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Personal Wellness Stories - Don K.

Don Kniseley
Executive Director of Thornton Oaks Retirement Community

I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking as a great way to exercise. I am part of a group of like-minded singles that share this passion. This past summer, we had a goal of hiking Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, the highest mountain in Maine at 5,270 feet. To prepare for our Katahdin trip in late August, the group hiked Pleasant Mountain in April, Tumbledown in May, and Chocorua in early August.

To begin our trip, we dined at the Appalachian Trail Café in Millinocket where through hikers sign the ceiling tiles. We then set up base camp at Roaring Brook campground. At 7:00 a.m. the morning of the hike, it was pouring rain. Although disappointing, our group of seven started out with a goal of hiking at least to Chimney Pond. It continued to rain on and off for the rest of the day. After a rest at the pond, the group decided to take the Saddle Trail and try for the peak. We reached Baxter Peak at 1:30 in the afternoon… umbrellas and all! Unfortunately, there were no great views, but lots of great camaraderie.

This was my second trip up Katahdin and I hope to complete another 4,000 footer this year with this group. Having a group that shares my interests is a great motivator to get outside and enjoy our great Maine landscape. Always make sure to be ready for any weather as we did. At times, as long as you are safe… the journey can be as good as reaching the top for a view…carpe diem!

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