And just like that, the day arrived where Naomi started her thru hike and Maya and I began our long section hike on the Appalachian Trail. And it all started by climbing Mt. Katahdin.While not a huge mountain by western U.S. standards at 5,267 feet, climbing Mt. Katahdin is no joke and we have the cuts, bruises and sore quads to show for it. There are several routes up the mountain and we have even climbed Katahdin before up the Saddle Trail. This time, we hiked the 5.4 mile Hunt Trail from Katahdin Stream campground which is the Appalachian Trail route. Before heading out, we stopped at the Ranger Station to grab a day pack to borrow. We definitely didn’t want to lug our big packs up to the top!
Climbing Mt. Katahdin up the Hunt Trail is pretty steep from the get go, but REALLY gets steep when you begin the boulder scramble above tree line. At this point, we ditched our poles as we were no longer hiking, we were rock climbing. While super fun, it was also scary at times and was much more technical than I had anticipated. Thankfully there are well placed wrought iron hand and foot holds in the especially tricky spots.
The weather was windy and cool, but thankfully dry as we finally made it to the top after about 4 hours and came upon the iconic sign. We spent a while at the top chatting with several other day hikers, section hikers, people starting their south bound thru hikes, and even one guy finishing his north bound section hike. It’s very inspiring to be around people working hard to live their dreams! Naomi was super excited to make friends with hikers she might see along the trail in the coming months. After snacks and celebration, we hit the trail to head back to our campsite at Katahdin Stream. And Naomi was officially beginning her thru hike! The way down was a knee buster for sure. The 10.8 mile round trip hike took us about 9 hours total including our break at the top. Seriously, Climbing Mt. Katahdin up the Hunt Trail is no joke.We pretty much ate dinner and that’s it before climbing into our sleeping bags to sleep. We were tired from the hike and were anticipating our hike into the 100 Mile Wilderness the next day. (You can read about that adventure HERE.) And we were all excited that Naomi had officially completed 5.4 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Only a few more to go, right?Climbing Mt. Katahdin up the Hunt Trail was awesome and should be on every hikers bucket list. If you go, be prepared to ditch hiking poles as you climb. They are useless on the boulder scramble. And if hiking in the early summer, bring the strongest deet or Picardin bug spray you can. The black flies and mosquitoes are BRUTAL!! Also, the weather at the top of Katahdin can be much different than at the trail head so have a rain jacket and cold weather gear just in case. And now we are off into the 100 Mile Wilderness. We are planning 10 days to finish, and will update when we hit Monson. As always, Happy Trails!