Location: Baxter State Park/ Millinocket, Maine/USA
Elevation: 5,267 feet
Note: The Penobscot Native-American tribe that once lived in this region referred to this mountain as “Katahdin”, which means: “The Greatest Mountain”. It’s expansive natural reserve is protected by the State of Maine as Baxter State Park, inclusive of incredible rivers, rapids, high mountain streams, and cascading waterfalls cutting through one-hundred miles of Appalachian forest. Hiking Katahdin is a multidimensional experience with marvelous variations in the fauna and stone while ascending. I followed the ‘Katahdin Stream Trail’ on the western face of the mountain, which requires a parking reservation and 7 a.m arrival time, easily made through Baxter State Park Office. The initial portion of ‘Katahdin Stream Trail’ follows a beautiful and wide rocky stream, with grand free-standing boulders guiding the water that rushes down the mountain. Ancient works of masonry appear in unique stone pathways fully enclosed by beautiful Pines and Birches. Some steps are refined and delicately thin, while others are wide and loosely fit, with blatant cuts and incisions, a full half-mile above ground level. A spectacular waterfall can be found about an hour into the hike. The necessary level of skill increases after the waterfall, where the trail mingles with dried stream-beds and stacked boulders. From here, branches and roots surround the trail increasingly, and it is necessary to begin using climbing techniques. The terrain continues in this way for roughly another hour before breaking the tree-line, and encountering another major challenge. Above and beyond the tree’s is a venerable wonderland of massive rocks and boulders, lining the last ledge to the peak like a giant’s pathway. Free-climbing is required in order to work steadily along the massive ridge, weaving between and over colossal boulders sitting almost a mile above the world. To both the left and right of the boulder-trail the valleys below unfold like a brilliant blanket with peaks to the edge of the skyline. The pine trees below undulate and sparkle with a static electricity when the Sun is shinning, and all of New England unfolds before you. Steadily climb through the boulder-trail following the white-dot markers, and it is roughly 45 minutes to an amazing peak. The Katahdin peak is a magical collage of unique dark granite colors combined with Celtic looking green moss, and interlocking stones. There are anthropologically notable standing-stones unlike any I have ever seen on this enchanted plateau, pointing and aligning to peaks to the west and east. Some standing stones include signature fixtures, such as miniature counterparts supporting the front facade and drawing attention to the work. The entire elevation is covered in this unique moss so similar to the heights in the Mourne Mountains of Ireland, the Cornwall coast of England, and gritty heights of Glencoe Scotland. This is one of the best hiking experiences in all of New England, and should be experienced by all sincere nature lovers and ancient culture enthusiasts.