Yes, the title says it all. We have reached Maine. For the last four and a half months we have been sustaining our quest with the daily refrain “Gotta get to Maine.” Crossing the final border was a truly charged and joyous moment. For a couple days the glow remained, heightened by glorious weather and outstanding scenery. We then realized that our mantra had been inadequate. There are about two hundred eighty miles of rugged trail in the final state, which means we still have several weeks of hiking remaining before we reach the end of our adventure. To bolster our resolve, we now say to each other what was previously implied: “Gotta get to Katahdin.”
As we close in on the ultimate peak, we are beginning to experience a strong yearning for the end. Many of our fellow hikers have expressed similar sentiments, although there is a sensation of impending loss as well. Completion of the trail is the obvious intent of everyone who starts a thruhike, but the destination marks the end of a once in a lifetime experience, nostalgia for which we are already beginning to feel.
This post comes from Kingfield, ME, where we have been generously escorted and indulged by Anne’s parents. They also facilitated a happy reunion with Willett, who will now rejoin the hiking party for the final leg (of course, with the sad exception of Katahdin itself, where dogs are forbidden.) We are immensely grateful to David for caring for Willett for the last few weeks. Although we missed our loyal sidekick, we agree that the traverse of the Whites and southern Maine would have been much more challenging and potentially perilous had he been along.
And now, without further ado, please enjoy this photographic evidence of our arrival in Vacationland:
Sheer cliffs line the narrow passage. As soon as we entered the notch, the temperature dropped at least ten degrees, as the sun barely reaches the bottom for much of the day. Ice was still unmelted from winter in the crevasses of some boulders.
Anne almost at the summit of North Baldpate. I think this might be my favorite mountain on the whole trip thus far. The exposed ridge is incredible and the trail maintainers have built an unbelievable set of stone steps to help in the ascent from the south. We took a panoramic photo from near the top that we will try to get online soon, along with some others.
The view looking back on Saddleback from “The Horn.” Unfortunately, hot, hazy weather obstructed our views starting on this day. We hear there is a heat wave in much of the country. We are counting our blessings for the northern latitude!