Sunday, August 3, 2008

done with the AT...for now!

After a lot of thought, I decided the end of my AT hike would be in Monson, ME, which is about 115 miles south of the northern terminus of the trail. There were a few reasons for this. 1) It has been a very wet season. Hiking in the rain every day is fun for a while, but it starts to get old. Also, the trail in northern Maine is basically one long bog. Playing in mud is a lot of fun, and I definitely got a lot of laughs out of it, but after a while, you get to where you just want to be able to walk on solid ground. 2) The river fords were getting dangerous. 3) I had the opportunity to go to Acadia National Park and play on mountains by the sea! 4 and most importantly) I was done. I had a blast, met some really great people, saw some amazing things, and now I'm just done.
What's next? Heading for a bike ride along A1A (Florida's Atlantic coastal highway) for a couple weeks, then flying out to Denver for a wedding. Oh, and while I'm out there, I might as well hike in the Rocky Mountains, right?
Here's a few pictures to wrap up the AT trip. As promised, a moose picture is included.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heading into the bogs

I've just about finished up the mountainous part of Maine, and I'll be heading into the more boggy area soon. I'm pretty excited about not climbing so much anymore, and I hear lots of good things about this last stretch. There's supposed to be some beautiful lakes and streams, and it will be nice to have a change of scenery. I have some stream fords coming up that I hear are pretty deep, like up to the waist (but that was from a short girl so maybe up to my knees). I got my first real welcome to the bogs the other day when I fell in to my waist. I actually laughed when it happened because it was the first time I had really played in mud since I was a kid. It also rained for the next 8 miles, so I had the chance to get a good rinse before pulling into the shelter for the night. I did, however, smell really bad for the next 3 days before getting to town and settling in to the hostel. Best shower ever! I took a "zero" today, which means I walked around town and ate everyhting in sight, and took several naps. Tomorrow is another big day on the trail. A little over 15 miles and the weather forecast is 70% thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon. Ah, I love the summertime. Sorry no pictures again. These hostel computers aren't really geared for handling more than a little text! Hope you all are doing great!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Moose Count

The moose count is now up to 5. I got pictures of this last one, since it didn't run away or try to chase me. I'll post one when I'm on a better computer.

Can't remember if it was George or Kerry in OCRM who told me to wait until I had 3 bad days in a row to star thinking about quitting, but I'm super grateful for that advice. I had 2 really bad days (bad weather, bad people, bad bugs, bad sleep, sore knees and feet, and one good fall), but the very next day tied for first place in the "best day ever" competition.

Well, I'm in Maine now at the first of my 3 hostel stays. Hitched a ride into town on the back of a 4-wheeler. My folks sent me a resupply package and added in a bunch of extra Snickers and nuts. Glad to have such great parents. Man, it's amazing how a great hiking day, hot shower, clean laundry, good food, and a bed can lift the spirits. ~250 miles to go to Katahdin.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oh, the Whites

I've just about made it all the way across New Hampshire. I finished up the Whites a couple of days ago. I'm a little bruised up, but it was worth every bit of pain. The Whites are mostly above treeline, and there are views out the wahzoo. Also, I've been hiking with some great guys and having a blast! I ran into one guy I met during my first section in MD, and he's doing really well. Two others got Lyme disease and are a few weeks behind, but I'm sure they'll catch up soon. The huts in NH have had some great left overs for hikers (pancakes, soup, ham, mashed potatoes), and I've been doing work-for-stay as much as possible. Last week, a girl working at one of the huts fell down the stairs pretty hard, so we had to do a "carry out", which meant we had to strap her to a board and carry her down the trail in the middle of a rainstorm. We didn't get back to the hut until about 2:30am, so the hut workers gave us hot chocolate chip and walnut pancakes in the morning, in addition to all the leftovers.

Wildlife update: I've seen 2 bears. One mom and 3 cubs, and one by himself. They didn't really do much, and they were actually very cute and non-threatening looking. The moose count is up to 4. The first was a young guy who ran away as soon as he saw me. Another was huge and right next to me in the woods, but I didn't see him until he got spooked and ran away. The other 2 were a mom and baby that cornered me in my campsite and wouldn't let me leave. They kept coming toward me, so I had to get behind a rock - I've heard they can kick pretty hard.

Well, I'm doing great. I have a little less than 300 miles to go before climbing Katahdin in Maine. From there, I'm not sure where I'll go. All I know now is I'm ready for Maine.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Heading into the Whites

In NH now, resting up at a hostel and waiting for thunderstorms to pass by. Heading into the White Mountains tomorrow. Looking forward to it, but I know it will be tough. I'm going to try to take advantage of the "work-for-stay" at the fancy huts up on the ridge as much as possible. I hear they have good leftover pancakes on some days. Got some good company out here, and having a great time.

[Kristine, so sad to have missed you in DC last week. I hear you are healthy and happy. Hope you are loving England! Sorry I couldn't post this to your blog - internet is real slow out here in the middle of nowhere!]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hiked 10 miles today with my mom in Vermont. Dad drove the shuttle - very grateful for that! It's very cold here, quite a bit of rain heading my way. From here on out, I'm on my own, unless I can meet up with my brother in New Hampshire. Doing great. Heading to Maine!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I’m not usually the type to believe in signs of bad fortune, but if the good Lord above does give signs, there was a time when he (or she) may have been telling me not to go hiking. After spending a day riding with the tow man to a repair shop and sitting in a waiting room, which consisted of a blue pleather chair in a room with a receptionist that said “Jesus Christ!” while slamming the phone down several times, I regrouped and started section 2 of my hiking adventure.

I went to some trails in upstate SC. These trails were not on the AT, but that doesn’t really bother me one bit. The first day, I hiked up to some really beautiful views of mostly untouched forest land with a few scattered small farms and a stream below. On the way to the campsite, though, I got stuck in a hail storm that just about made me cuss. The wind was blowing sideways at first, then the hail (bigger than peas, smaller than golfballs) came hurling down, whole trees fell all around me, and to top it off, one limb fell on my head and left a glob of sap in my hair that would end up staying there for the next couple of weeks. I hiked back to my car and fell asleep inside while waiting for the lightening to stop. The next day was beautiful, though, and I met a man with an ankle-biter dog who hiked the AT last year. He told me I would love Maine, and now I knew for sure that I was meant to keep truckin’. I met another guy the next night staying at the same campsite as me who had just finished road biking the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyland Drive. Another thing to consider for my “to do” list.

Then I went over to where the AT passes through the Nantahala Forest in NC. The first thing I noticed was a big sign saying that there were resident bears at the campsite that scavenged at night for food left out by campers. And this is how my fear of bears came back. After 1 successful day of hiking through the brightest green trees I’ve ever seen, I hiked past another sign that said a bear had been stealing packs off hikers, and he showed “no fear of humans”. The first bear I heard was a little ways off in the distance, but I hopped off the trail and hiked the rest of the way to the campsite along the road. I don't know why it made me feel safer to be in the road, but it did. When I got to my campsite, it started raining, and kept raining, all the way through the night and the next day. My gaiters didn’t completely keep the rain out my boots, so I wore full raingear (raincoat and rainpants) as I kept hiking…in NC…in June. Man, I tell you what, it was hotter than a match. But, the steam rising off the trees after a good rain is one of the most beautiful things ever, what my mom would call "a memory".

So, I made it past a broke-down car, a hail storm, and a seemingly endless rain storm, and some rogue bears, and I made it out alive. Maybe these weren’t bad signs after all, maybe they were just tests. I’m ready to get back to it. Vermont, here I come.