I’m so glad I waited 1 day for the rain to pass….today was totally amazing !!! The shuttle dropped 8 of us off at the ranger station base of Katahdin… I was first to get my pass to climb and I was outta the gate….I flew up that mountain I was so pumped… Probably didn’t look like that with the tracker but I hauled. Next time I saw the other seven hikers who were all southbounders I was on my way back down. They were on their way up…huffing and puffing on day 1 for them. When I approached the summit I didn’t think I would lose it but after I asked another hiker to take pics of my moment,,,, I lost it !! There was about 20 people there and my sobbing got everyones attention…and after I did my thing on the sign I actually got an applause from the group…which didn’t help my blubbering at all…. I took about half an hr to sit and reflect…answered some questions and just regained myself. The hike back down was quiet for me and passed quickly. I hitched out of the park with two rides….and it was over…just like that!!
A journeys end and a dream realized!!!!
7/10/2017 – East Branch Shelter – 17.0 mi
Pretty nice hiking today. There was a very fine misty rain in morning but it gave way to sunshine. It was one foot in front of the other… up and over the last 4 remaining mountains. After that… all downhill to the shelter. My feet are hurting pretty good these days. I think it’s my boots that are just not able to support my feet anymore since they are crumbling to pieces. The fix in Monson lasted about 4 hrs. The soles have worn down so thin I feel every rock. They will get me up and over Katahdin. I didn’t take any pics today… sorry I’m getting lazy. I would have taken a pic of the stone Dalmatian on this side of White Cap but I missed it. I did see other pics of it, pretty cool to see in the woods. This is my last night in a shelter. The next two nights will be at campsites to get me in position to get to Katahdin. I’ll try to take some pics tomorrow. Good Night.
7/11/2017 – Stealth Camping – 21.3 mi
Today was the most beautiful day to hike I have had… so the miles. Tomorrow I’ll get into a hostel and wait on the weather to summit. It’s supposed to rain again but we will see. I’m ready for this journey to come to a close. It is a dream realized… not like I planned but none the less! Thank you to all of you who supported the cause, were kind in your comments, and always encouraged me. My plan is to hike Katahdin on Friday. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Saturday. So if I can get all my ducks in a row tomorrow… Friday is the day. I will have my GPS on tracker all day so if you are interested in seeing my track up and back down Katahdin, check out the live map. It’ll be slow… haha. I’ll update more tomorrow…. The pic….some handsome stud!!
7/8/2017 – Long Pond Shelter – 15.1 mi
I got off to a good start today, had breakfast at 6am and was on the trail at 7am with sunshine!! By 9 am I was in the rain and for the last 3 mi to the shelter, heavy rain w/ thunder. In spite of being soaked again, the trail magic was good as expected!! Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and sodas. Anyway, I’m in the 100 and will be on Katahdin by the 13/14 ish. I don’t know why I thought this section would be any easier. I did and it isn’t! So, one foot In front of the other until I’m done, rain or shine!! The pics are a nice warning sign for the 100 and a lake view I liked before the rains came.
7/9/2017 – Pleasant River (ford) 15 mi.
Pretty good day today….only got rained on for 30 min. I forgot to mention a couple days ago that an AT hiker got rescued from the trail after he fell on a steep decline and broke his leg. He was a day ahead of us at the time. Even this close disaster is still just 1 step away. Tonight I am camped on the bank of my next ford. I’ll cross the river in the morning and then I’ll work on a seven mile climb over Whitecap Mt, the last big effort before I summit. I’m down to 4 hiking days then a summit climb. Hard to believe after all it’s taken to get here. Pics today of you know who….with calves that will deflect bullets. And the other is my hubble for the night.
07/05/2017 – Moxie Bald Shelter – 13.1
Ok….I’m just 18 mi from Monson so I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon…I’ll probably do a zero to just enjoy the moment. I’m ready to finish the hike but at the same time wishing for more… melancholy moments. The shelters are full of southbound hikers night now… I wish them well. I’m on track to summit earlier than I planned… only by a day maybe two depending on weather of course. Rain In the forecast for tomorrow but I’m going regardless… why not? I expect to have a few fords tomorrow, some tough with all the rain, and a bunch more in the 100. The pics today are of: Yuk, who has entertained many hikers, he is traveling on a tight budget so after he entertained me and another hiker I kicked into the budget for his hike, nice guy. The other is me enjoying the view on top of Moxie Bald….really beautiful!!!
