I Hiked from Bama to Baxter!

Bama➡️Baxter Day 169

Day 169: 10 miles

Last night I got some of the best sleep that I’ve gotten in months! It felt incredible. The guys and I woke up around 6am and got our things packed up. Then we set out to begin the 5 mile climb up to Katahdin! The feeling was so surreal.

Roxy stretching out for her last day on trail!

The first 2 miles leaving the birches were super easy. The ascent was gradual and the terrain wasn’t technical at all. I kept thinking about the fact that all of the elevation gain for the climb was now being consolidated into a 3 mile stretch. It was going to be a good climb for sure. Once we were a little over 2 miles in the real fun began. I began having to navigate around large boulders. Pulling myself up and around them. It was technical but not anything too crazy. I would compare that next mile to the climb up maybe Mt Moosaulake.

Taking the Hunt trail up to Mount Katahdin.

A lovely waterfall that we passed a mile or so into the hunt trail.

After a while though the climb really began. The terrain changed drastically and became almost entirely rock climbing. Once you got above tree line it was all rock the whole rest of the way it seemed. At one point there was an entirely flat rock face with just one rebar handle to grab onto. You had to pull yourself up about 3-4 feet using the bar. Then rest your foot on a small rebar ring which was smaller then my hand. I think that portion freaked me out the most. The fall out there if you had lost your footing was deadly. But I pulled myself up and kept on going.

The rocky climb up Katahdin.

When I navigated a few more sketchy rocks and things and turned the corner I ran into a couple hikers. The young woman was bawling her eyes out. She must have been afraid of heights. I tried to let them pass but then they let me know that they were also going up. My thoughts were with her for sure. Hopefully the sketchiest areas were behind us.

As we approached Katahdin the skies began to clear! It couldn’t have worked out better.

The next mile or so was non stop rock climbing using your hands. We were pretty much scaling up the rocky spine of this mountain heading up towards Katahdin. For some reason I was still holding my trekking poles in my hands! Eventually I found a good place to stop where I could safely take my pack off. And I finally put the poles away.

I really enjoyed the rocky scramble up to the top. It was fun having to use your hands to grab rock and literally pull yourself up. There were times when I had to lift one of my feet up past my chest and then push off that foot to lift my whole body up. It felt like I was literally rock climbing, but with my whole pack on. Because we also didn’t slack pack up! We couldn’t resist being bold and carrying our whole packs up.

After a long while of rock climbing I got to the gateway to Katahdin. And from there the terrain actually calmed down a lot. There was over a mile of just walking past that point. It was a great break from the technical terrain for sure. The views were beautiful and the trail followed along Thoreau Spring for a bit.

The gateway, or really the false summit before Katahdin.

Towards the end as I was in the last half mile before Katahdin there was a bit more elevation gain. But nothing too major. I kept thinking about how I was feeling. Honestly I just sort of felt like we were climbing Mount Washington again at first. I was shocked that I didn’t feel anything at all about this final climb of the AT. But then the clouds rolled out and I saw it. I could see the wooden Katahdin sign in the distance and all the hikers gathered around it. Then it really set in. I’m here, I made it  

I made it to Katahdin!

I moved quickly up to the sign were Sweet Pea, Boosted, and Roxy were already sitting. There were a few other hikers there that we had met recently too. Everyone was so happy! Laughing, taking pictures, and enjoying the absolutely amazing views that we had. It was truly a perfect day to summit.

Bama to Baxter, baby! 2600~ miles over 5.5 months.

The guys took my pictures with the sign and then Boosted hollered, “Bama to Baxter!” and it filled me with such an exhilarating feeling. I did it. Back on February 25th I set out to walk from Alabama to Baxter state park. And here I am on August 12th! 5 months and 2 weeks later.

My amazing trail family on top of Katahdin.

We all sat up there for a while and took more photos. And while we were sitting to my surprise we saw more familiar faces! It was Chowder and Bambi! Originally I had thought that they were going to summit the 13th but they must have changed their plans because of weather. It was nice to see them one last time.

Clear views as we began our descent.

Around 10:30am we began our descent off the mountain. I couldn’t believe that it was over. We only had 5 miles to go down and then we were finished with the AT entirely. On the hike down we passed by Cookie Monster and Lawsuit. It was great to see them too! And when we came to the junction for the Abol trail we opted to take that rather than the Hunt trail. We took the hunt up, but I really didn’t want to take it back down. The Abol is supposed to be a bit steeper but apparently easier.

