Saturday, August 25, 2012

Katahdin

I can see it!
It is less than one hundred feet away.
The end.
I start moving faster.
I need to get there.
The sun has erupted over the peak of the mountain.
The cold air chills my hot skin.
Colors so vivid are surrounding me.
I move faster.
My breath coming in gasps.
So many times I've tried to imagine this moment.
Faster.
Desperate.
Only 50 feet now.
Over 5 months I've been trying to get here.
Now I can see the end.
I need to be there.
My throat starts to tighten.
I move even faster.
20 feet.
I hear a wheezing with each inhale.
My feet are a blur of motion beneath me.
It is beautiful.
10 feet.
I throw my poles to the ground.
I begin to slow.
5 feet.
Emotion chokes my breathing.


I am there.
 I place my hand on the sign.
I fall to the ground sobbing.
I have made it.
I am overwhelmed with emotion.
I am happy.
I am sad.
I am relieved.
I am in awe.
I am tired.
I am done.

I've dreamed about this moment since I was nineteen years old when my buddy Mike and I first talked about hiking the trail.  Now 16 years later, I have done it.  What seemed like an insurmountable feat is now over.  I doubted if I would even finish.  The pain I experienced in Georgia,  the illness in Virginia, Pennsylvania and then again in Maine, the sometimes dangerous trail that I was sure I was going to slip and fall off a ledge, was now behind me.  I am weeping openly, no holding back.  I turn my head to the east and basked in the sunrise on top of my final destination.  I don't think I've seen a more incredible sight.

I had the whole mountain to myself.  I spent an hour watching the morning sun paint the clouds.  I watched as the long shadows on the hillsides slowly got smaller as the sun crept higher in the sky.  I felt peace.


I would like to thank everyone who followed this journey with me.  It was nice to be able to share my thoughts and experiences when I had the chance.  I feel like I was able to start fresh after each time I wrote another entry.  Now I think I'll celebrate with a chicken quesadilla.


~Frenchy

If you would like to find me on facebook the best way is to search for Matt French Horse Training.  Drop me a line, I'd be happy to hear from you.






40 comments:

  1. Matt, I am filled with pride that my son was able to accomplish such an extraordinary feat. I feel like I have been with you for five months, looking forward to seeing you each day. I always knew that you could do anything you set your mind to do as you are a strong willed child. I love you so very much. I cried right along with you as you reached the peak of Katahdin. It was just as you said in the film -- holy. God bless you and keep you safe and warm. The horses are waiting. Mom.

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  2. You did it. Stand proud. Thanks for the amazing journey.
    I can remember many moons ago talking about the AT with Mike, Gabe and you. We talked and you did it.

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    1. Frank, thank you for following along with me the whole time. You and Rita are important people to have in my life.

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  3. You did it! On foot! The whole way! So very happy for you. Thank you for taking us along on this most amazing journey!

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    1. Haha, I think I might be a bit mad for doing it too. Thank you for reading along with me.

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  4. Very inspiring. Way to go!

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  5. I don't even know ya, butIm proud a heck of ya
    Im an AT mom & I know the struggle you faced every day
    Know that you are special for what you've accomplished
    Thank you for sharing

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    1. I couldn't have done this without the support I felt from my family, friends and everyone else on here. Thank you.

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  6. Well done,John and I think you are amazing, we are proud to be your friends. Rosamund

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  7. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your walk! -Pat, Ros' friend.

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    1. Thank you Pat for following me all this time :)

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  8. An incredible journey. Thanks for allowing us to follow along. Congratulations!

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    1. It was definitely incredible, thank you for following with me.

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  9. I don't know what to say this being your final and last blog of your "Journey North". I too, have thought about this day, where I would be what you would write about on the summit day and the final walk on this journey. My girlfriend, Rita has been following along through me reading your journals to her nightly before bedtime. Tonight she for the first time read this last journal to me and she was choked up with awe as I was. Congratulations Frenchy. I hope one day to sit on top of katahdin and see the sun rise after walking over 2100 miles from my home state to do so.

    I know you will never be the same after this, congratulations and good luck getting use to the comforts of civilization again.

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    1. Thank you Randy, you WILL one day sit on top of that beautiful mountain. I think you have a good idea of what you will encounter on the trail, now all you have to do is start.

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  10. congratulations, wonderful job, you deserve an rest. I kinda know the feeling of the morning mountain top sunrise as my sons and I were on the "Tooth of Time" 20 years ago. The battery is charged in Your Jeep when ya get back. Don

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    1. I can't thank you enough Don for letting my jeep stay with you while I was gone. Sunrise is a special time and being on a mountain was even better.

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  11. Great job Frenchy! Thanks for sharing your adventure. The question is...so now what?!

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    1. Thanks Mark for following, I can see where in the world people are logging on from and I always knew it was you when I saw Japan.

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  12. Frenchy, congratulations on reaching Katahdin! We have never met, but I have followed your blog on your AT adventure. I have read every word, watched every video, looked at every picture. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are a really good writer. You should write a book about your journey. I know, I know there are a lot of guys that do that, but you are a gifted writer and we always need good books! If you turned your blog into a book, I would buy a copy. Anyway blessings to you on your next steps in life.

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    1. Thank you Derek, who knows, maybe you are right, maybe I'll see if I can go down that road. Why not, right? I appreciate your kind words.

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  13. Congrats!!! What an accomplishment. So inspiring!!

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  14. You brought tears to my eyes with the power of your emotions! At first the rapid walking and then we could tell you just had to get there and then the final realization you were there and all it had taken and all it had promised was wrapped together in your rushing thought and feelings. Bravo! I've never seen such a video of this event with the amount of your pure humanity!

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    1. It was an amazing ending to an incredible trip. I really couldn't have imagined it any better. Thank you

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  15. Oh - i meant to ask what number hiker were you when you left Springer and what number when you reached Katadhin?

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    1. Amicalola - 212
      Harper's Ferry - 275
      Baxter - 248

      I've been hearing this has been a big year

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  16. YAY! You did it! I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing with us. You brought me to tears with your last video. Inspiring! Beautiful! Magnificent! Exciting! Incredible! Congratulations Matt!

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    1. Thank you Tammie!!! I was happy to share, I wouldn't have been able to do this without the support of others. Yay!

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  17. Here we are today at a rest area 4 hours from San Diego, CA.One week after completing your hike. Only 1 more day till we say good bye for a while. Your adventure was mine. Thank you.
    Adios, Dad.

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    1. Dennis, I have been following frenchy since Ga and have been so amazed at what a great father he has. My father would never do anything like this. I got choked up several times reading how you were there for the entire 6 months following him along. You should consider writing a book about your adventure with your son. Would be a great read for AT enthusiasts (spelling).

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  18. You are incredibly good looking.

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  19. Hey. Loved the blog! Are you going to do an "after the hike" post. Would love to hear your thoughts about the hike and about gear and such.

    Thanks!

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