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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Making Progress

Down to 177 miles to Katahdin as of today!  I have my second week under my belt and am making much better progress.  I think the first 100 miles in Maine is some of the toughest hiking on the AT including the White Mountains in NH. 

I slackpacked today with Flash through the Bigelow Mountain range, known as Maine's "Second Mountain."  We started out early around 6:30 A.M. and hiked about 11 miles. Tonight I'm staying in Stratton, ME at the Stratton Motel & Hostel. The owner will give us a ride back closer to the trail tomorrow morning. It was great to be able to eat some good food for dinner!

Temperatures have been mostly in the 90s during the day, but it cools down at night.  One rainy night this past week I got so cold that I put on every piece of clothing I had, my hood to my rain jacket was up, and I covered my head with my tarp!

I've seen a lot of grouse and toads, but no moose.  Lots of moose tracks and other signs of moose, though! 

Some of the southbounders were telling us about some of the areas where you need to ford the water.  At times it's up to your waist and sometimes it's around your ankles. They say it can be very dangerous.

Still hoping to finish around Aug. 8th, if not before! 

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-three today and we don’t know where the hell she is.”
-Ellen DeGeneres

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Slow but Sure

Moving slowly this week.  I've been on the trail a week now and it's a slow go.  I had a couple days off the trail due to some kind of sickness.  Don't know if I got some bad water, something I ate, or exhaustion....but spent a couple days this week off the trail.  I had a terrible upset stomach and no energy at all.  Muldoon was still up here and he recommended I stay off the trail another day.  Good suggestion!

Hiked the past couple days and am feeling much better.  I made it through the Mahoosuc Notch on Tuesday and then stayed at the Speck Pond Shelter.  I talked with Mimi, a hiker and caretaker at the Campsite. There is good water there.
I only hiked 7 or 8 miles yesterday and stayed at the Baldgate Lean-to last night (264.5 miles from Katahdin). Today I hiked about 7 miles and got off to stay at the Pine Ellis Hostel tonight in Andover.  Just had dinner with some other hikers and Flash, a 71 year old hiker, from Knox County, Ohio.  He completed a thru-hike in 2001 and is now section hiking. I'm doing laundry and getting my things together for tomorrow.(Mile 256.5 from Katahdin)

Tomorrow I am slack packing.  I have a package waiting for me at the post office in Andover, but I think I might send it forward to Stratton.  I'm really going to try to get my pack lighter.  My legs and feet feel good, but my heavy pack slows me down.  I was talking to some southbounders and they say once I make it through the 100-Mile Wilderness it gets easier for a while.  Only time and miles will tell!

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship."
-William Blake

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Can't Beat Father Time

Crossed into Maine from New Hampshire around 3 o'clock today.  I'm at about mile 1901 with about 279 miles to Katahdin.  It's 8:30 P.M. and I'm tired and leg weary. 

I'm in a valley between Mt. Carlo and Goose Eye Mountain about 2 or so miles inside Maine.  Muldoon is hiking with Ruffles, a hiker friend from last year, who joined us at Mt. Success.  I'm sure they made it to Full Goose Shelter.  I just couldn't make it that far tonight.  I did eat tonight... unlike last night.

Yesterday we got a ride with Rock Dancer, a hiker friend who lives up this way, into where the trail begins at Gorham, NH.  That's exactly where I left off last year.  We hiked about 12 miles to Gentian Pond Shelter. It was almost dark when we got there. I was so tired, sore and thirsty that I set up my tent and didn't even eat.  I guess there was a bad thunderstorm last night, but I didn't hear it!  I wish I could sleep that soundly at home. I felt really good this morning though.

Some hikers from Nova Scotia who are southbound told me about the Mahoosuc Notch Trail which I will hit tomorrow.  Apparently it's boulders that you go over, under and in between.  They said that you have to take your pack off and push it ahead of you and kind of crawl through.  Should be an interesting day. 

The weather is good.  At times I felt a cool breeze....unlike the 100+ degree weather in Maryland. A very cold jug of water would taste mighty good right now!  All in all I feel like I'm doing okay.  I just need to get my "trail legs" back and my pack a little lighter and I'll be good.

Thanks to all of you for your well wishes.  I feel real good about finishing even though I can't keep up with Muldoon and all the youngsters.  I have to remember that I have about 30 years on them!

"Walking takes longer....than any other known form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed."
-Edward Abbey, "Walking"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Packing to go back on the Trail Again

Doing last minute packing for my trip to Gorham, NH to finish the last 298 miles to Katahdin.  Muldoon, my hiking buddy from last year, is picking me up and driving me up there tomorrow.  We plan to start hiking on Friday morning.  I've checked the weather forecast for Gorham and it looks like decent weather with the highs in the low 80s.

If everything goes well, I should complete the last leg in about 30 days.  Muldoon is hiking with me for the first 30 miles or so.  He completed the AT hike last year on October 15th.  So he is familiar with the last part of the hike and has given me some helpful information.

Will hopefully add a new post every few days or so.  Thanks to Muldoon for the lift up to Gorham and his encouragement!

    “To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson