickly and effortlessly passed us. In turn Jack and I caught up to Camel and several other “aged” hikers and left them behind. About a half hour later we passed above the tree line where rocks were the exclusive surface. Unlike the early part of the day’s trail that left us breathing heavily, rock climbing did not. We were essentially taking a break every ten feet as we assessed the best path up jumbled of rocks; white blazes only offered a general direction along which we should proceed.

424E8086-39D0-4270-B148-946B0602818BJack occasionally took a look over his shoulder and expressed amazement and delight at the marvelous views. Above us we occasionally caught glimpses of hikers on the Trail and frequently heard Baggins let out an exclamation as she passed challenging rock formation after rock formation. Regretfully the picturesque views above and below ceased as did the sight of other hikers – clouds had moved in and visibility was reduced to less than 100 yards.

Climbing in the clouds was a new experience for Jack. And so was the wind! At times our clothing was making enough noise flapping in the wind that we had a hard time hearing each other’s voice. The wind (which at times left me fighting for balance), clouds, rocks and Jack’s company made my final climb unique. Great stuff!54337849-5C29-4EC1-9C87-6737654A827E

At about 4500 feet of elevation the terrain leveled off somewhat and the trail became bordered by string to keep hikers from damaging plant-life. After a mile of that type surface the slope once more increased and the exact selection of the trail upwards was left to each hiker. And then, with little notice due to visibility limits, the climb was over. There before me was the sign affixed to an A-frame beside which every thru, section or day hiker wants to be photographed – Baxter Peak – elevation 5,267′.

056EAFE6-DC57-41E4-9B1D-CCC9EDF04E04I immediately sat down and waited for Jack who was behind me – well hidden by the clouds. When he was barely visible, I began to video his final few yards and caught his expression as he too glimpsed the sign. Together we walked up to the sign – smiling broadly. Jack and I held to the tradition while holding containers of a tasty, amber liquid that authorities had cautioned us not to carry (Bourbon for those wondering). I then stood alone beside the sign with my current favorite drink (Gatorade) in a favorite container (a Propel bottle). I’d completed my hike of 2,189.8 miles. Mercifully I had survived those miles without a major injury.

Jack and I then descended from the peak along Abol trail where Scamper met us about a mile north of the Abol campground. Including the descent miles (4.2) and the approach miles (8.8) from Amicalola Falls in Georgia I had hiked 2,202.8 miles with countless blue blaze miles as bonus.

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9 Responses to Day 127 – Katahdin

  1. HelloNeiman! says:

    Congrats on an amazing journey! It has been such a joy following along with you on your travels, and appreciate all the words and wisdom you have shared along the way. You’ve inspired many changes and strategies to my thru-hike next year, not least of which being a great way to share the story online. Congrats and Thank you!


    • JAX DAD says:

      HelloNeiman – thanks for your remarks. How did you do? I should have been following along and truly regret not doing so. JaxDad


      • HelloNeiman! says:

        It was the adventure of a lifetime. Challenging and rewarding, every single day. I blogged it every day at, and I can honestly say the readers and comments fueled my energy to keep going. I’m thankful to have had your journal as inspiration for my own planning and hiking.


  2. Catherine Garossino says:

    Thanks for posting your daily hikes to we loyal followers of your blog. It was great fun “thru-hiking” the AT vicariously through your daily posts. I hope it was all you had hoped it would be in the end. Savor your memories and experiences and congratulations on completing the trail in one season. You should be very proud of your accomplishment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diane Schultheiss says:

    Congratulations, what an awesome adventure! God Bless


  4. KP says:

    Thank you for keeping the blog! I have enjoyed catching up with the entries until August and following along since then! Congratulations!


  5. Ruth says:

    Hallelujah for completion of this incredible journey! Having Jack with you for the last day was the best surprise. We also know that your trail aide-de-camp was the real hero as she pulled all that support duty. She was supply officer, postal officer, morale officer, and first aid consultant, to name but a few. We loved the blogs and found ourselves waiting for daily posts, which we will miss, but wouldn’t want you to stay on the trail any longer! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JAX DAD says:

      Ruth, you are certainly on the mark with respect to Scamper. She is the principle reason I was able to complete the hike. To have Jack with me on the final peak gave life to my trail name. Perfect.
      I enjoyed the effort required to write about each day’s activities. Uncharacteristically, the first draft became final draft; ordinarily I would have picked each sentence apart and fought for better segues. The undertaking required a balance of time, cost and quality – the same constraints I manipulated in my career as a project/program manager.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed the blog – and delighted that you credit my Bride for her significant role(s).


      • Ruth says:

        Regis, Woodie and I find ourselves still talking bout your experience and how much we learned from you. Hope you’ve “recovered” whatever that means! Lee, our brother Darry, is looking forward to getting together soon so think about it! soon

        Liked by 1 person

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