I couldn’t resist taking one final picture of the guys hiking along the trail in front of me. This might be the last time that ever happens.

The trail was super steep but there was much less fall out for sure. You weren’t as exposed as on the hunt. We took our time and slowly descended. It took much longer than I had expected but that was ok.

By 1pm we were down at the Abol campground and waiting for our ride out of Baxter. Boosted’s parents flew up and got a rental car so they were going to pick us all up and bring us into Millinocket. They arrived and Roxy was so happy to see them! It’s like part of her knew that they were coming to take her home. Her mission had been accomplished. That dog is an absolute legend. She hiked the entire goddamn trail!

On our way into town we stopped off at a pub and Boosted’s parents treated us to lunch. I had one of the best burgers of the whole trail! Then we sat down by the lake which had amazing views of Katahdin in the distance. It was wild to look up at that mountain, which we were just on top of 4 hours ago.

Twin pine restaurant where Boosted’s parents took us out to lunch.

Mama K in the distance across this beautiful lake.

After we ate Boosted’s parents drove us into Millinocket. Then we said our sad goodbyes to Boosted and Roxy. I can’t believe that this is it. We won’t be seeing each other for a long while probably. It was such a sad scene. Then it was just 2 left. Sweet Pea would be heading out tomorrow with his dad and then I would be on my own.

Roxy snuggled up in the car. It was so hard to say goodbye to that little baby.

His dad put us up in a motel in town called the Paloma. We checked in and I wound up hand washing a lot of my clothing. I can’t do laundry here and I don’t know when I’ll get to do it next. Then I dried my tent out and sorted through my things. Later on I showered and then called my mom. It was a funny scene because Sweet Pea is totally done now with hiking, but I still have to resupply once again. That was so damn weird.

We went to the grocery store and I resupplied enough for the next 40-50 miles. Then we ordered Chinese food from the place next door to the motel. When his dad arrived we all had a drink or two at the bar. Then we came back to the room and called it a night. Tomorrow I have another full day of hiking ahead of me. And everyone else gets to begin their rest period.

Eating Chinese food in bed back at our motel room.

So happy to be up on top of Katahdin.

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Comments 28

  • Chris : Sep 4th

    Peg Leg,

    Thank you for taking us on your journey. I have enjoyed your writing on TheTrek all Spring/Summer and look forward to reading the book version one day. Very proud of you, Boosted, Sweet Pea, Roxy and all the AT thru hikers of 2023. Safe travels and hopefully you keep the blog going. A big, big congratulations.


  • DEB : Sep 4th

    Have been loving following you on your big adventure. You’ve sparked my imagination & made me think maybe I could too. Happy & safe trails to you. Congratulations on your grand accomplishment. Hope you’ll keep updating on your continuing trek.

  • D Alan : Sep 4th

    Congrats on your journey. Ive been reading from the beginning. You did a great job, I started off reading 5 hiker blogs and only read yours and another to the end. I’d love to hike the AT and reading about your experience made me want to try it even more.

  • Abby : Sep 4th

    Congratulations ! I’ve enjoyed your journey so very much. Thanks for sharing with the world. Enjoy and all the best as you keep moving !

  • Bob : Sep 4th

    Every morning I look forward to seeing if you posted anything new, and if so looking at your pictures and reading your post. Congratulations on your accomplishments and you will be missed.

  • Gary : Sep 4th

    I have thoroughly enjoyed following your journey. Your writing makes it so interesting to follow along with you. Is there a way to follow your journey on the IAT? I wish you the best in your travels.

  • Cote : Sep 4th

    You ignited my passion for hiking once again, thank you .it was a wonderful journey . hopefully many more to come.

  • Richard : Sep 4th

    This made me cry in a “good way”. I am so proud of you and Boosted and SweetPea and Roxy. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Candace Rose : Sep 4th

    Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures and wish you the best. Thank you for letting us tag along from Bama to Baxter.

  • Lish : Sep 4th

    Congratulations! Your blog has been truly a highlight of the year! Safe travels!

