Archive for the ‘Appalachian Trail’ Category

Cold Nights

Monday, September 17th, 2012

9/16/12 – 2064 miles
It was another good day of hiking. The temperature last night went down to 40 degrees and there is definitely a feeling of fall in the air. It was almost noon before we took our outermost layer of clothing off. The trail was relatively flat today except for a 1300 ft. climb over Moxie Bald Mountain. They name a lot of things bald in this state, which I take exception to.

N had a debate with Gip-C-Girl about the view on top of the mountain. N thinks we saw Katahdin from the top and Gip-C-Girl says no way. I am remaining neutral. The air is so clear from the cold front we could see an amazingly long way.

The trail followed the Piscataquis River for several miles today. It was so pretty along the water that we remarked how nice it would be to day-hike this section and stop at the scenic places along the river. There were two fords, the east and west branch, but the water was never higher than our knees.

Tonight we are camped in a pine forest six miles from Monson, ME. Tomorrow we will hit town early for breakfast and then check into a room for the night. We originally planned to zero in Monson but we should be able to get everything done by evening. The next section is the 100 mile wilderness which will take more planning and endurance to complete.

Summit Dreams

Monday, September 17th, 2012

9/15/12 – 2047 miles
I am camped tonight at Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to. We were a little late getting to the trail this morning, everyone thought it was a good idea to eat a good breakfast before setting out on our next section. We plan on three days to reach Monson and then we will take our last zero there.

The hiking today went well. Based on the miles we have been doing, our best guess for reaching Katahdin is on the 26th or 27th of this month. There are too many variables for me to guess at this time, but if all goes well it will be close to then.

Past Tragedy

Monday, September 17th, 2012

9/14/12 – 2033 miles
We arrived in Caratunk, ME, today at 3 pm. It was nice trail for most of the way to town, although we still have to watch our step over the many roots that reach up to trip us.

We stopped for a brief time at Pierce Pond Lean-to to pay our respects to a young thruhiker who died there earlier this year. The hiker, by the name of Parkside, went out swimming after hiking all day, was stricken with leg cramps, and drowned before anyone could reach him. It is a nice shelter beside a beautiful lake, but haunting to think of the sad event that took place there.

The Kennebec River lays just before US 201, the road into Caratunk, and is also the site of a tragic drowning some years ago. Thruhikers used to ford the river until one day the plant that sits above the crossing spot released water, raising the level several feet, and overcoming a thruhiker trying to cross. Now there is a man with a canoe that ferries hikers across the river for free.

Birthday Surprise

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

9/13/12 – 2022 miles
Yesterday was one of those initiation back to full pack days. I was way overstocked on food. I think I was still a little paranoid from almost running out on our last section. We are planning on three easy days into Katatunk so food should.not be a problem.

We hiked ten miles to a campsite called Safford Notch and called it a day. Even though it was only 3:30 when we made the campground, everyone was tired and ready to stop. We had climbed a couple of prominent peaks in the Bigelow Range that were quite challenging.

It was kind of nice to have extra time to set up camp. Usually, we are running out of daylight as the days get shorter and we find ourselves fixing dinner with the light of our headlamps. We actually had time to sit and rest before dinner.

After we ate I was surprised by Kleenex as she brought out a chocolate chip muffin while holding her lighter beside it. They all sang happy birthday to me and I blew out her lighter while secretly making a wish. Kleenex had packed muffins for everyone – not easy and very generous of her – and we all enjoyed a nice treat. It was very special and a birthday I will always remember.

Tonight we are camped by Carry Pond. We met a nice man by the name of Jerry Chase that offered us a spot to pitch our tents by a boat launch. Not only did he find us a place to stay, he also brought drinks and goodies for us to eat. This lake is very beautiful, as is all of Maine, and we listened to Loons as we ate our dinner

Stratton, ME

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

9/11/12 – 1996 miles
We had planned on four days to get to Stratton but a rough day getting over Bemis Mountain put us behind on our planned schedule. We ended up camping near ME17 the first night, Piazza Pond Lean-to the second night, and by Orbeton Stream on the third. All of us were low on food, especially me, leaving the prospect of rationing what I had to stretch for one more day, or finding a way to get to town early. Kleenex noticed there was a gravel road ten miles before the main road into Stratton and X called Susan to make arrangements for an early pickup.

Kleenex fording

Kleenex fording

Today we slackpacked the rest of the miles we missed and are back in Stratton at the motel. I was thinking today of the transition we will have to make when we get back to normal society. It is common for us to blow snot-rockets, belch, pass gas in mixed company, and cough up lugies anytime we want. The girls still walk out of site to pee but us guys will stop on the trail and tell the girls to keep walking. A couple of times I’ve come upon a girl with her pants down and I have been caught by females coming up the trail. It’s all part of the life we live in the woods, quite different from the accepted norm, and something we have gotten use to.

The next stop will be Caratunk and then Monson(I love saying those names). Tomorrow we go over Bigelow Mountain and them the terrain should get easier. We are really getting into the wilderness of Maine, with few towns and roads, and of course poor cell signal.