In order to really be considered a true-grit Mainer (one who was born and raised in Maine) there are certain things that a man just has to do. I’m sure all states have their lists of weird foods to try or places to see at least once. One of those things for Mainers is hiking up Mt. Katahdin, the state’s tallest mountain. Having never completed this task, I decided it was finally time to face this harrowing peak.
Standing over 5,000 feet tall, Katahdin’s name means “The Greatest Mountain.” Although most of my friends had made the trek already, somehow I missed the boat despite being a full fledged Eagle Scout and avid lover of the outdoors. My plan was simple. I would drive to Baxter State Park (which surrounds the mountain), claim a camp site, take some pretty sunset pictures, cook a campfire dinner (mac and cheese with tinfoil vegis) and head to bed early. My aim was to wake up at dawn (around 5am) in hopes of hiking in the cool of the early morning.
My plan worked out decently well (I’ll let you judge the photos for yourself) until it was time for bed. Being alone in a lean-to in the wilderness at night usually wouldn’t bother me, but this particular night I couldn’t ignore all the sounds of the forest and found myself staring into the night for 2 hours or so. Lots of other creatures in the woods around me were still wide awake and weren’t bothering to hide it. Finally, I drifted off to sleep around 11pm only to be woken an hour later by the sensation of little claws and a small, warm weight on my chest. It took me a moment to separate dreams from reality and realize that there was a rat on top of me. Our eyes met briefly before we both freaked. He dashed away while I yelped a small yelp into the darkness and began to over-process what had happened. As creepy as it was, my exhaustion eventually overcame my terror and I was able to drift back to sleep for the rest of that short night.
I’ll finish the story tomorrow with photos from the hike up Katahdin itself. See you then.