Two Months on the Appalachian Trail
One hiker's experience on the northernmost section of the East's famous footpath.
A couple of nice days, complete with birdsong, reenergize us. At the base of 5,268-foot Mount Katahdin--which towers over everything else around--we're in good spirits. This mountain marks the endpoint for both our hike and the Appalachian Trail. It has taken me 59 days to get here. The trail up the mountain starts gradually but steepens fast. Once above treeline, we use our hands to propel us forward over a series of huge boulders. As we get higher, the fog and rain blow in. The visibility is so poor I can barely make out Evan hiking 20 yards behind me. Finally we reach the summit, populated, at the moment at least, by only dark-eyed juncos. It's cold, so we don't stay long. Going down proves to be as slow-going as going up. We have already walked 20 miles since morning, and I can tell Evan is functioning purely on willpower. He keeps saying things like: "My body hates me" and "My legs are saying 'no, no, nooooooo.' " By the time we get back to the campsite, we are both exhausted and can barely walk. Appropriately enough, it rains our last night in the tent. Nonetheless, we both have bittersweet feelings about leaving these woods, where the lack of modern conveniences and the constant, sweet-smelling nature has given us great delight.