Blog

The Snap YO-YO of the A.T Begins: Summit Day

October 7, 2016

Snap Notes: You may be wondering what a "Snap YO-YO" is -- A Snap YO-YO is when I post in a southbounder format drawing content from my northbound archive of photos from the A.T. I will not be physically Yo-Yo-ing the A.T but instead, I will be vicariously bringing you along to recount my journey on the A.T.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I set my alarm for zero dark zero. 

I don't think I had even slept for even 3 hours. In the past 24 hours, I made a mad rush out of the 100 Mile Wilderness to take advantage of the clear weather and summit Katahdin without obstructed views. I knew my body was tired, but the excitement of reaching the top of Katahdin on a clear night stirred my body to get in gear. I kept telling myself -- "One last big push."

Before going to sleep, I announced my intentions to hike at midnight to my shelter neighbors and apologized in advance for the ruckus that would ensue at 0000. I tried to keep things quiet, but I swear the inflatable sleeping pad manufacturers put crinkly noise projecting material in their products! Not to mention, the explosive decompression needed to pack up my sleeping pad. I snuck out of The Birches like the elephant in the room tip-toeing to the other side.

I made a quick pit stop at the privy, because I heard they didn't have porta johns up on Katahdin. Then I proceeded to the ranger station to sign the log book and leave everything I didn't need for the climb up Katahdin to pick up later. I brought all of my clothing layers, emergency bivy, sleeping bag, stove, 2.5L of water, hot cocoa, a celebratory cold beverage, camera gear, and The Last Chapter. I took one last look at the posted weather report. It hadn't changed since the time I looked at it earlier in the day -- technically yesterday, but seeing "Clear :)" written in the night forecast was a big boost for morale. So I began making my way up the Hunt Trail.

It started out gradual, and then all of a sudden I was huffing and puffing. A leisurely stroll became a near continuous session of bouldering all the way to the top. It made me realize how little I had engaged my upper body for the past several months. Pardon my french, but once I got above tree-line -- Stuff got real. I remembered seeing the wind forecast for the night reading between 10-15 mph, but I found myself clinging onto the mountain for dear life. It was cold, and windy AF. I paused very little in order to keep my core body temperature up. After a ridiculously sketchy part of the trail, I stopped to catch my breath. I turned off my headlamp and somewhere between the base of the mountain and the summit was where I discovered the reason why I hike.

Somewhere between the base of the mountain and the summit was where I discovered the reason why I hike.

The night sky was glorious, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. If I was tired then, all traces of fatigue disappeared because the excitement and anticipation of reaching the summit under a night sky of countless stars overwhelmed me. I turned my headlamp back on and began to boulder again. 

Since the moon had already set, I was only able to see several feet in front of me with the aid of my headlamp. Eventually the bouldering turned to a trail "texture" I would rate as a 6 (1 being perfectly paved to 10 being Pennsylvania). It became relatively level again for a while, so I figured I was in the tablelands. This meant I was pretty close to the top. The pep in my step became even stronger knowing that I was almost there. It was one foot in front of the other, one white blaze to the next and then all of a sudden, the summit sign just appeared out of the darkness. Oh Snap!

Going on these epic adventures and sharing the beauty with you would not be possible with your love and support. If you love the content that I create and would like to help support me by sparing a few dollars to help keep me fed, clothed, sheltered, and equipped to capture the beauty on my adventures, it would mean so much to me. If you can't spare some change at the moment, that's totally fine! You can also help by sharing my page with your family and friends with the share links below. Thank you!