By a. I had arrived a couple of hours before they did, but from several hikers who had met and passed his party, I was receiving a steady stream of ongoing reports of their whereabouts. Finally, along the open expanse of the Tableland, perhaps yards away, I could make out their slow but steady progress with Bill and his dog, Colby, leading the entourage. As they approached, with each stride words alone here cannot express the sheer emotion welling up inside me. When it finally became time to leave, my dad and I, together with his friend and faithful companion Ray Boland began our descent down Abol Trail.
Along the way, on that glorious, sun-splashed, late August day with hopes held high, my dad made a vow to attempt another climb up Katahdin in four years, in his 85th year of life on this earth. In that moment, I never doubted him in his will and determination to succeed with that goal. It would have been the three of us — my year-old son Michael, myself and Dad. What a memorable trip that certainly would have been! But, sadly, it was not to be, as my dad passed on from this earth of a heart attack shortly after his 85th birthday on June 29, The early summer day had a beautiful, blue sky.
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He was at his beloved camp with my mom tending to gardening chores when God called him home, in full view of the mountain he cherished so much. In , my son Michael and his friend Zack made plans to honor that commitment despite the sad circumstances. In a larger sense, Michael and I both knew that Grampy would still be along with us in spirit on our journey. I planned to scatter to the wind those contents, in his memory, to the mountain he so loved and played a role in his life in Katahdin Country.
But as I climbed that day with each moment closer toward the top, my emotions grew. Finally atop the mountain, I reached for the small container tucked away in my backpack. As I closed my eyes and listened to the wind, I held it in my hands for the longest moment and whispered a silent prayer. Once again, my Dad and I made the trip back down our mountain.
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We were skiing into Chimney Pond last February a day behind three of our good buddies. He was having what seemed to be a very serious phone conversation with a search and rescue crew. We quickly cleared up that it was not our friends, but rather a group of students from the University of Maine who had summated via Helon Taylor from the Roaring Brook campsite.
The mountain was pretty socked in with mph winds and high avalanche danger, not the best day to be summiting anything. It turned out that the last of the four hikers was blown off the trail. The next day we summited Hamlin peak while watching a helicopter, airplane, and ground crews work to find the missing hiker. Luckily, they found him that afternoon and air-lifted him to the hospital. There were a few major mistakes that the group made that led to their accident but none bigger than forgetting to thank the search and rescue crew who saved his life.
In his interview after the fact, he recounted the survival tactics he learned from watching Bear Grylls on television as the reasons for why he survived. Mike Flynn of Ripley, Maine, has hiked to the summit of Katahdin 81 times in the past 35 years. He relates some of his amusing Katahdin experiences. One day, I was resting on top when I noticed a rainsquall heading this way from Chesuncook. My friend and I packed up and headed down the Hunt Trail.
We were almost at the edge of the Tableland when the rain started. There was an inch opening at the bottom of a ledge with a small chamber. We crawled in, hauled our packs in and waited for the squall to pass. One of them remarked that Pamola must be talking to them.
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When we crawled out of the hole, we thanked Pamola for providing us with the shelter. Hoping for an early start, we were sleeping in the back of my truck at the gravel pit outside the park. When we had an unusual wake up alarm. We awoke to the sound of tapping on the hood of my truck.
After a couple of minutes listening to the tapping, I looked out the window. Standing in front of my truck was a cow and calf moose. It was blackfly season and when the calf wagged its tail, it tapped on my good. A unique alarm, indeed.
By Charles M. Skinner
The rugged grandeur of the mountain, with its towering cliffs, clear, cold running streams and host of animals inhabiting its slopes, makes Mount Katahdin one of my favorite hiking destinations. Dale Murray of Windham, Maine, has never hiked Katahdin, but it has long been a part of his life. I have never climbed it, never hunted or fished its flanks. I have never even entered Baxter State Park. The mountain was simply always there, ethereal, just beyond true comprehension.
It was and remains mystic, spiritual. In the s, Katahdin was a vague concept to me, but I knew it was important. A mile high! Back then few from Greenville climbed the mountain so there was little lore for guidance.
I recall terror as I faced the craggy rock face I was expected to climb in the wild wind. I left my friends and turned back for camp. They followed shortly thereafter having been told by others above that rock that the winds were too fierce for climbing that day. My friends did climb to the top the following morning. Now Katadin stands on my short bucket list — Katadin and Katmandu. Comment by carolyncholland — April 27, pm Reply.
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