My last morning to wake up in my tent on the AT — sorta. Tandem and I woke up at 6:00 in the Birches Campsite, a quarter of a mile from the AT and the Katahdin Stream Campsite. We looked at each other with excited smiles and were packed and ready to leave by 6:30. The only hikers to have left for Mount Katahdin were Big Spoon and Toast with their instruments.
We let everyone else know that we were leaving and joined Mio for the short hike. Mio’s parents and sister were already there and greeted their hiking hero with hugs. Tandem and I put our packs on the picnic table under the pavilion where we saw the hikers who’d finished yesterday and repacked them for the slack pack up Katahdin by putting our camping gear in our pack liner bags.
My in-laws arrived shortly after that from Millinocket and parked their rental car in the parking lot. Tandem ran over to give big hugs, and I followed and greeted them as well. They had kindly brought McDonalds breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and Coke, so we went back to the picnic table to enjoy the breakfast and catch up. We talked until 8:00 and saw Mio, Ginger, and Gilligan head up Mount Katahdin.
We let my in-laws know that we would be back around 15:00, so they made plans to go back to the hotel for the day. Tandem and I loaded up our very light packs, and my mother-in-law took pictures of us hiking away on our last five miles of the AT.
The trail did have all of the features that we had seen earlier on our thru hike — mud, bogs, roots, and rocks. Lots of rocks. There was a point where we had to both climb and scramble over large rocks, so we stashed our hiking poles for that and use our hands. We made it to the top of Katahdin by 10:30 and were greeted with cheers and applause by the thru hikers already on top.
Tandem and I had several pictures taken individually and together on or around the famous Mount Katahdin sign. One of my poses was of the Captain Morgan character.
What ensued after that was three hours of celebrating other thru hikers arrivals, eating, picture taking, music from Toast and Big Spoon, and drinking Mio’s champagne and Toast’s Irish whiskey. We were surprised by trail magic at the end of our hike from a couple that gave us a gallon sized bag of banana bread! There were ten thru hikers that finished in the morning group today and we all hung out reveling in our accomplishments. One A Day took off with his hiking girlfriend to check out the Knife’s Edge. There was a rumor that he was going to propose to her, which made us wait longer. After two hours, though, we gave up on them returning and decided to take the group picture.
After the picture, Chamomile and Coolie headed over to hike down the Knife’s Edge. Tandem, Mio, Ginger, Gilligan, Toast, Big Spoon, and I loaded up and started hiking the five miles down to the campground. It was harder to descend the large rocks due to the downwards angle, but we made it down in two hours by 14:30.
Our families were there to greet us, and we gathered at the pavilion. Mio’s parents had brought Subway sandwiches and Cokes for everyone. Physched, is a thru hiker summiting Katahdin the next day, was there as well. Toast and Big Spoon entertained us some more with their bluegrass, and after a few songs, we spilt up, gave congratulations and hugs, and loaded into my in-laws rental car. Ginger and Gilligan joined us in the back seat for a ride to Millinocket.
We arrived at the Baxter Park Hotel and Tandem and I checked into out room. I showered while Tandem crashed due to not feeling well. We had dinner later, then both went to sleep. It had been a long eventful day!