Each year the location of the annual Highpointers Convention changes among the fifty states. Last year it was Oregon, the year before Ohio, both places that aren't too easy or inexpensive to get to. However, this year, the convention is in Maine, a breezy 7.5 hour drive away!
Tomorrow afternoon, my Mom, Bill, Billy, Danny, and I are piling into our minivan with the trunk packed with gear to make our way to Mt. Katahdin, the tallest point in Maine. We'll arrive late tomorrow night and Thursday morning begin the hike into Chimney Pond. We've given ourselves plenty of time if there's afternoon thunderstorms because as of right now things could get exciting in the afternoons later this week.
Last time I was at Mt. Katahdin was this February as a member of Wilderness Rescue, a Search and Rescue team based out of Grey, Maine. We spent a week going of winter skills and completing mock rescues scenarios. But the last time my family was at Baxter State Park was in July of 2005! That was before Billy and Danny were allowed above tree line (no one under 6 is allowed above tree line) so Ryan, Bill, Mom, and myself had to execute a "divide and conquer" technique. That was where Bill and I went to summit, while Mom and Ryan stayed at Chimney Pond with Billy and Danny. After we had reached the summit, we swapped with Mom and Ryan and let them summit too.
A very distinct memory of our trip in '05 was that there were tons of moose! Bill woke up one night and heard a strange munching sound a few feet away from the end of our lean-to. He shone his flashlight on the noise, and a giant moose was having a snack less than 10 feet away from us! Bill woke us all up so we could watch him and it was wildly exciting! I'm hoping we'll get to see some more interesting wildlife this weekend, but I won't mind if it's from more of a distance.
Wish us luck!