Day 109 – One More Day

“PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE my young padawan” – Yoda

Miles hiked 1.6

I was supposed to summit today. I did not. When Timeless and I woke up and looked at the weather we had a decision to make. Did we want our last day on the Appalachian trail to be in bad weather with no view? Or did we want to wait a day when the weather was supposed to be better?

We decided to wait one more day.

After we made that decision we needed to get a hitch to get back to Hugh. We walked to the parking lot where people were dropping off hikers that we’re planning on still going up and ran into Blackfoot. Blackfoot was one of the hikers that Hugh fed hotdogs two on his trail magic day. There really is such a thing as karma on the trail. 

Blackfoot’ dad was dropping him off and he gave us a ride back to a point where we only had to hike 1.6 miles to where Hugh was camping with the RV. We arrived just in time because Hugh was packing up getting ready to head into town. 

This will be a nice break before summiting Katahdin. We will catch a shuttle at 6:30 in the morning that will take us to the trailhead. RVs are not allowed within the park.

Hopefully the next thing you’ll see from me is a summit picture.

Day 108 – Best Lunch Break Ever

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

Miles height 20.1

Timeless and I wanted to get an early start, so we could have a longer break with Hugh today. So we started off at 5:30 AM, while it was still pretty dark outside. It lightened up pretty much by 6:15 AM and we we’re urged on by the thought of a hot lunch.

It was still a pretty rough trail for the first 10 miles.  The trail goes around a lot of streams and lakes where the roots of the trees are pretty much on the ground.

We climbed over some rocks on the streams and just kept our heads down and hiked. It was all about getting into Abol bridge.

And finally there she was!

We knew Hugh awaited us as soon as we crossed the bridge. You can see the RV in the picture below under the trees.

We were lucky enough that a man, that was taking pictures of rafters that were floating underneath us, took time to take our picture too. Then it was off to the RV.

What an awesome break! We lounged around for a couple of hours and then fixed a lunch of spaghetti, meatballs, bread and salad. It was exactly what we needed and so good to see the Hubster. We repacked our packs, leaving our tents behind, because we had a lean-to reserved at the campground. Then once again we set off.

We were entering Baxter State Park where Katahdin awaits us. The trail turned back into a WONDERFUL trail.

The waterfalls were everywhere!

We followed the river for the first hour of our afternoon hike.

Then we pasted “Big Niagara Falls”. It was a beautiful waterfall but it was NOT bigger than the real thing.

You cannot believe how man lake/ponds Maine has. And what the call a pond – we most definitely would call a lake.

We got to our lean-to (dang it I forgot to take a picture) it was getting dark. We blew up our air mattresses, unpacked our sleeping bags and settled in for the evening. After eating our sandwiches, we each curled up under our sleeping bags and read for a bit. It was a cold night. The temps were in the high 30’s, but we both stayed warm in our sleeping bags.

When checking in at the Ranger’s Station and getting our permit to climb Katahdin ( I was NoBo #581) we learned the weather was not going to be great for summiting tomorrow. We decided to make the call in the morning whether to go or wait a day.

At the base of the Big Rock Candy Mountain!

Day 107 – Thirty Mile Marathon

Walk is a four-letter word. – Janet Ridgway 

Miles hiked today 30. There you go

Today our goal was 30 miles. That would leave 20 miles for tomorrow and we would be at the base of Katahdin. Hugh dropped us off back where he picked us up and we were off.

We thought we had landed in the Emerald City. With a path so wonderful that we knew 30 miles would be an easy trek.

We were carefree and happy, taking pictures to remember this wonderful trail.

We passed beautiful lakes/ponds. Some had beaches of sand, others of gravel.

And we were most surprised by this staircase. We could not believe someone had gone to all the trouble to put it there. We had to climb steeper and much more difficult banks than this one. Go figure!

We had to cross many streams but never got our shoes wet. There were always stones strategically place to get across.

We took very short breaks that day, but at one we met this little fellow. I think he knew a lot of hikers because he was not scared of us at all. I shared a Skittles with him.

About 10 miles into our 30 miles the trail changed. Our easy walk became a hard hike.  Foot placement became all important. There was no more looking around and gazing. It was watch where you walk. It was lift your knees high enough that you don’t trip. It was exhausting.

There were a couple of lighthearted moments. This is my stone throne. Queen of the Trail.

Then it was back to more slogging through the roots and the rocks. I have to say with the exception of about 15 miles Maine has been absolutely wonderful. But those 15 miles came on a 30 mile day!

I knew we were getting close to the camp we had chosen for the night when we passed the Cascades. They were wonderful but we didn’t stop for very long because the sun was going down.

We made it to the lake where we set up camp at 7:15 PM. The sun was setting and we put our tents up pretty much in the dark. It was a very, very long day, but I was excited that I put in 30 miles in one day.

Getting close,

Day 106 – A Walk in the Woods

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. –Henry David Thoreau

Since we walked more than we thought  yesterday, this was easy day. Our goal was 11 miles to get to Jo Mary Road and meet Hugh.

We meandered!

