Yesterday I talked about how my parents are long distance backpackers. That reminded me (in perfect timing for today’s letter) of one of their backpacking traditions they passed down to my siblings and me.
Mount Katahdin is part of the Appalachian Trail and located in Maine. It’s the highest mountain in Maine (5,267 feet) and it’s name means “The Greatest Mountain”. It is no wonder, then, that my parents chose this mountain name to scream out when calling for their other hiking companions. It is common for backpackers to break off into smaller groups depending on their pace of hiking. When trying to locate the fellow backpackers someone would simply yell “KATAHDIN!” as loud and high as they possibly could and wait for their friend’s cry in return.
My dad used to run a program called TRAIL for Big Brother Big Sister. He would take those kids on a 5 week journey along the Appalachian Trail and my family would be the support crew. My siblings and I were all familiar with the Katahdin call so when my dad announced they would be hiking Mount Katahdin we all got really excited. Sadly, there is a part in the trail where a metal bar sticks out of one rock face and you have to climb up it to get to the next rock face and my parents thought it was too dangerous and hard for my sister and I to attempt so only my brother got to go all the way to the top.
I still have to climb Katahdin all the way to the top, but even so, I’ll still be using the “Katahdin call” no matter where I’m hiking.