Hiking 8:30:00  9.7 mi (52:35 / mi) +1200m 37:59 / mi
Katahdin! From Roaring Brook, up the Helon Taylor trail to Pamola Peak, across the Knife Edge to Baxter Peak, back down via the Saddle trail and Chimney Pond trail.
When I went to reserve a parking reservation a couple weeks ago, the 11th was available, so that was it. As the day approached, the weather forecast wasn't great -- cloudy in the morning and rain in the afternoon, windy all day. There was only one way we were going to be able to do it, and that was to get across the Knife Edge before the rain.
Overnight at a motel in Millinocket, then up at 5, 4th in line at the park gate around 6 a.m., through the gate at 6:30 and on the trail at 6:45. Party of 4: me, Addie, Mei-An, and my friend Rob.
The ascent up the Taylor trail was nice. We got above the clouds and had sun for an hour or two and great views. It took us 3 hours to Pamola. The last hour was above tree line, and the wind was fierce. We had a snack in the chimney, then over Chimney Peak and onto the Knife Edge. The wind was howling, I have to guess 40-50 mph, and it was very tough going. Had to hold onto a rock whenever I took a step. Couldn't put on a jacket without help. Clouds closed in, temperature dropped, everything started to get wet, and the wind was insane.
Nearing the South Peak it seemed like a close call whether to push on or turn back, but we were more than halfway through, so on we went. Even though the weather was worse, the second half of the Knife Edge was easier, and we were on the summit by noon.
As soon as we started down the Saddle Trail on the lee side the wind eased up but rain was in the air. We had lunch and a good rest at the Chimney Pond campground, then slogged the 3 miles back out to Roaring Brook in pouring rain, arriving at 3:15.