Truthfully we took so many breaks we ran out of things to talk about. We started out in about three minutes into our hike we came upon some rocks were the sun was shining. It was a cold morning and we decided our first break was going to be on those rocks after three minutes of hiking.

Then of course when you come up on a beach in Maine you have to do a little tanning. It was an incredibly enjoyable day because we were so relaxed about the time schedule. We knew Hugh because of his infusion was not going to be there before 2 o’clock so we had all the time in the world.

I wanted to show you what a blue blaze actually look like. These blazes show the way to shelters, privies, vistas, campsites and water.

Of course it would not be Maine unless there was a waterfall to see. This is a gorgeous state and the volunteers have outdone themselves. I’ve enjoyed every minute of Maine.

Sometimes, not always, the trail is perfect here is a picture of a perfect trail.

Day 105 – A Perfect Day

Today is the perfect day for a perfect day -Unknown

The funny thing about today was both Timeless and I were dreading it. It was a lot of ups and downs. We were hitting four peaks – And truthfully let’s face it, I’m tired of climbing mountains.

We hit the trail and it was gorgeous. I think this was the most perfectly maintained trail of the whole Appalachian Trail. There were beautiful waterfalls.

Then we came to a shelter and we realize the people of Maine really knew their stuff. Throughout the trail you always redesigned shelters in your mind to make them better. Well these people did it! They attached a bench to the front of the shelter that was both a step up to the shelter and a seat. The important part it was there was something to lean your back against. Totally brilliant.

We came across one of Maine’s many snakes. Interesting fact – none of the snakes in Maine are poisonous.

We also came across tons and tons of moose poop. We have looked and looked and looked, but have not seen a moose yet. We are still looking! The funny thing about the moose poop is it always on the top of the mountains. It’s like the Moose travel to the top to poop on the trail.

The amount of work the Maine volunteers have put into this portion of the trail is unbelievable. There are so many beautifully made stone steps up and down the mountains it’s mind-boggling. The trail was in pristine condition and I wholeheartedly thank all the Maine volunteers for making this day such a perfect day.

Climbing the Whitecap Mountain range was a delight. It gave us many beautiful views.

The last mountain of the Whitecap Mountain range was called Whitecap Mountain. How apropos, it was like topping off the day with frosting on your cake.

There’s a side trail from the summit of Whitecap Mountain that led you down to a viewing area where the hikers below are sitting. They are all staring at Katahdin. The couple on the left are from Australia and they are Hitch and Dingo. Jetpack, who you’ve met before, is the one with the green backpack.

This is Katahdin! and on Friday I will summit! We spent over an hour just sitting there snacking and looking at Katahdin.

Then it was down the mountain to our shelter. Once again the Maine ain volunteers know their stuff.

We got to camp I set up the tent and climb in, for the first time the mosquitoes were out. So I ate my sandwiches and talked with Timeless through the mesh of our tents. I was asleep by 8 o’clock.

Day 104 – The Chairback Mountains

Miles hiked 11.

Timeless had heard the best place to see a moose was at Cloud Pond Lean-to. We hiked farther yesterday just to reach it. We were up with the sun and took our breakfast down to the pond to watch for moose. It was a beautiful view, but alas….no moose.

Then it was time to start climbing. We had five peaks to climb before meeting Hugh. We were both glad to have pushed it yesterday so we did not have so far to go today. With all the PUDs yesterday and the peaks today we were tired.

Nevertheless the Maine forest was absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes you felt like you were walking in a Storybook Forest.

I love some the tops of mountains that don’t have views. It’s a different world there, where the ground is rock. It is amazing that trees grow up. I am always see trees growing right on top rock and it always shocks me that they are able to grab on and grow.

Maine is definitely on my favorite state list.

My mileage in the 100 mile wilderness is totally dependent on where I can meet Hugh. That is why today was so short. When we leave in the morning will have another 30 miles to go until we see him again. After that there’s 40 miles left at the hundred mile wilderness and then 10 more into Baxter State Park until you reach the campground at the bottom of Katahdin.

Baxter State Park does not allow RVs into the park. So Timeless and I will be camping at the bottom of Katahdin. We were extremely lucky! When we called in to reserve a campsite, we got one of the very last ones for that day.

Ready to take on the Whitecap Range!

Day 103 – PUDs

Good grief! – Charlie Brown 

Miles hiked 19.3

Today we entered the hundred mile wilderness. And we were not caring 10 days worth of food. As a matter of fact we each had three sandwiches, some crackers, pop tarts and lots of Snickers mini bars. Unlike most hikers we had Hugh meeting us on our second night.

We passed right off the start a beautiful lake. Maine is filled with lakes! All of them our picture perfect.

Main is filled with waterways. Each one beautiful. They have waterfalls, streams, ponds, lakes and rivers. What has amazed me has been the lack of insects bothering me. Only one day did I put on bug spray.

The reflection in this pond, my eye and I had to share.

When South-bounders were passing us they kept telling us about the Roots and rocks in Maine. Yes Maine does have roots and rocks but it’s no worse than anywhere else on the trail. I have found the roots to be very helpful in the state to be used as steps when going up and down mountains.

