First, let me start this post by saying I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!! I GOT TO MEET THE SUMMIT CHICKS!!!! 🙂
Let me backtrack: I have been using the Summit Chicks’ blog for quite some time as a reference for my own high pointing road trips. I was so surprised and excited when they contacted me shortly after I started my blog and asked if I would want to hike a highpoint with them – ummm YES!!!! 🙂 They found me because I left a comment for another blogger who was starting out highpointing and I suggested she check out their blog. After chatting back and forth we decided Katahdin in Maine would be the peak we would go after – how exciting! The Summit Chicks (Raina and Jill) put together the whole trip – it was in the works for MONTHS because you have to snag a campsite about 4 mths ahead of time for Baxter State Park. They have a ton of crazy rules and the girls did a lot of research to figure out what would be the best option to hike Katahdin.
It was decided that we would get 2 campsites at the Roaring Brook camp and hike the saddle trail up to Katahdin – about 11 miles round trip – as this is considered the “easiest” trail to the summit. I was so excited for this trip!
But as the date got closer, the weather forecast got worse and worse until, as we were driving from Vermont to Maine, the forecast was high of 55* and 100% chance of rain, becoming a harder rain as the day went on. I was so upset. Kevin didn’t even have any rain gear so we stopped along the way but couldn’t find anything for him. He said there was no way he was gonna hike for 10+ hours (the average time it takes to do this trail) in the rain and I agreed – I knew this trail was going to be challenging for me so as it was, but now we’re throwing cold rain into the mix? Bummer! I SWEAR every time I try to go camping the forecast calls for rain – every single time – look back on my blog posts, I’m telling ya it’s true!
We arrived at Baxter State Park and checked in at the Togue Pond Gate entrance, drove to the Roaring Brook campground and pulled into our spot. Although all the camp spots were reserved for months there were quite a few that were empty – perhaps due to the weather. I didn’t know if the others would be there yet or not, but the campground next to ours had a bunch of people – I kept looking over trying to see if I recognized any of them from the pics online.
“Should I go say hi?!?” I asked Kevin “None of them look familiar.” Kevin just shrugged and luckily before I burst into another camp and introduced myself to the wrong group I saw Raina coming from the OTHER direction!! I forgot their campsite was a bit farther away – HAHAHA! She was so sweet and showed us around the campground, led us to the other ranger station we needed to check into and showed us the topo map of the trails so we could look at the planned route. We walked back to our campsite and she said Jill had a really long day of travel and wouldn’t be arriving until later. We made plans to eat dinner together after we set up camp.
The campsite was very nice and the outhouses were not bad at all (incase anyone is worried about that while camping there). Kevin and I decided to go grab some firewood to start a campfire and were looking down as we walked the path back to the ranger station. I just happened to glance up and stopped dead in my tracks, grabbing Kevin. “What?!” he asked, but I couldn’t speak – I could only point because standing directly in front of us was a moose and her baby. We almost walked right into them! Kevin said “Go grab your camera!!” because of course that would be THE ONE TIME I didn’t have it with me! I sprinted back down the trail and grabbed my phone just in time to take a video of them passing by. A car coming down the road spooked them into the woods and when we couldn’t see them anymore we continued back down the path on our original mission to get firewood. A group of campers were laughing at us hysterically as they told us they were taking bets to see if we would notice the moose or just walk into it – LOL!
When we got back to the campsite, Jill had arrived with her brother and they were setting up their tent. After some introductions, they went to say hello to the other camp and then decided to see if they could spot any moose. They set out for a hike while Kevin and I warmed up our spaghetti (which I premade at home and put in a jar kept in the cooler so we wouldn’t have a huge mess to clean up) and carried it over to the other campsite where Raina, her husband Shaun and friend Rachel were making quesadillas on the fire. We had a great time getting to know them over dinner (I found out Raina is a vegetarian like me – wahoo!). Jill and her brother came back from their hike while we were making bananas with peanut butter and chocolate chips on the fire – best idea EVER! I had such a fun time getting to know them and chatting about highpoints. We also talked about how the McDonalds in Maine served lobster rolls – which no one was willing to try. I am usually really shy when first meeting people, but they were so easy to get along with- it is always nice to meet positve happy people who have the same interest in the outdoors! We discussed the imposing weather and I broke the news that I most likely wouldn’t be doing the hike if it was raining but I promised to think about it and decide in the morning. It started to drizzle so we all scattered to try to get a good night’s sleep before the hike in the morning.
Unfortunately it started to really rain around 10:00PM and continued to rain ALL NIGHT – I know because I really had to pee and didn’t want to get out of my warm sleeping bag and run through the rain to the outhouse. Plus Kevin was snoring a good chunk of the night and kept elbowing me in the back because our tent was pitched on a bit of slanted ground – his sleeping pad kept sliding into mine which was sliding into the side of the tent – LOL. Kevin and I were up very early and discussed what our plan was – he absolutely did not want to hike in the rain and I agreed. We decided that since it was still raining we would pack up slowly and head over to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park to spend the rest of our vacation there.
When we got out of our tent Jill was awake and invited Kevin and I to do a quick hike to see if we could spot any moose. We didn’t see any unfortunately. Even though it was drizzling and foggy the hike was still beautiful in it’s own way!
I felt so torn telling Jill and Raina that I wasn’t going to attempt the hike – it was a really tough decision for me because I didn’t want to seem like a wimp, but I just knew in my gut that I would have been miserable and if I am going to do a challenging hike like that I want an awesome view at the top to look forward to. I know it would have been a great adventure, but I also didn’t want to get hurt or embarrass myself, have to get rescued off the mountain, or ruin the trip for the others if I had to turn around. The others decided to try to hike and see how it would go. I told them I was a fair-weather highpointer and would have to come up and try again sometime. Honestly getting to meet them and seeing the moose made the entire trip worth while! 🙂
We told them we were going to pack up and head to Bar Harbor and Raina gave me a chocolate she found that was called Bug Bites – how adorable!! They are a chocolate company that donates 10% of it’s proceeds to endangered species – and no there weren’t any bugs in the chocolate – it had a little card attached that had little facts about different insects. 🙂
Kevin and I wished them well and they set out on their adventure – I can not wait to see their pictures and read about their journey to the top (spoiler alert – they made it in 11 hrs in rain and at times sleet! They rock!) We slowly gathered our things and packed up, covering the extra firewood with a trashbag and hoping it would stay dry for them so they could have a toasty fire to warm up when they got back. The whole time Kevin and I were driving to Bar Harbor I kept checking the weather and we would try to figure out how far they would be on the trail. I was really worried about them until I got and email from Raina letting me know they made it down safely – and although I was 2nd guessing my decision the whole day, after I heard about the sleet I felt I made the right decision for me. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. And I have a feeling we will meet again – they said they will come meet me when I snag DC’s highpoint – which I have something special in mind for that one as long as I can figure out some free time to get down there! 🙂
Also I realized as we left I didn’t get any pictures with them! What?!?! I take pics of everything – how did this happen?!? LOL!
Check out the Summit Chicks awesome blog HERE and the recap of their hike to Katahdin HERE. (I will link once their post is up!)
Next stop Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park – trying to make the most of the rainy week! 🙂