Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Finishing the AT
On August 28, 2003 I completed the 2,169 mile Appalachian Trail. I began the trip in September of 2003, hiking approximately 500 miles from Spring Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. I went to school for a semester, and returned to finish the remainder. During the last leg I usually hiked at least 25 miles a day. My brother was getting married August 30, and school had begun on the 27th.
I awoke at 5 am at the base of Katahdin. About 10 other hikers and I scrambled up the granite boulders of Katahdin. During the trip my daydreams had been filled with thoughts of standing upon Katahdin at the trip's completion. As I scrambled above the treeline, a storm had enveloped the mountain. The 30 mile an hour gusts gave the hail a horizontal trajectory.
I reached Thoreau spring, a mile from the summit, and came to grips with the fact that my summit moment would be accompanied by a hail storm. I was overcome with tears, and began the final push to the summit. The wind roared in my ears, drowning out all but thoughts. 100 yards from the summit one particular gust tore the cloud cover from the mountain, revealing the craggy summit that was the Northern Terminus.
The above picture captures my life's greatest moment.