I always wanted to hike Maine's highest mountain, Katahdin. It's not even the highest mountain I've climbed, but it is a quite difficult hike because it's remote and very rocky. You need good knees to climb that mountain. Why I haven't been yet? Because it takes 7 hours to drive there, which is pretty damn far.
When we climbed Trap Dike, we met 2 ladies who have been to Katahdin and said it was beautiful, especially Knife Edge, which links Pamola and Katahdin, and it's so narrow and steep that you don't want to attempt this in bad weather. I've heard about how beautiful it was so many times already, but I thought that we will probably not go there any time soon....maybe next year during a long weekend or something!
The following week, my friend who came to Trap Dike with me suggested that we go to Katahdin on the weekend. It was the perfect weekend, with minimal wind and no rain forecasted. The weather will only get worst from that point on, so it was pretty much now or next year.
"Are we going to spend the night there?" I ask.
"No, we will drive there friday night, and start hiking in the morning, then drive back...we'll be a few to share the driving!"
So friday night, we left. We were 4 crazy people to drive 7 hours to Katahdin, hike 9 hours and drive another 7 hours back.
During the night, we saw a fox, coyotes, cats, deer and even 2 moose. One of the moose was running in the opposite direction on the road. It was all twisty mountain roads in the dark for the most parts. It was kind of dangerous...lucky that some people in the car stayed awake.
We got there at 6am, the sky was still pitch black, but there was already a line up at the Baxter State Park entrance. I asked the car in front to check if it's the right spot, and made my friend ask another car just to confirm and make sure it's the right place to wait. I really didn't want to drive 7 hours to wait at the wrong spot. Finally, the gate opened, and we got the last parking spot! Thank god!
We went up via Cathedral, which is the hardest and most direct route to the summit. We definitely did not drive 7 hours for a normal hike, ha. Cathedral is 5000 ft rock pile with boulders at the bottom and loose rocks and gravel at the top, so you need upper body strength to pull yourself up and careful consideration before committing because it's exposed. It was definitely a really beautiful, rugged and wild route. It's easier than Trap Dike however.
After reaching the summit of Katahdin, we continued on Knife Edge to hike towards Pamola Peak. Some parts of the edge is not more than a few feet wide. You also need to do some acrobatics before reaching Pamola. That area is known for accidents, some fatal. Luckily for us, it was a good day. We even saw a bear far away on the slopes. It was my first time seeing a bear in the wild!
Since I was the only one who didn't drive Friday night, I took the wheel. But I was also very tired, because it's not like I slept deeply in the car. My friend was like..."Elaine, I can drive after if you're tired. Let me know!" Nonetheless, I tried to stay awake...until 5 hours later, I got too tired, but nobody was willing to drive anymore, even the one who offered!
Katahdin was magical and almost surreal and the long drive was definitely worth it!