Some of you have asked me if I am joining Rick (At Troll) when he summits Katahdin. I have always answered with a sound "No" and I want to share with you why. I have had the opportunity to climb Katahdin with a long distance hiker and it is an extremely emotional time for this person. I've been chatting with Rick and as he gets closer to his goal and his finish of the hike he is starting to ride the roller coaster of emotions. We talked about the end and people joining him. I asked him if I could write this, and he agreed.
There are several reasons we should not go to the finish. Starting with, Rick cannot determine the date of his arrival at Baxter State Park. He may decide to slow down to savor the time. He may speed up to near the end as the excitement of the finish approaches. Thru-hikers all have their own agenda, and those are varied as much as hikers are varied. They have been hiking for months learning about themselves, their place in life, and how they want to grow. That peak they are reaching for is very significant.
Once Rick gets to Baxter he still won't be able to pin-point the day right away. He may have to wait for a Class 1 or 2 day. If there is a group of us there, he will feel obligated to do it on a certain day to please us. I'm sorry, but I think Rick should be doing his own thing at this point; not trying to please a group.
Also, Rick is hiking at 2-3 miles per hour. This is pretty strong. None of us can keep up with a thru-hiker. Asking him to hike at our speed is also unfair.
Finally, when Rick gets to the peak of Katahdin, he's may go through emotions that he'll prefer to share with those who are close to him. My sister picked me, because she was hiking solo, I am usually her hiking partner, and I am family. Rick's new family is his hiking family. Those of you that have been reading his trail journal know that he has developed a very strong network of friends on the trail. Let him finish with his "family." We can celebrate with him later.