Monday, August 18, 2014

The Summit

On the 12th I did 16.4 miles and camped at the Barren Ledges. On the 13th I did 21.3 miles and camped at the Sydney Tappan campsite. On the 14th I did 17.1 miles and stayed at Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to. On the 15th I did 23.4 miles and camped on top of Nesuntabunt Mountain. On the 16th I did 21.2 miles and stayed at Abol Bridge. On the 17th I did 9.9 miles to Katahdin Stream campground. On the 18th I did 5.2 miles and summited Katahdin!

Well, since the obvious big thing this post is that I summited here are a group and solo summit photo.

As you can tell I was mildly excited despite the less then fantastic weather. The hike up was extremely cloudy, foggy and windy but it didn't start raining until the way down. Then it rained and sleeted a bit just to get the point across that the weather could of been better. Despite that it was a fun summit. There was general excitement to not have to hike anymore but also most of us were sad that it was all over. Now a bit about the last week even though that information seems a bit insignificant at this point.

The 100 mile wilderness lived up to what is expected of it. It rained everyday and the trail was extremely muddy. Anywhere the trail wasn't muddy it was just covered in slick, wet roots. Even the bog bridges that are supposed to be there to help are so slippery they are actually the most dangerous part of the trail. Here is a little example of what the trail looks like.

Some of the days it just sprinkled on us a bit and that wasn't too bad. This did not hold true for the night of the 13th into the next day. During that 24 hour period Baxter State Park received 7 inches of rain. While the majority of this came down at night so it wasn't absolutely terrible, it did rain consistently the whole next day. This meant that the trail was very flooded with water, most things I owned were at best damp and the streams I had to ford were running a bit deep. Many of the bog bridges that are designed to keep you out of puddles and mud were roughly a foot under water that day. Here is Doctor Zoom fording a stream behind me, it's probably not the safest thing ever.

Eventually it wasn't raining and I even sort of got a view of the mountain I was about to climb. Still a bit cloud covered though.

All in all the 100 miles was enjoyable. I like the feeling of remote Maine woods. The moss covered boulders strewn through the woods just make me feel at home yet also like I am hiking through something from a previous time. It would have been better with less water everywhere but you can't get everything. By the end my feet were in the worst shape of the entire trail but I was still smiling.

Now I guess it's time to go back to a world most people live in all the time. It feels like I have to plug back into the matrix. I have no idea on some basic things like where I'm going to live. The concept of the amount of space in an apartment seems completely ridiculous. Everything I need fits in a backpack, why would I need more then a small room? Even then where exactly do I want to live? These are questions I don't even have an idea of an answer. I guess I kind of have to come up with something soon.

I am also thinking about what my next adventure or big "thing" will be. Should it be another long distance hike? Should I try and design and build a small house somewhere? Should I focus on job related things (weird)? These are again questions I haven't answered yet. I don't think I'm done with long distance hikes but I don't know if I want my next thing to be one or if I want to mix it up. I guess all I know is I have to go back to work in the relatively near future and in the worst case scenario a "house" that I am very comfortable in can be carried on my back. Everything else might just fall into place. Or not, who knows? Not me and that's just fine.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Relaxing in Maine

On the 4th I did 8.1 miles and stayed at Avery Memorial Campsite. On the 5th I did 9.8 miles and stayed at Flagstaff Lake campsite. On the 6th I did 15.1 miles and stayed at Pierce Pond Lean-to. On the 7th I did 9.7 miles and stayed at Pleasant Pond Lean-to. On the 8th I did 13.1 miles and stayed at Moxie Bald Mountain Lean-to. On the 9th I did 17.9 miles and stayed at the LakeHouse hostel in Monson. On the 10th and the 11th I zeroed at the hostel cause it was nice.

So this section is defined by going nice and slow and just enjoying the trail. There are a plethora of lakes and ponds throughout these miles and I have enjoyed taking breaks at them everyday. The only thing that could improve this section is the fact it rains absolutely everyday.

The peaks of Bigelow were amazing as usual and Avery Memorial campsite remains one of my favorites on the entire trail. It is at a very high elevation for New England and the air just feels different. The views from the top weren't bad either.

Going up Bigelow there was a sign on a tree that felt pretty good to see. I can imagine it being a completely different experience for the southbounders.

Here are some other random shots from the past week.

Guess which direction I was heading. As a hint I got a bit wet before stopping.

I've fully resupplied for the 100 mile wilderness. This is what food for six days looks like for me.

There are only 114 miles left of the trail. It will probably take me seven days to finish it off. That isn't going to be too tough, but it is a bit more miles then this last week. So I don't have to carry more food I guess I'll actually hike more seriously for the next few days. I've been thinking a lot about doing another long distance hike in the coming years. If I can make it work I would love to do the Te Araroa but I think it is a bit more feasible to do the PCT which I also want to do. Long distance hiking is a ton of fun and if nothing else comes up in life I could definitely see me doing another trail.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


On the 26th I did 9.3 miles and stayed at Sawyer Brook campsite. On the 27th I did 2.6 miles and went back home. I did zero miles on the 28th and 29th at home. On the 30th I did 12.2 miles and camped near Bemis Stream. On the 31st I did 16 miles and stayed at Piazza Rock shelter. On the 1st I did 16.9 miles and stayed at Spaulding Mountain shelter. On the 2nd I did 13.5 miles and stayed at the White Wolf Inn in Stratton. On the 3rd I zeroed at the Inn.

This was an interesting section for me. It started with a friend meeting up with me to hike. Knee issues cut that short after two days and I used that opportunity to go home for a few days. It allowed me to rest a little, dodge some thunderstorms and allow people to catch me. The other big event was me getting sick for the first time on trail.

On the morning of the 2nd I felt terrible but slowly hiked out of camp. It took me four hours to do 3ish miles and the terrain wasn't that tough. Slowly I started to feel better and pushed into town. I felt great that evening, everything seemed normal. At 2am I found out that was not the case. By 8am I wasn't constintently vomiting anymore and slept most of the day. My whole body hurt and I felt like death but luckily I was in town where I had running water and amenities to make my horrid illness less awful.

By the evening of the 3rd I am feeling better and hope to leave town tomorrow. I'm really hoping that last night isn't repeated tonight since I felt good yesterday evening too. On top of my body making me wish for the sweet release of death I also lost my shirt on the way into town. It had made it 1990 miles and I always had it strapped on the outside of my pack but I think it got snagged on a tree. I was hoping that one tshirt was going to last the whole trail. Basically the last 24 hours have sucked.

I guess I should post a photo or two. I am taking fewer and fewer photos as the hike goes on so the selection for the blog is getting a bit scarce.

There are 188.2 miles of trail left and I'm only three miles from the 2000 mile mark. Assuming I leave town tomorrow I'll be doing the last 4000 foot peak before Katahdin. It continues to feel strange how close it is to over. I had thought that since this was my second hike it would be less jarring to think about the end of the trail but in many ways it is more. When you add up both trips I've spent almost a year living in my tent in the woods. The thought of always being restricted by walls isn't overly appealing. I'm sure I'll get used to it once again though.