Thursday, August 9, 2012

Congratulations Dad!


Congratulations on this remarkable accomplishment.  You set a goal and saw it through.  That is a most admirable quality.   You set a fine example for your children, grandchildren and all of those you meet. 

I'm honored that I was able to share a part of the AT trail with you.  During my short time on the trail, I saw in you the unshakable determination needed to go the distance.  Despite many obstacles, you showed the grit to keep going and shared with us an amazing journey. You inspire me everyday to live with passion and never quit. 

I hope to be a part of your next adventure.  Congratulations and welcome home!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

You did it!


Proud doesn't even begin to describe how we're feeling right now.  We're proud of your accomplishments and your "whatever it takes" attitude. You set a goal and did all you had to in order to reach that goal.  If that's not a life-long lesson for your children and grandchildren, I don't know what is!

Even with some minor setbacks along the way, you always kept a positive attitude about reaching your goal.  You've shown us all that no matter what, if you stay focused and positive, you can do whatever you set out to do. 

We're thankful for the friends you met along the way and that God watched over you along the way keeping you healthy and safe.  Sam is so happy to have "PapPap" home!  We've all missed you!

Congrats and love always!
Kate, Kurt, and Sam

Congrats and thank you.

Congratulations and welcome home! We are unbelievably proud.

I am so grateful I was able to hike with you for a small portion of the AT. It was fun to chat, laugh, meet your constant-companion Gator and experience the simplicity and challenges of daily life as a hiker. I will cherish that weekend always.

Thank you for teaching me so much: to be humble before nature, to be fearless, and most importantly: to just keep going.

I look forward to your next adventure!

Love always,

Congrats, Dave!


Just want you to know how very proud we all are of you for completing your hike.  You have more stamina and drive than any other 63 year old I know and some younger ones as well. Even though you had some minor setbacks you always knew you would finish.

I felt very secure knowing you had made friends like Muldoon, Late Start, Rick and Flash as well as many VERY young hikers.  Special thanks to Muldoon for taking you back up to New Hampshire AND joining you to finish the climb to Baxter Peak. 

We love you very much and couldn't be prouder!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Mountain Climbed

Just arrived home around 10 P.M tonight.  Muldoon and I camped last night in Stratton, ME and then left this morning around 8 A.M.  It was a long drive back, but I was glad to be heading home.

This past Sunday morning, Muldoon, Ruffles, another 2011 thru hiker, and I started up Katahdin Mountain around 9 o'clock.  The weather when we started was sunny and you could easily see the top of the mountain. It was fairly easy initially.  The further we climbed, the harder it got. Miles 3 and 4 were especially difficult because of large boulders and the steep incline that we encountered.

As we went up it got colder and windier which added to the difficulty.  I was glad to have Muldoon and Ruffles leading the way! As we got within a mile of the peak, the terrain flattened out and got a little easier. The sunny skies were replaced by a heavy cloud cover.  It was still windy and the temperature was dropping.

We continued on despite the weather conditions and reached Baxter Peak at 1:20 in the afternoon.  There were at least 20 hikers up there including some families.

We took some fun pictures and shared a bottle of scotch compliments of Muldoon. We spent over an hour at the top while I made phone calls and sent pictures. Afterwards we started back down the mountain.  In some ways the descent was just as hard as the climb up. It took us about 4 hours to reach the ranger station at the base of the mountain.

Needless to say, I was very tired and sore, but glad to have finished the last leg of my hike.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine has been something I've been thinking about for at least 10 years.  With my retirement in 2010, I then had the time to pursue it. Although I may never make another long distance hike, I'm glad to have started and completed this hike that began on March 7, 2011.

I'd like to thank all my blog followers, friends, family members  and fellow hikers who gave me lots of encouragement and support.  Below are some pictures of my last few days and our hike up to Mt. Katahdin.
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
-Ursula LeGuin
 Beaver Pond in the 100 Mile Wilderness

French-Canadian teenagers from Quebec City who shared their dinner with me

 Mount Katahdin in the background

 A female moose on the AT near Crawford Pond

 Mount Katahdin on a clear day (30 miles away)

 A mountain lake in the 100 Mile Wilderness

 Mt. Katahdin in the distance

 Torch and Ruffles signing in at Mt. Katahdin trailhead

 Muldoon and Torch signing in

 The weather forecast for Mt. Katahdin on August 5, 2012

 Making my way up to Baxter Peak

 Almost there!

