Sassy Sunshine is a trooper!
It had been a month and a half since I had seen Sassy at the Vermont hiker party. I figured after Sassy’s 21-hour drive from MI to Millinocket, ME with Marmy (my mother-in law), she was going to be spent and would want to do nothing more than veg out with me and watch reruns of Top Chef. I was dead wrong.
A week earlier we tentatively discussed summiting Katahdin together on the 6th even though I would climb it first on the 5th. We thought this would be an especially good way for her to put closer to our journey since she was unable to complete the whole thing. Quite honestly, I was content climbing the toughest mountain on the AT only once; furthermore, I was certain that the road trip, sheer difficulty of the climb, and waking up at 3am would be enough to make the veg out option more appealing for Sassy… I was just fine with that, however, Sassy was not.
We woke at 3:05am, just in time for absolutely no coffee shop or any sane person to be stirring in podunk Millinocket. Sassy and I scrambled out of the motel to get in line at the Baxter State park gate; we made it just before 4am to find a good 50 cars ahead of us patiently waiting for the park gates to open. We made it to the trailhead around 6:00am and hit the trailhead at 6:20, and then we climbed, and boy, did we climb. According to Sassy, the climb up Katahdin was without doubt the most treacherous and grueling climb she had ever attempted. There were slabs of granite so steep the park drilled pieces of rebar into the rock; what’s more, Katahdin is a 5.2 mile and 4,200 foot ascent. Most mountaineering expeditions climb no more than 3-4000ft in a day.
Sassy rocked it out without any help from me considering she forgot to bring insoles for her shoes. She said, “My feet have really shrunk since I last hiked!” Later, she took her shoes off to empty out rocks when she noticed her mishap. If her feet weren’t already temperamental from the neuroma, then the lack of cushion and support from the insole surely wasn’t going to help either. By God’s grace, we summited in three hours and then descended without incident – side note: Sassy incurred a serious wedgie while scooting off a boulder. Her reaction was priceless. Good thing I captured the moment on camera rather than help her down.
In all, we really had a fun time climbing Katahdin. We both got some tears out and we truly relished that we will never have to be apart like this again (we pray we wont). I love my wife!