Mt Katahdin is more …
Than just Maine’s highest spot.
It’s also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
I am proud to report that I made it there once. There’s a hazy photo of it somewhere that somehow along the way got lost: Just the four of us, my brother and long-time friends Chad and Geoff. It was inclement weather and the four of us were unprepared but resolute. Our only rain gear was double-ply plastic garbage bags.
Nearing the peak we encountered a dense fog and in the distance, above us, two hikers in bright orange Gortex jackets and pants in retreat. They somberly reported they hadn’t made it to the peak. “Too foggy to continue.” But it was onward and upward for us, heavy with poorly-packed bags on our back and one of us (who shall remain nameless — okay, it was Geoff) was carrying all his supplies in a now famous Adolfo duffle-style bag which he carried by his side with one hand. We dead reckoned up the rocks until finally we found our mark: a wood sign among the rocks in what must have been a thirty-foot visibility thick-as-pea-soup view.
Not too much longer we were joined at the top by the two guys in the bright orange Gortex. “Hey bud,” Geoff greeted one of them, looking half confused. “Didn’t you say you were turning back?” The one gave a sheepish look before the other spoke up: “Something about seeing four guys wearing garbage bags as rain gear carrying their gear in a non-water resistant Adolfo Sports Bag gave us a change of heart.”
Later that same trip we found ourselves hiking down the Cathedral Trail. Nearing the bottom to Chimney Pond Camp, several day-hikers climbing up greeted us with strangely similar comments: “Whoa, check out these guys hiking down Cathedral.” Their amazement infused us with a great sense of pride which grew each time we heard it said (and quite literally it must have been at least a dozen).
Eventually we made it to the bottom at which was a giant sign: “Warning: Do Not Climb Down Cathedral Trail!” The trail was too steep, rocky and slippery to safely descend.
Of course, no such warnings apply if you’re toting an Adolfo Sports Bag!