At 5,268 feet, Mount Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine. It's the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and is near a stretch called the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.
Climbing Katahdin is a rite of passage for Maine hikers and naturalists who want an untrammeled connection to the outdoors. It's also a favored destination for those who want to start or end a thru-hike of the 2,190-mile-long Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine and has enthralled thousands of hikers with its untouched natural environment.
According to Penobscot legend, Katahdin is home to a bird spirit named Pamola. Pamola is the thunder god, maker of cold weather, and protector of the mountain.
It's also a sacred place for the Maliseet, Micmac, and Passamaquoddy tribes of Maine. They sacrifice animal fat and oil to Pamola to keep them safe from evil spirits.
The mountain is protected by Baxter State Park, a wilderness area that was donated to the people of Maine in the 1930s by Governor Percival Baxter. Visitors to the park are free, but they have to enter through reservations of which Maine residents get first choice.
Despite its relatively short height on the list of state highpoints, Katahdin is not an easy hike by any stretch. It can take multiple days to complete a hike and, as a result, is not for the beginner. It can be very challenging and the weather can turn quickly.