Thursday, June 23, 2016

Climbing Mt. Katahdin

                                                  Beautiful smiles in front of Chimney Pond

The mountain that many view as spiritual taught us how important it is to challenge everything we know to be true about us and our bodies. It taught us to be humble. It taught us that accomplishments sometimes come in the form of defeat. Katahdin, or Great Mountain, is a mountain that demands the utmost respect. This we learned first hand. While we may read that and hear others talk about that, I do not think we truly absorbed that message until we encountered mile after mile of rocks and the efforts we used to defeat them.

Each of us had personal goals when we began planning this climb. Go hiking with friends, get our bodies in shape, camp out in the Maine woods with female friends, and see how far we can get up the mountain were just a few. But for me, my goal was to make it to the top, touch the sign, walk the peak. It has been over 30 years since I've walked along the top of a mountain chain so the desire was strong. But we didn't make it to the top.We made it to what is called the Saddle Slide. It is so close to the top it isn't even funny. We were right there. But the message of this sign below and our predetermined turn around time of 1:00 guided our thinking.

While we had a goal to reach the top of the mountain, we also held on to our destination which was for a safe return by all to the trail head. Thankfully, reaching our destination was successfully accomplished. And now a day after our safe return home to our families we find that reflection is in order and to be honest we couldn't avoid it even if we tried. So here's what I took away from the mountain.

When you open your heart and head unimaginable things can happen.
Do not underestimate the power of going out of your comfort zone. 
When women come together to support and encourage each other, amazing things happen.
Katahdin is one heck of a challenge because it is one heck of a mountain. 
Rocks are just obstacles. We can overcome them.
There is nothing like being out in the woods or climbing a mountain. They stay with you. They refresh and nourish you.
And never get under the sheets to take a nap with your street clothes on.

We will go back to Katahdin. Because Katahdin is a mountain that demands respect, it is one that doesn't give of it's gifts too freely. They are to be worked for and earned. We will be back and we will place a little pink rock on the sign at the top because we too are worthy.

To friends who hike mountains with you, may we continue to walk onward and upward. 
Love to you amazing, strong, beautiful women - Mary

Here we are below the Saddle Slide

In the mountains of truth, you never climb in vain.  Either you already reach a higher point today, or you exercise your strength in order to be able to climb higher tomorrow.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Spring Training

Months have come and gone from that first snowy day of snowshoeing (see previous post) but we have all continued to move our bodies in some way. Today we decided it was time to try a small mountain hike up Roundtop Mt in the Kennebec Highlands of Rome. It was a fabulous day. We practiced how to  put on bug dope, how to use poles to help us climb up and down a mountain trail, how to pee in the woods without leaving a trace, and how to just enjoy the beautiful forest flowers.

About 1/2 way up. 

                                                     After our hike at the trail head sign.

Information on this trail can be found here:

When 6 Teachers Decide to Hike a Maine Mountain

       It all began with the reading of, Lost on a Mountain in Maine, by Donn Fendler.

The fourth graders in Maine read this book every year because it tells the amazing story of a young 12 year old boy, Donn Fendler, who was lost for 9 days on Mt. Katahdin back in 1939. Every year a new group of fourth graders fall in love with this story. And every year fourth grade teachers refall in love with this story. 

This year 6 teachers from our school have decided that we want to follow the path of Donn and so many others up this majestic mountain, Mt. Katahdin. 

Mt. Katahdin or, The Greatest Mountain, as the Penobscot call it, is the tallest mountain in Maine. At a little over 5,000 feet tall it isn't nearly as tall as the White Mountains to its west but it's just as majestic. There is no overnight camping up on the mountain so climbers need to climb to the top and  return back down in one day. That's one of the challenges. 

We decided we needed to prepare our bodies for this challenge and we have each exercised in different ways. From snowshoeing together and taking core exercise classes, to training at a gym and doing stairs at school, we have worked to get ready. 

Back in February, 4 of us went snowshoeing. These pictures are from that lovely day behind Inland Hospital. 

4 sets of feet ready to begin our walk.

A lovely snow covered stream that meandered under a bridge.

Aptly named trail

A quick photo to capture a wonderful time together.


You can find information on Inland Hospital's Trails and trail maps here: