August 28, 2017
Total Miles: 2190
Today is the day.
Today is the last day of an adventure I have dreamed about for years.
We woke up to a normal chilly Maine August morning.
We all acted like the morning was a normal one, but in the back of everyone’s head you knew what we were all thinking…
“I am doing this routine for the last time”
Oatmeal eaten, Coffee drank, I was ready to go. A hard 5 miles up the last mountain of the Appalachain Trail.
We started the trek together and I could feel the adrenaline bubbles starting in my stomach as we saw day hikers and other thru hikers heading in the same direction as us.
“I feel like I am in a race” I told Planner. With the swarm of people heading up on such a clear day. It felt like it does before I run a local 5k back in Kansas.
The trail starts out gradual for about a mile. Okay, Okay, this is not bad. My body was becoming warm enough to take my jacket off.
After a mile I was feeling good. Like really good.
The adrenaline had reached my extremities.
Did someone spike my coffee?
I knew this feeling.
This pure feeling of ecstasy. This feeling of straight power that comes from deep within.
The feeling of determination and passion reaching is fullest.
“I am strong” I kept telling myself as I flew past day hikers with no packs.
I turned back to Planner… “WE ARE SO STRONG!”
She could feel the energy pouring off of me and told me that if I wanted to go ahead, I could.
I felt like a little dog that is wiggling all over waiting for you to let it go outside.
I asked if she was sure and then I flew.
I was climbing over rocks and boulders like I was Spider woman.
Unstoppable. Nothing hurt anymore. I was flying.
I reached above treeline, above hard, intense climbs that make you scratch your head and think “How the heck am I going up this”
Then I stopped for a second to take in the “halfway” views and then it hit me.
I cannot reach Katahdin without Planner by my side. It wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t be right.
So I plopped down and waited for her.
I saw her head pop up down below about 20 minutes later and I felt a swarm of emotions come over me.
This was the last time we would be hiking together. My best friend. In just a day I would no longer be spending every day with her.
I let out a “hooty who” so she knew I was there and she came up and quickly noticed my teary eyes.
I made myself stop, not yet Brown Sugar, not yet.
We hiked the rest of the 5 miles back together and made jokes and laughed our heads off at the ridiculousness of the trail.
Then there it was.
We could see Katahdin and people that looked like little ants moving about.
We are almost there… I am almost there…
We made it to the top where there was a wide collection of people sitting, talking, and taking picture of the incredible views.
By far the best on the trail.
Oh my god….I did it.
I freaking did it.
I was looking in real life at the Katahdin sign that I had seen for years.
The Katahdin sign that I had dreamed about taking pictures with.
Woodpile embraced me with a hug and then motioned me to get to the sign with Ozzy and to take my picture.
We got Ozzy situated and the adrenaline and emotions were boiling in my body, ready to burst at my seams.
I stood up on the sign, Woodpile ready to take pictures…
And I let it out.
I roared a valiant roar.
I did it and I could not feel any better.
We hung out for a bit, taking pictures with the tramilies, and enjoying the glorious weather. Absolutely rare weather to have. Clear skies and barely any wind.
Goregeous. I mean just stunning.
Then We all mutually decided that we were going to take knife’s edge down instead of the way we came up.
Knifes edge was to be a shorter hike but much, much tougher.
You could see it from Katahdin.
Straight ridgeline on tough rocks.
It triggered my adrenaline back up as it was intense and exhilarating.
The ridgeline was hard and took us way longer than expected but I was loving it.
We got to a sign and felt like we had hiked over two miles to learn that we only had hiked one and had three more till we could hitch to town.
So the hike took WAY longer than we expected and by the time we reached the parking lot we were exhausted.
SO tired. But thrilled.
We got a hitch after ten minutes or so to Millenocket and checked into our last hostel.
We pretty quickly got ourselves to a restaurant since we were told alot of the places close early since it is a small town.
We had a couple celebratory beers and dinner than headed back to the hostel.
All of us were planning to leave tomorrow so we had things to do unfortunately.
I am now laying in my bunk and I feel strange…
I will not be hiking tomorrow, I will no longer be on the trail. It is done. Just like that. I feel like I have been gone forever but at the same time I feel like I just started this trail.
It is the weridest feeling.
Now I am one of the people with the gleamy eyes. One of those people that when you ask about thru hiking you can look at their face and see them going back to their memories and smiling…remincencing those best days of their lives, an epic adventure.
I now belong to this small community of thru hikers and I could not be more ecstatic and proud.
I did it.
Iz and Oz