Katahdin – The End

Day 170
August 19, 2014
The Birches to Summit Mount Katahdin
Mileage: 5.2 Miles

What an ending this journey! I woke up at 5:00AM and felt like I had been run over by a truck. There is no way I could eat anything. Thank God another hiker named Zoo Man gave me two Pepto Bismal tablets. I had to drive with Happy Fella to pick up Deep Blue back at Abol Bridge. I was thinking it would have been better to hike back to pick up Blue then to take a ride down that bumpy road.

We picked up Blue and came back to the base of the mountain where I had camped and got sick, the night prior. I was very unsure that I would be able to complete the climb to the top. The good news was that it was a bright, sunny morning with gentle breezes which were very comfortable for hiking. Even though I was feeling drained of energy and sick, I was going for it!

Having lived my entire life in New England, I have had many invites to climb this amazing mountain. I always declined knowing that Katahdin would be the finale of my thru-hike. I am so glad that I did it this way. The country in Baxter State Park is a perfect place to end such awesome journey.

The early part of the hike was slow going. I was glad the hiking beneath treeline was not very strenuous. We hiked by a crystal clear stream called Katahdin Springs. The water was delicious. Once I got above treelike, the hike became a bit more challenging. Hiking up over and around large boulders all the way up to the table. There were two false summits and once I got to the table of the mountain, it was another 1.5 miles of easy hiking to the summit. I felt a lot better once I got to this point.

When I reached the summit with Deep Blue, there was a full scale celebration going on. People were capturing the epic day with pictures, drinks were flowing and everyone was celebrating. It was such a surreal day with this being my last climb of many over the past 5+ months. I tried to look at it as just the beginning of something new. I know that much of what I will take with me from this time on the AT happened somewhere in the middle of the two termini. Standing on top of Katahdin gave me a strong feeling of completion which, for the first time felt very real to me.

I spent much time with thru-hikers on the summit, knowing that I would not see many of then ever again. I took the obligatory pictures and eventually made my way down the mountain with Deep Blue. I have mixed emotions about my hike being over. I am thrilled to be going home to my family and prospects of a career. I am proud of myself for doing exactly what I set out to do on this thru-hike and hiked past every white blaze. I am sad that I have to leave behind the everyday adventures that the trail brought to my life. I hope that I can bring these adventures and make them a part of my everyday life. I will miss the trail, but I remain grateful for the fun times, great friends and unique experiences that I got only by getting out there and hiking the trail.

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The Golden Road to Katahdin

Day 169
August 18, 2014
Rainbow Stream to The Birches
Mileage: 24.9 Miles

This was my last day in the 100 MW which ended at the Golden Road at Abol Bridge. The morning started out with light rain which burnt off as the day went on. I was on the trail at 6:00 AM with Deep Blue. We were going to be meeting my old friend, Happy Fella who drove up from NY to summit Katahdin with me.

We climbed some smaller peaks and found lots of wild Maine blueberries. It was starting to feel very real that my journey would be over soon. At the Hurd Brook shelter, I looked at the register to see what friends had written. It was nice to see how reflective my friends were about their experiences. It was so nice to see what my old friend Live-and-learn wrote. Yo witness how the trail changed us as people was becoming more apparent to me.

Happy Fella was impatient, so he actually hiked into the 100 MW and surprised us. When we left the wilderness, we had lunch at Abol Bridge. I was starving and had a cheeseburger and some clam chowder. I also downed a lot of Gatorade. I wanted to have plenty of fuel for tomorrow’s climb.

I was 15 miles into my day and I had another 10 to get me to the base of Katahdin. Deep Blue was spending the night at Abol Bridge Campsite. He had to go into Millinocket for a package. Happy Fella was driving over to the Birches to meet me there.

The sun was out and I caught many glimpses of Katahdin. I hiked along the Penobscot River and tributaries. I recorded the last of many waterfall alerts for Ella and Quinn. I wished that I could call them to let them know that I was entering the green square on the map that is known as Baxter State Park where Katahdin is located. I had no signal and the weather for the next mornjng was supposed to be perfect! I had to get this done.

I ate a Mountain House Mac and cheese for dinner and set up my tent when I got to the Birches. I prepared what I needed for the next morning. I would be leaving at 5:00 to go with Happy Fella to pick up Deep Blue so we could all summit together.

I went to bed around 8:00. I woke up around 9:00 feeling sick. I actually vomited around 11:00. I was sick as a dog and only had 6 hours until I was to start my climb up Katahdin. Not the type of ending I wanted to this day. I was feeling very unsure of my abilities for the next morning.

