10/8 Katahdin Stream Campsite (10.3)

October 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm

IMG_20131008_124650_285We woke up in our motel room feeling eager to get back to the trail.  The morning clouds were clearing quickly, and we knew we would see Katahdin as we approached it today.  We were glad we waited an extra day to summit – as we poured out of the shuttle at the entrance to Baxter State Park, we saw Talker, Delorean, Saga, and Doc Spice approaching from the bridge.  There was a huge reunion in front of the campstore, and we all walked the ten quick miles to Katahdin Stream Campground together.  A massive chain of hikers wound Northward on the trail, talking animatedly and stopping at each waterfall.

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We split at the optional ford on the trail, with Greenlite inexplicably and fearlessly leading all of the tallest members of our group across, and the remaining sub-6-footers taking the less courageous option.  Mark and I paused on the bank to see everyone across safely and flirt with the idea of crossing, but after seeing how high the water level was on the impressive legs of 6 foot 7 inch Bison, we decided that we were too close to the end to risk any trail-enders.

IMG_20131008_160255_841Somewhat spread out now, we wandered into Katahdin Stream Campground in twos and threes, finding an even bigger group there to receive us.  Each lean-to we passed was filled with familiar names from the logbooks surrounding campfires.  For us, this was the first time meeting many of these people, whose whisper we had been following for weeks or even months.  It took us quite a while to make our way through the winding campground, laced with new acquaintances and old friends, to the lean-to Limey had reserved.  Our very own Liverpoolian had been given lean-to number 9 but failed to see the humor in it.  After more than six months in America, Limey is a little tired of Beatles references.

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We spent the evening in complete revelry, letting our thoughts stray only as far as the top of Katahdin, colored like the dying leaves in the sunset.  It stood watchfully over the lean-to and bore witness to our laughter and conversations.  If it was bored by the triteness of words it had undoubtedly heard thousands of times, it gave no indication.  As the evening dwindled, I heard my name called from behind me.  I found myself receiving a big hug from someone with a big beard, which at this point indicated no particulars to me about the identity of its owner.  I was shocked to peer into the face of Brian, a close friend from NH.  He is working at Baxter this summer on the trail crew, but without phone service for most of Maine, I had lost hope of meeting up with him.  As a demonstrative person, it’s hard to express in affect-less words how happy it made us to find him here, waiting and watching for our arrival.  We had an old friend to see us up the mountain on the last day of our journey.

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Tomorrow will be the end of a story we have been telling you for six months.  Hopefully it will leave our blog the way that the leaves have left the trees now, with the promise of renewal.