We often share the story behind the hike, but in the case of this hiking trip, we awoke to the story already being written so we will share it here as well — with our guest’s permission. Before we do, however, we want to note that this trip was led by Redline Guide Arlette Laan! Welcome back, Arlette! Good to have you back here now that you’re done working on that little project.
The long story: Only 43 years after I first planned to climb Katadin, the tallest mountain in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, I finally got there. I dutifully stayed home to finish my PhD thesis that time. Then, in 2016, my back went out. In 2019 I was having gall bladder attacks. This year, I went through a bout of sciatica and a minor knee injury, and I thought I was done for this year. But I reached out to Mike Cherim at Redline Guiding, and he put me in touch with the amazing Arlette Laan. We hiked 3 miles into Chimney Pond Campground last Thursday. The weather forecast told us that Saturday would be a better day to summit, so we had a day to rest and hydrate. We took the Saddle Trail (the least difficult; “easier” is not a word used about Katahdin) up on Saturday. The trail is an old rock slide, and near the top it’s as steep and treacherous as anything I’ve ever climbed. Once that part is done, you’re on the Tablelands, a huge ridge between Baxter Peak (our objective) and Hamlin Peak. Then it’s “only” a mile to the summit. This part is not difficult climbing, but the winds were strong (they usually are).
Getting down after all that was interesting. Something like 75% of all hiking accidents happen on the descent, when the hiker is tired or thinking about food. The last mile seemed as hard as the mile at the top, but we made it, and re-hydrated “lasagna” never tasted so good!
So a big “thank you” to all the people who helped me with this! Thanks to Arlette, Dan, Richard, Liz, Court at BodyResults, and anyone else I may have forgotten. —Guest
Arlette and our guest also provided these photos of the trip (thank you)!
What’s it like on Mt Katahdin’s Tablelands? This video will help provide one answer, anyway. Videography by Arlette.