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Hundred Mile Wilderness – Day Five

Day 168
August 17, 2014
Potywadjo Spring to Rainbow Stream
Mileage: 18.2 Miles

Another rainy day in the 100 MW. It was a fun day though. Deep Blue and I hiked together and passed many nice lakes. We stopped to catch some trout along the way.

Deep Blue and I stopped during the morning at a opening on a river and there stood a magnificent bull moose. We stopped, took pictures, ate snacks and even tried calling the moose over to us. He just stood there for about a half an hour.

At one of the lake, an ATV club was having a cookout. We scored some hot dogs and a cupcake. Later that day, someone found there way 20 miles in on a dirt logging road to provide trail magic. A 2012 thru hiker brought large variety of drinks and candy bars. Trail magic twice in one day in the middle of nowhere – unbelievable!

After all the trail magic, Deep Blue and found a canoe one of the nearby lakes. We took it out half way across the lake until we realized we were taking on lots of water. We made it back safely. Too fun!

The rain ended at the end of the day and I tented at Rainbow Stream. I ate my dinner with Deep Blue, One-a-day, Nemo, Ginger and Gilligan. I will miss days like these when I am done with the trail.

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Hundred Mile Wilderness – Day Four

Day 167
August 16, 2014
Logan Brook Lean To to Potywadjo Spring
Mileage: 23.1 Miles

Today was a big day. 23 miles is more than I have done recently, especial am with the condition of my left foot and right knee. Both feet were actually showing signs of blisters. I have been wearing wet socks everyday trough the 100 MW.

At least today flattened out. There was only one big mountain left in about 50 miles – KATAHDIN! Luckily, it did not rain until the end of the day when I arrived at the shelter. There were no views today. I had to let yesterday’s view of Katahdin carry me through the day. I did pass a number of beautiful lakes. These lakes are so desolate with no houses or people on them. Although, there were plenty of loons. I am so glad this land is preserved for future generations to enjoy. It was a long day today but I’m getting closer. I am missing my family with no signal to communicate with them.

Hundred Mile Wilderness – Day Three

Day 166
August 15, 2014
Chairback Shelter to Logan Brook Lean To
Mileage: 17.1 Miles

The morning was actually sunny and clear which allowed for some great views over the smaller peaks of the 100 MW. Deep Blue and I took a side trail at Gulf Hagas to check out some really cool waterfalls. We wound up fishing for brook trout with the fishing pole that Deep Blue has been carrying. My friend, Deep Blue also carries an oar to go canoeing and a little beach chair for his smoke breaks.

We forded some rivers today. We have been fording a lot of rivers lately. I thought it fun to classify the fords by size and giving them names of actual Ford vehicles (Focus/Fiesta -small fords, Taurus – medium, F-350 Super Duty – big bad fords). We had some F-250s today. I also summited the last mountain over 3000 feet until Katahdin called Mount Whitecap.

The highlight of the day was seeing Katahdin in the distance from Whitecap. Just the sight of the end made my heart drop. I actually thought about this moment a lot on the trek. I thought I would go into a zombie-like state and just continue walking the next 60+ miles until I arrived at the summit of Big K. Luckily, I did not. I was trying to really enjoy the fleeting last few days on the trail and to reflect on the time spent out here.

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Hundred Mile Wilderness – Day Two

Day 165
August 14, 2014
Long Pond Stream to Chairback Shelter
Mileage: 11.7 Miles

Poured out all day today. There was rain and lots of it. It was a good thing that I got the river fords out of the way yesterday. A fair amount of climbing today. I wound up hiking a shorter day today due to the rain.

This was not the way I wanted to start off the 100 mile wilderness. Rain soaks your gear and makes everything heavier. Oh well. I would settle for rain everyday in the wilderness for a sunny day on Katahdin. It actually cleared up after I arrived at the Chairback Shelter. I had a good dinner and I slept great!

Hundred Mile Wilderness – Day One

Day 164
August 13, 2014
Monson to Long Pond Stream
Mileage: 15.1 Miles

Started the hundred mile wilderness today. I saw some great waterfalls today. I also saw a dead moose near one of the three river fords that I had to go over. I also ran into an old friend, Deep Blue. I was so psyched to bump into him. He has been dragging his feet. He is now carrying a paddle and a fishing pole. I hope to hike with him through the wilderness. It started pouring later on the day. It is supposed to be a really big storm. I am hoping that it will not affect the rivers that I need to ford.

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