9/10

Had a very pleasant 17 mile walk today, through mostly flat rocky, rooty, muddy trail. We circled Nahmakanta Lake and climbed Nesuntabunt mountain where we got a 16 mile line of sight view of Katahdin.

image

How did we ever get this far? I ran into Techie who I haven’t seen since VA and met Shakespeare and talked to Headstand.

Whistle got stung eight times by bees this morning while she was peeing on their nest. Later in the day she tripped on a root and fell. I asked which one did it to her and I ripped it out of the ground. Not very good leave no trace but I avenged my friend.

We’re all having a pretty rough time with this end of trail thing. At least the hikers I’m close to are. What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? How’s it going to be? The trail has changed all of us and we’re not sure what to expect when we leave the trail. I know it’ll be okay. Everything will work out, but it’s hard not to be a little worried. The worst part is leaving the trail. This place has been my home for the part six months. It’s not something I expect anybody but a thru hiker to understand. The AT just kinda gets a hold of you.

Through all the snowstorms, ice storms, hail, freezing rain, regular rain, bugs, heat, steep climbs, treacherous trail, mugginess, cold, cold nights I still love this trail. It teaches patience and acceptance and humility. In brings people together, sometimes in the most bizarre ways. I can’t help but be sentimental. I’ve made so many life long friends on this journey. I’m going to miss them.

Whistle read me and Grim a chapter from her book tonight. She does that most nights. We’re camped on rainbow lake by the dam. We have twelve miles to Abol Bridge tomorrow which is where I’m going to stop and wait for Carpenter. I have to charge my phone so I can take pictures of the last few days of this trip. Sunshine to bed!

9/10

9/9

Got breakfast at Shaw’s this morning. The hostel has been very busy this year I heard. Queen diva was there. I met her in hot springs, nc. Ran into lentil and Pfeiffer who I haven’t seen since va.

After getting my boxes at the post office, a bunch of hikers and I drank beer and hung out at the picnic table by the lake. Hikers everywhere!

I said goodbye to carpenter for something like the third time and got on a sea plane. Yes a plane! With grim and Whistle. We sky blazed to the white house landing in the 100 mile wilderness. We covered 69 trail miles in 40 minutes. It was an incredible flight. Then we got a ride in a motor boat back to the trail head.

image

That mountain is Katahdin. The end of the trail. The famous sign is atop. This was the first time I’ve seen Katahdin. It’s huge! And overwhelming.

image

It’s hard to believe I’m almost done. I’m sad Carpenter isn’t here. I’ve hiked almost this entire trail with him. Now he’s 69 miles behind. It’s wrong that he’s not here for the last few days. I’m not going to summit without him though. I think I’ll hang out at abol camp ground until he catches up and we can hike the last sixteen miles together.

Ay. What a day. It felt good to get back on the trail. It was familiar. Planes are so fast. It’s a sensory overload. 45 miles to go. Here I come Katahdin! Only walked from Georgia to get here.

9/9

9/8

This morning I climbed Moxie Bald. I got a little emotional, realizing that this is one of the last few peaks before Katahdin.

image

I’m going to miss this life so much. The simplicity, the beauty, seeing my friends all the time. This is going to be a tough week. As I write this I hear loons in the distance and there are so, so many stars in the sky.

We got a few sprinkles of rain today, but nothing much. I forded a few rivers, fell into one and walked along the Piscataquis river for most of the day.

I walked nineteen miles to Monson, ME where I’m staying at the 100 mile wilderness hostel. It’s just before the start of the wilderness.

Carpenter is here doing some carpentry for the owner. It’s good to be reunited with him. This hostel isn’t finished quite yet. It’s a group of mini cabins with bunks.

A week ago I wanted to go home, but now I’m nervous and sad about leaving the trail. Just gotta think that it’s time for this adventure to end and another to begin.

9/8

9/7

I woke up to loons calling this morning. After a good night’s sleep on a plastic mattress, I got a hot breakfast and a shuttle to the post office and back to the trail. Hiked with grim, whistle and the hunger. Beautiful day. Climbed pleasant pond mountain, had several steam crossings, with fairly nice terrain. We played Contact and thimble while hiking.

It started to sprinkle about a mile from the shelter and we made it here just in time. It stopped for a couple hours and just started up again. This lean to is just at the southern base of moxie bald. We’re full up in the shelter tonight. Beside us four, mess, hugs, cascade, pretzel, ace and hand me down are here. Nice quiet night. I really like this group of people.

Tomorrow or Monday I’ll be in Monson, ME. That’s the last trail town before the 100 mile wilderness.

9/7

9/6

Hiked twenty plus miles today in some of the most beautiful terrain I’ve seen the entire trail. Hiked along otter creek, crossed the kennebec river in a canoe, the official way of the trail because the river is too dangerous to ford. The canoe only runs until four though so we hustled to catch it. Hill Billy Dave took whistle and I across. What a grand adventure!

image

Now hunger, grim, whistle and I are sharing a canvas tent at a brewery in caratunk. It has mattresses. Fancy. I think this place is called northern outdoors. They do guided water sports and other outdoor adventure and have cabins and tents and a restaurant. We sat in the hot tub a while, got some hot food and cold beers. Good night. Lots of other hikers here and tons of tourists. There was live music. Lots of songs we could sing along to.

We’re almost done! It’s amazing, but also kinda sad, okay a lot sad. I’m going to miss this simple life. At the same time I’m eager to go home and see my friends and family. I’m trying to enjoy the trail as much as possible and stay in the moment.

Maine has so many ponds and pine forests and roots and rocks and waterfalls. It’s gorgeous. I’ve been hearing loons all day. I’m coming back to Maine someday for sure. Great people here too. Oh what a glorious life it is as a hiker.

9/6

9/5

Oh boy, oh boy was it cold this morning and the cold wind blew most of the night. After a steep thousand footer this am, my fingers and toes warmed up. I hiked through the rest of the bigelows. The peaks were super windy and foggy. The clouds were moving fast though and I got some views.

image

Then I came upon some great trail magic at a gravel road. This is where we met up with Clever girl and dump truck who we haven’t seen since the white mountains. They flip flopped. So we spent all afternoon here with grim, whistle, the hunger and pretzel and other hikers. We ate burgers asks candy bars and cold drinks and pasta salad and chips.

Now we’re camped next to a pond and clever girl played her ukulele. She played the three little birds song for me by Bob Marley. It’s been a wonderful day. Could life get any better?

image

9/5

9/4

I got more water purification in rangeley and ran into whistle and grim in the bigelow mountains. Gorgeous climb. Mossy, rooty, rocky. Great hiking weather. The temperature dropped in the late afternoon and it was chilly, chilly. We’re at horn pond lean to (which is what the Maine appalachian club calls shelters) with button, the hunger, pretzel, the beast, messenger and hugs who I just met for the first time today. Delightful human being.

We spent the evening sitting at horn pond playing with the echo, making goofy noises, singing and shouting. It was neat to watch the wind blow across the pond making ripples.

I talked to a couple rangers at a road crossing. They were putting up a sign asking for help with the investigation of the Maine AT hiker who went missing. They’ve canvassed the entire area she was last seen, but haven’t found anything. I didn’t know her, but my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

Maine is my favorite state. It’s a lot like northern Wisconsin, except with mountains. It was really good to see old friends today. We had a lot of fun. Looking forward to more hiking and shenanigans tomorrow.

9/4