Sometimes here in Maine the trail is absolutely perfect. It’s a Wonderland a walk-through and a pleasure to walk on.

Other times it’s more challenging I’ve been that all in all Maine has been one of my favorite states.

We had a hard hiking day today because of all of the PUDs. That stands for pointless ups and downs. If you look at the elevation map you’ll see the first half of the hike was simply going up and down Little Hills. It takes it’s toll on you and makes you very tired.

The last part of the day was spent climbing a mountain. The shelter we were headed toward was at the top. We got beautiful vistas on the way up.

We wanted to reach Cloud Pond Lean-to. Timeless had heard it was the best place that gave you a chance of seen a moose.

It was a very tiring day. We got to the shelter around six.  Camp was set up a half an hour later and both of us were in our tents eating our sandwiches and asleep by 7:45 PM.

Day 102 – Rivers, Streams & Lakes

The question isn’t who’s going to let me; It’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand

Miles hiked today 25. 

Today we had one mountain to climb and a lot of miles to cover. Other than that it was all about water. We started off today hopping from rock to rock over our first large stream. Then it was into the forest.

It was a truly beautiful walk up the mountain. Where we came across some unusual rocks and a cave.

As we walked up the mountain we had beautiful views.

Once again as we got closer to the summit it was all about walking and climbing across a rock face. These are some of my favorite things.

At the top it was glorious! 360° views of this beautiful state of Maine.

Then it was down down down and time to start crossing streams and rivers.

Are one true “fording the river” came-there was a riptide across for backpacks. It turned out to be too tall for me-and I yelled across to timeless just to leave her backpack on and walk across.

 I ended up taking my pack off the road and just carrying it across. We got to the other side dried up our feet, put back on our shoes, and continue to hike.

The lakes in Maine are so gorgeous. And they are everywhere!

Most of the day was simply putting in the miles to reach the highway where Hugh was waiting for us. 2 miles away we had our final vista where we sit down and enjoy the short break.

Loving Maine!

Day 101 – A Short Walk

I’m walking here! I’m walking here! – Dustin Hoffman Midnight Cowboy

Miles hike today 13.2

Today was a short walk because of the meeting place. Some days the roads determine where we start and stop this was one of them.

In the morning we had a nice climb and had some great views.  The weather cooperated and we had clear skies.

I tend to really love the top part of Mountains as they have the rock faces that you climb and walk across once you are up there. I have to give the main Appalachian Trail clubs kudos for how well marked the trail in Maine has been.

You never have to look very far to find a white blaze it has been so refreshing after walking through New Hampshire where there were none.

After our climb it was just a walk in the woods. And to be honest the words were not that interesting today. There was nothing that really stood out.

I did have some fun walking across planks and hopping over stones-I kept my feet dry all day.

I had to stop and get a picture taken by this big tree that had come down. Just to show you they grow them big here in Maine.

The last part of the trail was pine forest that almost look like the trees were dead but if you looked up they were not. The greenery was all at the top.

After we met Hugh we then drove into Monson Maine because we were told we had to register for the hundred mile wilderness. That ended up being untrue. But we did make our reservations for the campground at Katahdin steam campground. We were lucky all tent sites had already been taken and there was only a lean-to left, we booked that.

We were excited that meant we did not even have to carry our tents just our sleeping bags and air mattresses. We booked the site for the 31st and we will summit on September 1st.

Getting close to Katahdin,

Day 100 – One Big Fairytale

There must be more than this provincial life! – Belle (There is! I’m living it.)

Miles hiked 20.4

Today I had a boat to catch!

The Kennebec River is in unfordable river. The canoe ferry ran between 9 AM and 2 PM, so we had to make the river by 2 PM. It was 20 miles away.

Between us and the river was the fairytale. Lakes so blue, Moss so green, skies that were perfect. All surrounded by mountain peaks that just put the The tiara on the princess in this fairytale.

They had wonderful boardwalks through the boggy areas. And with no rain the boardwalks we’re not slippery and we made good time.

But the real jewel in this fairytale was the forest itself. It was simply stunning. You expected Snow White to be skipping down the trail followed by the dwarfs. Timeless and I kept telling to eat chowder what a beautiful hike.

Then the trail led us to a beach on the lake. We took two minutes to Soak up the sun but that was all… We had a boat to catch.

Over and over I had been told that there were no bridges in Maine. And over and over today there were planks of wood that our feet dry.

But I need to reiterate how absolutely beautiful but for us twice-it truly was a setting for a fairytale.

Then the trail took a turn and took us right up against the lake where it was dammed. We climbed over rocks and wood and then back into the forest we went.

On the way down to meet the Kennebec River we followed a stream that had waterfall after waterfall after waterfall. We just follow the music of the stream all the way to the Kennebec River.

Walking in the forest on a bed of Pineneedles was like walking on a cloud. I had a grin on my face all day long. It was a great day.

Then at the end we came to the Kennebec River. We held the ferry-which was a guy in a canoe-and caught a ride across the river.

Dan the man was our canoe driver.

Timeless said in front of me and she also paddled. I just took a ride!