 I think I can, I think I can!

 I did it!!
 Torch, Ruffles, and Muldoon at Baxter Peak

 Torch at the top

 Sign says:
"One pack of Ramen Noodles- $0.25
One pair of hiking poles- $69.95
One pair of hiking boots- $110.00
Climbing Mt. Katahdin on a sunny day- PRICELESS!"

(It was sunny when I started, not so much by the time I finished!)

 Torch at the summit!

 Descending the mountain top in the clouds

Rugged descent

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guess Where I Am?

Yes, I am ready to hike to the top of Katahdin (Elevation 5268 ft.) tomorrow to complete the AT!  Got to Baxter State Park today and then hitchhiked to Millinocket and am staying at an Inn here. Getting ready for the big hike to the top tomorrow morning with Muldoon.  It will take us most of the day to hike up and back.  Hoping to get some good pictures. Then I'll make my final register entry on the ranger station's front porch. I also applied for my 2000 miler certificate.

Katahdin is an Indian word which translates to "greatest mountain." From the Katahdin stream campground it is 10.4 miles to the summit and back.  There is an elevation gain of 4,000 feet in 5 miles so it won't be a "cake walk". We are hoping to get started around 7 in the morning.

I spent the past 5 days hiking 13-15 miles each day so that I would be able to hike tomorrow with Muldoon.  I feel like I'm in pretty good shape so I hopefully won't hold them back.  I'm very psyched, ready to finish and anxious to get home again.

I ended up giving some of my food away as I had more than I could eat/carry.  Tomorrow I will eat a muffin and drink cold milk in the  morning and just take lots of water and snacks in a daypack for the trip up and back.  Tomorrow night I'm hoping to have a celebratory dinner with my hiker friends.  Woohoo!

"It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves."
-Sir Edmund Hillary

Here are some photos of my journey over the past four weeks.  Enjoy!

 Torch and Muldoon at the AT trailhead in Gorham, New Hampshire (7-6-12)

 At the top of Mount Hayes, New Hampshire

 With Muldoon at Mt. Success, New Hampshire

 At the New Hampshire/Maine line

 Grouse on the trail
 Getting ready to resume my hike at Mahoosoc Notch Trail

 Ready to head off

 Speck Pond, Maine

 At the top of Baldplate Mountain (East Peak)

 With my hiker buddy, Flash

 Overlooking "Mooselookmeguntic Lake"

 North Crocker Mountain

 View from Avery Peak

 Another view from Avery Peak

 At the summit of Avery Peak

 At the 2000 mile mark!  It's actually located 10 miles to the south in the woods

View from Pleasant Pond Mountain

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Monson, ME

Arrived in Monson, ME today around noon.  The town is on Lake Hebron. Staying at the Lakeshore House Lodging & Pub.  A bunk costs $25.  I had a great cheesesteak sandwich for lunch at their pub, got cleaned up and went to do my laundry.  Jan had mailed 2 packages here so I went through all of that to see if I needed to buy anything else for the 100 Mile Wilderness.  I think I'll need 7 or 8 days of food.

There are 114 more miles to Katahdin.  So you can see that once I'm out of the wilderness I will be almost there.  Elevation here is 1,215 feet.  It looks like there aren't too many real hard climbs from here on out....until Katahdin (elevation 5,268 feet). 

Around mile 47-48 is Pemadumcook Lake.  If you sound the airhorn, a ferry will come and shuttle you to a camp where the owners offer bunks, showers, meals, and "Linda's famous one-pound burger." By then, I might be ready for a big burger after eating Ramen noodles, Spam and lots of other hiker specialties for 5 or 6 days.

Feeling real good, losing some weight but no real issues right now.  Headed out in the morning after a delicious AYCE breakfast at Shaw's for $8.  I had to call and make a reservation for it so it must be really good.

 "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungy enough to eat six."
-Yogi Berra