My journey through Maine was a blissful stretch of time that I wanted to go on forever.

But since it had to end at some point, as all journeys do, I decided to mark its endpoint with a climb up Mt Katahdin, which at 5,629’ is the highest summit in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

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Heading down Saddle toward Hamlin Peak

It has been named one of the 10 best summit hikes in the world by National Geographic, and I would have to agree.

The views were indescribably stunning, as they have been on all of my northeastern hikes, and I was grateful for a perfectly clear (albeit chilly!!) day.

But the thing that made Katahdin one of my favorite hikes-to-date was its variety – sometimes a trail can start to get a bit monotonous (…like by mile three of a boulder field!) but my route over three of Katahdin’s peaks had so much variation that the miles seemed to fly by.

My favorite section was the mile-long traverse over the mountain’s knife edge, which is pretty epic looking but also heaps of fun to climb.

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Looking back over Katahdin’s mile-long Knife Edge

Katahdin ended my time in New England, a whirlwind 2 weeks that covered 10 states (how is that even possible?!?), over 100 foot-traveled miles, and an entire world of beauty.

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Full moonrise in Maine

Leaving feels bittersweet, but there’s so many bends in the road yet to explore – and there’s always next time.

So until Next Time, New England. Thanks for all of the magic.

 

The Trail

Mt. Katahdin is located in Baxter State Park, which is in Maine’s Biggest Wilderness area. The entire park is beautiful and has a variety of hiking trails for all levels, as well as campsites. There is a $14 fee for non-state residents to enter the park, and a $30 fee to camp.

katahdin-8There are six peaks on Katahdin and several trail options to reach the summit (Baxter Peak.) I wanted a route that would cross the Knife Edge, so started at Roaring Brook campground and took the Helon Taylor trail up to Pamola Peak. From here, it’s a 1.1 mile trek across the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak. From there, I took Saddle to the Northwest Basin Trail, which took me over to Hamlin Peak. (From Saddle, you could head straight down Chimney Pond Trail to make it a bit of a shorter hike, but I wanted a 3rd peak and it only adds about a mile.) From Hamlin Peak, I took Hamlin Ridge Trail to Chimney Pond Trail, which took me right back to Roaring Brook Campground for a total of 10 miles. I would suggest this route as the Knife Edge was my favorite part of the hike, but there are other routes to the summit that would avoid this and be shorter, if you’re wanting less of a climb.

The weather above the treeline in the northeast is always unpredictable, so always take layers and check the forecast before you head out!

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Baxter Peak, which marks the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail

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There were a lot of very happy and celebratory people sitting on this summit!!