A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Vacation Day 3

September 15, 2009
Emilie Phillips

Katahdin, the end of the AT.

The original motivator for this vacation was to hike Katahdin with my parents as they finished through hiking the AT. So this was the big day. Tyson had not done much hiking since his knee surgery, so he was going to go partway. And I was going to try to keep up with my folks all the way to the top.

The forecast was not great, but OK enough to sumit. There was a chance of rain and a certainty of a clouded in summit. Heading up we met some through hikers who had started up the moutain at 4AM trying to beat the rain. Overall there were not too many people on the trail. A bunch of the other through hikers had their family along just like Mom and Dad did.

We saw a few views below tree line. At tree line it was socked in with fog. There was a bit of rock scrambling right there, and then we met two hikers who had gotten turned around and were headed the wrong way down the trail. Once we got them straightened out they quickly out paced use. After a bit more rock scrambling, we turned around to see sun in the valley in between fast moving wisps of fog. A while later, as we were coming up to a knob, the fog was thick enough again that I could not see anything past the knob even though distance wise I knew it was a lot further. The whole hike up was like that where the clouds blew in and out and you would get mysterious glimpses of the mountains and valleys, and then the world would get smaller again. Overall, though, the ceiling was steadily lifting. People who summitted before us got many fewer views. And on the way back down it was almost entirely clear.

Somehow Tyson made it all the way to the top without a problem. Mom and Dad got the traditional picture taken with the sign on top of the mountain. And then we headed back down. I’m not sure if the wind picked up, or we were just facing more into it on the way back down, but it was definitely more noticeable. We ate lunch in a pile of rocks out of the wind a little. But we all bundled up and stayed bundled up for most of the above treeline hike down.

We made Tyson set the pace what with his knees. The first mile or two above treeline went reasonably fast since it was either flat or steep rock scrambling where you used your hands almost as much as your feet. Then there were two miles in the trees where the path was steep, but actually a trail. Those were interminable. And finally the last mile was flat and quick. I have to admit that my knees were not sore at the end which they would have been if I had gone my pace.

At the bottom we ran into two through hikers who had lost their non-through hiker Dad. Hopefully they sorted that out. Then we proceeded to fail at group coordination 101 and drive around the campsite a bunch of times trying to get all 4 of us in the car. At least we weren’t loosing people up on the mountain.

So that was it. My parents are done with their project for the last two summers. We drove back to civilisation for dinner and showers.