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9/8/21 Awoke at 2:30 AM to leave hotel and Barb drive us the long distance to Millinocket to meet our shuttle driver , Jaime, the owner of the Appalachian Trail Lodge. We met Mark who had wanted to share our campsite at Katahdin Springs in order to start his south bound section of the AT by climbing Mount Katahdin. Shuttle drove us to the entrance of the park where I had to show my reservation of the camping permit to stay at a lean-to at Katahdin Springs in order to enter. Weather at the base was cool and partly cloudy. Left my stuff I would need to camp that night in a separate lean to so I didn’t need to haul it up the mountain so essentially we we’re slack packing to the summit as everyone does. Had to register with a ranger and started hiking with Mark leading. May have been 10 other hikers some finishing their thru hike and other day hikers. Initially trail was easy and we crossed a few bridges of Katahdin stream and some waterfalls. Then the climb became steeper and Mark faded behind and I just hauled ass upwards over huge boulders with a few metal rods to grab onto. Incredible views and went above tree line. I passed several climbers. I felt strong and as I was climbing I became quite emotional teary eyed at times recalling how incredibly difficult my journey which had started on 3/7/21 (over 6 months ago). I felt like Lieutenant Dan in the Forest Gump movie when he is on the shrimp boat in the hurricane standing in the crows nest screaming at God “ is this what you call a storm”. I felt like is this the best mountain you can up with. This is nothing. I was angry with God really myself because I alone had caused all the problems with anxiety and depression and loneliness having to make the heartbreaking decision to get off the trail with Piper go back home and then get back on the trail without Piper. I waited for Barb and we hiked onto The Tableland past Thoreau Sping and we were now in windy cold conditions with fog and limited visibility obviously no views. Layered up with warmer clothing. Relatively gentle long uphill climb for at least another mile. Saw the famous sign at the summit in the mist I had dreamt about for so long and reached it and I was crying. It was bittersweet as I was not done with my journey still having the hundred mile wilderness and other miles in Maine and Virginia maybe 270 in total. Pictures were taken and about 8 other hikers were at the summit some thru hikers who had finished their journey congratulating others and I was envious. This was how I was supposed to complete the AT. It was not to be for myself but I was more determined to do the miles I had skipped and be a true thru hiker all be it a flip floper. Barb and I slowly hiked back down. We never saw Mark as he had turned around due to feeling poorly. We found him in our lean-to lying down inside his sleeping bag.