07/06/2017 – Monson .. Lakeshore Inn – 18.0
What was supposed to be another wet day turned out to be beautiful, can’t say the same for the trail…lol. My boots are rotting off my feet now. If I stand on a wet rock, my socks soak up the water!! They are coming apart everywhere, mostly from rot! I’m sure I’ll get another week out of them… I have duct tape. I’m so glad to be in a warm dry place where I can have real food brought to me. This is the last stop before Katahdin. If the weather cooperates I’ll be out of here Saturday morning. I’ve done my resupply and cleaned myself up to a near normal state… didn’t have any Borax !! My run thru the wilderness will take about 6 days if all goes well. Then I’ll rest a day before I summit Katahdin.
Seems surreal to be near the end of a journey! A dream my wonderful wife supported. She took on sooooo much just to let me go for a walk in the woods.
The pic was just a shelter I had lunch at today during my 18 mile hike to get here. As most of you know, I hiked alone most of this hike. I actually came to enjoy the time alone and looked forward to the social aspects of the shelter or campsites during the evenings. A simple picture but it moves me deeply.
The final moments of this hike will do the same when I reach that sign. I did the work and the end of this journey will be bittersweet!
07/07/2017 – Ready Set Go !!!
I’ve enjoyed my zero in Monson but, it’s time to move. The weather forecast is rain next four outta five days….of course it is!! Monson has been really nice and they appreciate the hikers. My hitch-in took 1 car and he was going in the opposite direction… really! The Lake Shore House is a converted home to a nice hostel with a restaurant and a pub. The town folks have been so nice. I’ve seen a few hikers I’ve met along the way come and go. I’m ready to go. As nice as it is, it isn’t home! I have heard there is trail magic 14 miles into the 100, sounds like a great place for a stop!! It’s a full blown hiker feast for 3 days, a local has a cabin there and does this each year….finally some real trail magic….lol. The pic is out my window at the hostel….temp has been in the 70s…..can’t wait to melt in Texas!!
06/29/2017 – Spaulding Shelter – 18.7 mi
You can’t predict mother nature. I left Rangeley at 6am and the plan was 10 mi before the rain started. When I got to the first shelter at 1:30 and no rain l decided to push for the next shelter and see if l could best the rain again. l got rained on a little but nothing that caused any issues. I can’t believe I did 18.7 it almost made up for my zero. Tomorrow’s next shelter is again 18.6 mi which I am not doing. I will overnight in Stratton and get back on the trail in morning. It’s still about a 14 mile day and I’ll be inside dry. Overall it was a good day, but hard on my feet again. Still passing south bounders but thinning out. Only a few hundred start north and go south. I haven’t seen any northbound hikers for a few days…they are out there! Pic today was me on a peak freezing, tomorrow will be warmer.
06/30/2017 – Stratton – 14 mi
Rain again, why not!!! I’m soaked again from the morning hike. The rain let off as the day progressed but thunderstorms are in the forecast with flash flooding in mountain areas. There was a warning for hikers so I hiked 14 mi and hitched into Stratton for the night. I’ll probably zero tomorrow and have to make it up. I’m still seeing south bounders each day. It’s nice to be dry even though it’s only a temporary reprieve. Getting closer in spite of the rain. I think I’m at about 150 miles to go. I passed the 2000 mile mark today. I’m in the club! No pics again acct weather…. I had a fellow hiker take this pic as he passed thru Wadleigh shelter in the 100 mile wilderness…. Still there!!
07/02/2017 – Little Bigelow Shelter – 15.5 mi
I’m glad I stayed in Stratton for the weather… it poured !!! One mi into my hike I had a ford in front of me, normally a rock hop but with the storm no way. I saw a tree across the stream about 20 yards downstream so I went for it, and I made it. Beats pulling off shoes n socks… unless you fall in! It was a beautiful day to hike. The trail was horrible but the sun was out and the temp was perfect! As usual the mileage ate up my feet. Tomorrow I may do 18 since my feet hurt so much today. that will put me in position for the ferry across a river that you must not ford!!! And a chocolate shake the next day in town….YUM. Today I climbed my last mountain over 4,000 ft. until Katahdin….Yahoo !!! The pics are views today… I’m getting there….a little closer each day now….I’m starting to feel it….