  • tek : Sep 4th

    i am on a bus getting weepy like a weirdo. saw you summit on fb, and still so happy for you! thanks so much for inviting all of us on your epic adventure! happiest of trails to you, hope you’re crushing the IAT!!!

  • Jenny : Sep 4th

    Wow you did it! Bama to Baxter with Roxy, Sweet Pea and Boosted as a wonderful tramily to follow on The Trek. Thank you for describing the trail all the way north- I’ve enjoyed the daily read.

  • Elizabeth : Sep 4th

    Loved reading about your trek. Congrats to Sweet Peat , Boosted and Roxy . Roxy was living her best life , I hope she is enjoying her rest time . Hope you meet a lot of interesting people hiking the IAT.

  • Maureen H : Sep 4th

    Congrats on a super accomplishment! Been following from the beginning. Keep up the writing/pics on the trek northward! Looking forward to more interesting adventures! Hope a new tramily can join you! Peace.

  • Leah Love : Sep 4th

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. I will miss reading about your tramily, but I look forward to reading your next adventures. Stay safe and Happy Trails!

  • Doug : Sep 4th

    (I have a question for you at the end)

    As many above me have already said, congrats to you and your trail mates for successfully completing the AT! This is an awesome accomplishment. I’ve been following you for much of your journey, and hope you’ll continue blogging for the IAT — best wishes for success! I admire your courage to undertake that on your own, going into colder weather.

    If you read this, I’d love to know how Roxy was able to make it up or down those steep slabs with rebar (or other) ladders? If it was understandably difficult for humans, how did Roxy do it (or were there side trails that she could use?) Cheers!

  • Colleen : Sep 4th

    Your journey has been my favorite blog on here. I felt your excited asyou made that last climb to Katahdin. Cheers to you and keep on keeping on!

  • Charlotte : Sep 4th

    Crying tears of joy for all that you have accomplished! So glad that I have had the chance to know you since Bama! I will still follow your journey north if you post. What an inspiration you have been. You will always be a super human with your incredible view of life’s adventures! THANK YOU!

  • CapitalT : Sep 4th

    Well done by all 4 of you. Especially Roxy

  • jen c : Sep 4th

    Congrats on a mammoth accomplishment!! Great writing and good luck with what’s next. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • John Rutkowski : Sep 4th

    Congrats, too bad the delay stopped the trail Magic at Gorham.

    But awesome job..

  • Linette : Sep 4th

    Hi Madison.
    First of all, A big congrats!
    Way to go! So very proud!
    And ditto for Sweet Pea & Boosted (and Roxie-girl, love her too!)
    Following you thru this great adventure has been such a high light of my summer.
    Good vibes going north in the IAT!
    I wish you the best in everything coming your way!
    Take care of you.

  • Chris : Sep 5th

    Congratulations on a great hike, and thank you for bringing us along. Not to mention, thanks for continuing on a bit more so we all have more to look forward to. It’s been great to follow your journey and I look forward to what’s ahead for you.

  • Numbers : Sep 5th

    Congratulations. Look forward to more chapters of your adventures as you keep on walking.

  • Ellen R : Sep 5th

    Congratulations! I know it was said in all these posts but it can’t be said enough of this epic journey you took everyone on! Best wishes to you and your tramily!

  • thetentman : Sep 5th

    Congrats. IAT watch out!

  • J Sewell : Sep 5th

    Well Peg-leg I feel that expressing my well wishes with the word congratulations is not enough for your wonderful accomplishment. I’m just so thrilled for you on this mighty feat. 2600 miles total from Bama to Baxter.

    I became a follower as you cross into PA. I did so because my cousin’s daughter and her boyfriend were right in from of you. I had not realized until today that I wasn’t reading your posts in real time. I have been following your feat over three weeks behind. And you ended up beating Cousin Anne by several hundred miles in Maine. They spent last night at Full Goose an so they’re 280 miles from Katahdin.

    So I end by saying good going to you from East Kentucky.
    I was glad to see some photos of your two other friends and Roxy. Thanks 😊
    Good luck from here…

  • James Craig : Sep 5th

    Congratulations peg leg I cried when I seen this pictures of you and your trail family wow Being from Alabama that is a very very nice Accomplishment wow I wish you the best and be safe I can’t thank you enough for all the wonderful blogs you did a awesome awesome job Congratulations you are very very Strong woman


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