I miss everyone already. While I felt ready to be done, I’m already jealous of my friends that are still hiking. Luckily my hiker trash days are not yet over. Because I finished a few days before laura will meet me in NYC I have some time to kill. WD and I parted this morning. We traveled together to Millinocket (hitched with a past thru-hiker out of Baxter park) and stayed for a night, then shuttled to Bangor Maine last night. We relaxed, ate good food, drank champagne, and soaked in a hot tub. Exactly what I needed. Yesterday we even got in a trip to the movie theater. It was nice to have no agenda and time on our hands. My bus left this morning at the same time as his flight to Florida. Yes, I cried. So I didn’t cry at katahdin but I couldn’t hold it together saying goodbye to someone I know I’ll see again soon and be in touch with for the rest of my life.
Fortunately I have a distraction. Found out nomad is in Boston so I get to spend the next two days there with him! One last hoorah with the vanimal! Laura won’t be in the big city until the 20th so I just have to find another bus in a couple days and I’ll be good to go. Breaks up the trip nicely and I get to know yet another place in the north east. Glad I get to spend my birthday with nomad. This is the best birthday week ever.
Katahdin. Jarryd. Nomad. Boston. Laura. NYC.
So much at once!
Thank you everyone for all the support. I don’t know where I would be with out y’all but it certainly wouldn’t be on top of katahdin.
I thought summiting would feel like the end, like the last chapter in the book. But it doesn’t. It feels like just the beginning of so much more.
Words can’t express.
5.2 miles of feeling raw. Not knowing how to feel. Not knowing if I would cry or jump for joy or scream.
We walked, and scrambled, the whole way with a sobo, philos, who was just starting his journey to GA. The ranger station provides little backpacks for us to slack pack up the mountain. My first slack pack. Feels great having only 5 lbs on your back. I thought I was going to take off and fly away. Philos was so excited and wanted to summit with us so he could ask questions and learn as much as he could. Smart guy and incredibly in shape. It was also a nice way for WD and i to reflect on our hike while making the final climb.
Katahdin is a serious mountain. Had to store the trekking poles and dive in hands first. Lots of climbing and shimmering through rock squeezes. Hands on and technical. Philos was a trouper to keep up with us. It’s a straight shot up then a long rocky ridge line to the top.
Then you see the sign. The sign! It’s just a sign, but it has meant so much. It means everything. All that I have worked for is represented in that sign. People were there, day hikers, sobos, tourists, but we just walked right over and laid our hands on that sign like we were the only ones there. A moment of glory that felt so tremendous.
We couldn’t stop smiling.
No crying, no screaming, just pure joy and smiling.
Morning of hand made four leaf clover
I’ve been carrying these socks for over a month. Only use: summiting katahdin.
Breakfast of champions.
I feel so very lucky to have started with an amazing hiking partner who showed me everything I needed to know to complete this trail, and lucky to have found another good friend to finish with. Wish Alex were here with me right now, but he will soon finish his journey and I can’t wait to see him in NC.
Witch doctor has been totally in tune with me the past few weeks, and I’m glad we were on the same page for the end of this hike. We both wanted a finish push. A final hoorah. A big dose of wildness, adventure, and physical challenge before returning to the “real” world. The last three days on trail were.. exactly the way I wanted them. Exhilarating, difficult, and surreal.
There is the “100 mile wilderness” followed by 10 miles in Baxter state park, then 5.2 miles to the summit of katahdin. So we hiked 25, 25, 30, 30, then 5.2 on the 16th.
So we busted out the wilderness in 4 and got to camp at the base of the mountain which was important to me. It was incredible. The miles on the second half of the wilderness are very flat (in exchange for bugs) so we could crank out miles and have time for the fun stuff. I took many sunny spot naps and swam in many warm Maine lakes. And really, we were lucky to have virtually no mud, and our deet kept the mosquitoes at bay for the most part. I mean.. I have 100 ish bites, but I saw people with 500+.
We set up our tents at “the birches” and slept like rocks after those two long days. Even though we could sleep-in in the morning we both knew we would be to jittery with excitement for katahdin.
Keeping phone off to save battery for the big summit. But, turned it on for photo of swimming at the lake, and I have 1G! I’ll summit the 16th.
That my friends, is katahdin.
Slept on trail, so scurried this morning to get up and move everything before anyone showed up. We hung out in monson for 5 or so hours but wanted to get out of town for the sake of having an early start in the morning. So camp was .5 into the wilderness. Had a really nice day. Don’t want to curse it, but it hasn’t been at all like what I was imagining it to be. Very little mud, not bad bugs yet, and I even napped by a river in the sun bug bite free. We got lucky. Dry and warm. I thought it was going to be a swampy mud hole. It might be next week, and I know it was last week. Thank you mother nature!
I know the last half of the 100 will be swampier but I feel lucky to hit good weather for the first half.
Watched a beautiful sunset from the top of a mountain (if you can call it that) and set up camp a little before chair back gap lean to. On trail again.. it is actually more LNT to camp on trail than make your own site, and there was no camping at the shelter.
