This, right here. This. Holy crap.
It’s amazing to see how excited he is! You can plainly see on his face that he can’t really believe he’s there. He nearly throws his trekking poles aside as he start to almost sprint towards the sign on Katahdin. It’s surreal, and frankly, it’s effing beautiful on top of that mountain.
I can’t even imagine the feeling I’m going to have when I finish. The closest I’ve come is to walk into Damascus, VA after four days in the woods. Even that was exhilarating. How many times greater will this be?
Imagining Katahdin is probably something that everyone does when they plan for the trail. I know I definitely do! That vague image of me walking up to the sign, and thinking about what pose I would do in front of it for the picture is ever at the forefront of my brain. I don’t think it’s the most healthy thing to think about from the outset, because it will probably leave you disappointed if you don’t hit the peak before Baxter State Park closes. I’ve been reading a friend’s blog of her thru-hike in ’08, and it addresses this issue directly.
Whether you find yourself to be a purist or not along the way, that sign is still the symbol of your ultimate goal. However, in reality (says the greater, more rational part of my brain), that’s really all it is – a symbol.
I think this is pretty wise. Remember, there’s only so much time before the park closes at the end. My journey will take as long as it takes, and will be as great as I allow it to be. If that means that I miss my window and can’t summit Katahdin, that has to be fine with me. There’s no point in discounting an entire journey because the finish line was removed from my grasp. It won’t even be through any fault of my own, save that maybe I was having a lot of fun along the way.
I mean, I will still have walked to Maine. That’s something, right?