Ahk's World



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This page documents a journey of personal growth. A long time ago I had the idea to climb the mountains of Maine to prove to myself I was capable of achieving great things, and learned that the only thing holding me down was my own self-loathing. This journey is documented below in chronological order, with my initial remarks about each climb preserved as they were.

(Does this sound like the plot of Celeste? Believe it or not, the 2018 season happened before I had even heard of it! And I even learned I was trans! Go figure!)

Bauneg Beg
Climbed June 21st, 2018
Altitude: 820ft
"This place isn't very impressive, but that's okay. The beginnings never are."

Douglas Mountain
Climbed June 30th, 2018
Altitude: 1,381ft
"Time to gain some extra altitude."

Climbed July 14th, 2018
Altitude: 1,960ft
"This place is overcrowded. I came here to escape from society, not to find it..."

Tumbledown/Jackson 1
Climbed July 20th, 2018
Altitude: 2,854ft
"My enemy is fear. And today, fear has won."

Mount Abraham
Climbed July 31st, 2018
Altitude: 4,050ft
"A mountain of revelations. A gift of the internal compass."

Tumbledown/Jackson 2
Climbed August 10th, 2018
Altitude: 3,455ft
"Through my trials and travels, the Mountain has now found me worthy."

Climbed August 23rd, 2018
Altitude: 4,145ft
"The Mountain of my dreams. It's so good to finally get to meet you. Thank you for inspiring me to embark on this magical journey of mine."

Intermission 2019-2021

Bauneg Beg
Climbed June 5th, 2022
Altitude: 860ft
"It feels so good to be back. Time to find your true summit."

Douglas Mountain
Climbed June 11th, 2022
Altitude: 1,381ft
"Let's blaze my own trail."

Climbed June 16th, 2022
Altitude: 1,981ft
"Life off the trail is cruel and unforgiving. If I desire comfort then I must accept the people that surround me. That is the Mountain's lesson I had failed to learn."

Tumbledown/Jackson 1
Climbed June 27th, 2022
Altitude: 3,291ft
"I almost died of heatstroke here. This Mountain challenges me like no other, never letting me get up on my first try."

Tumbledown/Jackson 2
Climbed July 3rd, 2022
Altitude: 3,455ft
"A reward for perseverance. A restoration of the internal compass."

Old Speck
Climbed July 10th, 2022
Altitude: 4,170ft
"How funny, a pilot and mountain climber who is afraid of heights. Why do I so eagerly seek out my own fears?"

Mount Abraham
Climbed August 3rd, 2022
Altitude: 4,050ft
"I'm beginning to understand the majesty of Nature's endless cycles. I don't understand how I can find beauty in something so endlessly cruel."

Climbed August 10th, 2022
Altitude: 4,145ft
"This climb was absolute misery. I injured my car and chose to climb in terrible weather, and the Mountain made sure to punish me for it. And yet, I think this is exactly what needed to happen."

Pamola Peak, Katahdin
Climbed August 21st, 2022
Altitude: 4,902ft
"This Mountain was absolutely terrifying. I'm very lucky I found a group to climb with, it helped dampen the fear. My plan was to take the Knife's Edge route to the main peak, but I took one look at it and refused. I'm not capable of this. This Mountain is unlike anything I've seen before. And I'm in love with it."

A word from Pamola...

"I do not live to smite the innocent. I live to test the strength and wisdom to those who seek the challenge, and to teach these virtues to those willing to listen. By recognizing your limits and choosing to let go - by adapting yourself to the challenges you face - you have demonstrated that you already possess the seedlings of wisdom and strength within you. Nurture them, whether you be on the ridge or at home.

Thank you for your will to listen. I look forward to seeing you again when your body and mind are stronger."

Intermission 2023

Bauneg Beg
Climbed February 26th, 2024
Altitude: 860ft
"Hello old friend. Let's get ready for this eclipse."

Douglas Mountain
Climbed March 5th, 2024
Altitude: 1,381ft
"You could say my head is in the clouds!"

Mount Blue
Climbed March 13th, 2024
Altitude: 1,465ft

"Turns out many of the dirt roads here are left unplowed in winter. Borestone was inaccessible, so I figured I'd try out Mount Blue instead. Unfortunately this road was also closed. So I chose to hike it all the way to the trailhead. What followed was nine miles of trudging through fresh snow without snowshoes. When I reached the trailhead it was so late I had to turn around.

As I was walking back, tired and aching all over, I asked myself: "Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep pushing myself to my breaking point when the whole point is to be having fun?"

That's when I realized that I wasn't climbing these mountains because I wanted to, but because I felt like I had to. That I had to reach the summit to prove to myself I was capable of accomplishing things, and anything less was failure - and failure was unacceptable. But that's not the point at all! I don't have to do this if I don't like it! It's okay to be bad at things and have limits! Everyone does!

So you know what? I'm going to apply this realization. I'm only going to climb if I want to! Maybe I'll even throw in the towel, we'll see."

Climbed April 8th, 2024
Altitude: 676ft

"So I was thinking that maybe I could climb Old Speck to get my feet under me and then go for Bigelow, but I just wasn't feeling up for it. Then a snowstorm blew through a few days before the eclipse, ensuring that Bigelow would be covered in feet of snow. Climbing was not going to be an option.

Then I thought that I could ride the chairlift up to the top of Sugarloaf, then I could watch the eclipse from up high without spending the energy to get up there. I bought a ticket and everything, but as the day approached it became ever more apparent that thousands and thousands of others had the same idea. I didn't want to be alone in a sea of strangers again, not during a moment like this.

Fortunately, my grandparents live inside the path of totality. I could watch it from the ground with them! I wouldn't have to torment myself to get up high, and I could be in the company of some of my favorite people in the world. All we would have to do is carry some chairs a few minutes down the road.

And the view was absolutely perfect. We had a great view of Mount Abraham covered in snow, with Sugarloaf off to the right and Mount Blue to the left, with a flaming hole in the sky above us.

My grandparents and I were too busy being starstruck by totality to take any pictures, so instead I painted what we saw. Mount Abraham is at center and to the left is Mount Blue. In reality it was about 60 degrees farther left than it is here, but I thought putting it in frame would be nice and symbolic."