Don’t worry. We have 5 days of food.
And sobos are still nice and fleshy.
I might have service, I might not, but I’ll keep you posted as I can!
Sub 115. Over’n’out.
Oh one more story. I was avoiding it, but I have to tell it. I’m a horrible story teller so bare with me.
Witch doctor and I are walking, right? Up a mountain. Go figure. And we’re just trucking a long, I’m minding my own business… when.. BAM! WD stops walking and I walk right into him. But it gets better. In his side pocket he carries a bottle. Now, for those who don’t know I have a history of cutting my forehead. It is pretty big, so it makes sense. But this wasn’t just an ordinary bottle. It was his pee bottle. So there it is. I told the blog the story. I cut my forehead on a pee bottle. I hope my grand children get to hear that story some day.
Camped at moxie pond, on the north side of the mountain. Going into out last resupply tomorrow. Eeks!
More 2000 markers
Trail dangers. One could see why I might run into trees.
At the beach!
Walked off trail to Harrison’s place. He cooks a famous red white and blue12 pancake breakfast. Coffee milk and tea. Perfect for the hikers.
Last man paddled ferry in the US. White blaze in canoe. Official trail.
Got to hear great stories about the young man who drowned last year at Peirce pond. Remarkable guy.
Left off after a long day in the whites at mizpah hut.
Weather report calling for storms in the afternoon and high wind all day. I personally didn’t realize what the high wind advisory really meant. Figured we weren’t going to climb Washington even with a chance of lightening, but the wind I was surprised by. Obviously the wind is serious there, but I guess you don’t know the true power of wind until you’re in the middle of it.
Witch doctor and I made it 4.8 to lake of the clouds, shortly followed by big brother and little brother who we met at mizpah. (They started Feb 1.. been seeing their names in logs for a while).
50 mile per hour sustained winds was no joke. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. You can’t hear a thing so we were screaming at the top of our lungs and one wrong step that lacks concentration and purpose means you’re getting blown over. It took so much focus to walk less than 5 miles! I would be playing the game of laying into the wind to stand up straight, and the wind would break for less than a second and I would instantly fall. I was happy to hear the croo (yes that’s how they spell it) tell us they were making us do a work for stay and they wouldn’t let us climb the 1.3 to the summit. So we stayed, cleaned fridges, chatted with hut occupants, and had way to much fun. The brothers are a handful. Big bro… who is indeed the big brother, has a large personality. He also started the trail around 310 lbs and has now lost over 80 lbs. Inspiring! He got some whiskey from a guy in the crew, and decided he wanted some ice for it. There is a hiker dungeon that is for emergencies with 6 bunks… and a giant block of ice currently occupying it. We are talking the entire floor has a solid 2 feet of ice on it. So big bro finds a hammer, walks around the building to the dungeon, and chips away some ice for his whiskey drink. He’s definitely the class clown. Loved hanging out with those two. Just how my sister and I feed off each other, their humor fed off each other.
, I’ll finish the whites soon!
Big climb out of town, as usual. Lew-ellyn from the B&B drove us back to trail after a nice breakfast, second breakfast at the diner, the post office, and her pies were done in the oven. She is a writer, ski instructor, B&B owner, and pie baker. She had 55 pies last week and she is trying to pump out 16 just today. Uses only the freshest ingredients from, of course, her giant garden in the back. She sent us to trail with a zucchini chocolate chip bread. Pretty cool lady who has crafted an interesting, entertaining, and busy life. I don’t think she gets bored.
Sent home all clothes but what is on my back, my stove and pot, my knife, and my camelbak. Things I can live without, and things I can’t take on a plane with me. Also, I mentioned a sore throat the other day.. found mold in my drinking hose. Hoping that sending this home will be my solution. I’m tired of feeling sickish!
Saw the worlds neatest cloud formation. Is it getting old when I say this? Maine has excellent views!!!!
What time is it? Katadhin time! Checking my watch is a habit I only break when I don’t wear my watch. But this is more fun. Makes me smile every time I time check.
Not much but hiking happened today. The main bit of excitement actually happened at the end of the day, and excitement is the wrong word. It was more frustration and disgust. Someone did a pack dump. Normally we simply can’t do anything about it. Had it been the 100 mile wilderness we would have just kept walking. However, we were 4 miles from town and it was all downhill. So, because of someone’s stupidity we each carried an extra 10 lbs on our backs rather than the earned and well deserved light pack walk into town with empty food bags. And my knees were not happy about. Olive oil. Molasses. Salt and pepper shaker. Snuff. Jeans. Other pants. Boxers. Long sleeve. Advil. Food bags. Giant tarp. Small tarp. Rope. Arg.
Hiked a little over 20 into the cute town of Stratton. Not much happening here but we got lucky and ran into the right lady. Hotels motels and hostels were all 5 miles up the road in town from the trail. Got a hitch with a beautiful woman who happened to own a B&B right in town and it was remarkably well priced. 10 more bucks than the hostel. Oh yes.
Maine continues to be breathtaking. Muddy, but every uphill leads to a fantastic view. Makes it worth our time every time.