Peak(s):  Mt. Katahdin + 5,269
Date Posted:  06/09/2022
Date Climbed:   07/07/2019
Author:  IanLein
 Baxter Peak - The Beginning of New Passion   

On the morning of the 7th of July, nearly two months since my 17th birthday, my group and I woke up in a 2006 Honda Civic in a grocery store parking lot. We had not properly prepared for the climb, even though it was technically just a hike, as no camping spots were open nearby. Driving to the base of the mountain around 4-5am, a feeling arose within us, something new. A feeling none of us acknowledged, yet felt all the same, the same feeling we'd face again standing on the tarmac next to the plane we'd be jumping out of. We didn't know what we had gotten ourselves into, as we were all still kids, driving up to Maine from Central Pennsylvania for the summer, spending nights in our tents by an abandoned hotel.

The drive to starting point felt incredibly long, painstakingly we made our way to the visitors center and signed in for the day, there was no other option but to start, so we began. With 40 protein bars and an obscene amount of water we began. Ascending the Abol trail, we quickly learned that this "steep ascent" was no joke, and we'd be facing a harsh awakening on the way down. Arriving at a section that required bouldering, we were eager to pounce, like a creature stalking its prey. On the climb upward, we had gotten off trail and climbed up some steeper parts than we had committed too, slightly frightened, we made it to the top. We kept our heads high and continued on, reaching the fully exposed trail and connecting with the Hunt Trail on the Tableland. Taking a break and breathing in the cold thin air, we watched as fellow interlopers passed by with broad smiles and happy eyes.

After catching our breath, we leapt onward and upward. At such an age, and where we grew up, we weren't used to high peaks and grandiose views, it was utterly breathtaking. There are very few moments in my life (so far) that I can vividly remember, reaching Baxter Peak is up there, along with gripping the side of a plane looking down 10k+ feet. These brief few moments of eternity have been a loving glimpse at a peaceful mind, one without worry or stress, just the breath and the views. I could tell that I wasn't the only person up on the peak feeling the same euphoria, you can see it in everyones eyes, and in how they talked, there was nothing but love in that moment.

This day forever solidified my love for hiking/climbing, returning here now to tell this tale as I prepare for a 14er.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

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