07/03/2017 – Pierce Pond Shelter – 20.1 mi
18.1 is the actual trail mileage… The other 2 mi is because I missed a turn and had to backtrack….dang it! That is the worst feeling. Anyway, I’m in position for the ferry ride tomorrow morning. I have 3.5 mi to hike to the Kennebec River for my ferry ride. After that I’m diving into a chocolate milk shake!! Then back on the trail. I’m 3 days out of Monson. Then into the 100 mile wilderness. Still planning on a summit of Mt Katahdin on the 15th. You will never guess in a million years what I saw on the trail yesterday. Moms trail name is Kanga and the 16 month old baby she is carrying is Roo. Dads trail name is Sherpa because he is carrying everything, and I mean everything !!! Amazing !!! Today I slogged along in a minimum of 5 miles of bogs…awful ! I can smell my shoes from here and they are 10 ft away.
I saw another 2000 mile sign so here it is. The other pic is a mushroom I saw as I hiked. I’m not sure if I had a flashback or not! And the other is roots on the trail….try to hike over these for mile after mile….lotto fun!
07/04/2017 – Pleasant Pond Shelter – 10 mi
Up early and headed for the ferry…. I arrived at 8:15 for a 9am ride….I’m always early. Short n sweet…then on my way to that chocolate shake….Yum. After that I headed to then next shelter and plans for the one after that…. Guess what…Rain again! Forecast for partly cloudy….lol it’s been raining for 6 hrs now ! So I’m stuck at 10 mi today with 8 other hikers in a 6 person shelter. Ughhhh. Tomorrow I’ll head north while the rest head south. The pics today….the view from the shelter when I woke. A waterfall …. A good example of a Maine hiker bridge…. My ferry operator and notice the blaze in the canoe…it’s the official AT route…. I’m cold…wet, again! And I don’t like being a sardine !! Come on sleep….sweet relief !!!
06/22/2017 – Full Goose Shelter….. 10 mi
Well, I’m finally in Maine! Did 10 hard miles today…I wanted to get thru Mahoosuc today (the hardest mi on the AT) but I also wanted to have fresh legs when I did it since I’ve no idea what to expect. I held up 1.5 mi short. In the morning I’ll be ready! I Hiked today with a nice young man who returned to the trail today to finish his hike. He got Lyme disease and had to end his hike in NH last year… this is day 1 so he is struggling. We will do the Mahoosuc notch together then he will go off trail for resupply and I’ll move on. My resupply is in Rangeley 2 days later. The pics today are crossing into Maine and the other showing hand holds in the rocks… sometimes you just need a little help. 236 mi left!!!
…… Well, when Andy showed up at the shelter before the notch he was feeling better so l packed my bag and of we went. We knew he didn’t have legs for the shelter after the notch so we planned to set up camp right after we got thru the Mahoosuc boulder field…. IT WAS TOUGH. We went over under thru just like they said we would. Some places we pushed or pulled our packs thru ahead or behind us, It took us two hours to go 1 mile. You would have to do it to believe it… crazy insane! I’m wiped out, my tent is up… Goodnight!!!
06/23/2017 – Baldpate Shelter… 10 mi.
Stealth camping after doing the Mahoosuc notch seemed like a good idea at the time. It poured rain all night, everything is soaked. Ever try to sleep in a wet sleeping bag? It’s awful! It rained most of the morning before stopping, everything is still wet. My legs are spent so only 10 mi today and it’s supposed to rain tonight. I think l can still make Rangeley in two days for my resupply. I’m running out of food but I’ll eat less… it’s not like I need it for anything!!! Heather thank you for the cookies, they are awesome.
I’m in the shelter and it’s filling up tonight… planning for bad weather. At the moment I’m missing my solitude!!!
06/24/17 – Hall Mountain Shelter…14 mi.
It poured again last night and well into the morning. At least l was in a shelter for the night. I did my best to protect everything before I pushed out into the rain. Today the trail threw everything it had at me all day long. I slogged along and at 6 pm rolled in. Endless bogs, rain, wet rock faces, rocks, roots… it is slow going in southern Maine. Again bad weather so the camera was packed tight…. I took a couple pics at the shelter… The first is of the shelter, and the second is my first time using my medical kit. I tried to sit on a rock for a snack. When I sat down my pack weight pulled me over and I fell off the rock… a root took a slice at me. Nothing fatal.
06/25/2017 – Bemis Shelter…. 13 mi
Solo again today, lots of mud and it’s starting to take a toll on my feet. Blisters are starting to form… my feet have been wet to long. I need to get into Rangeley to take care of my feet but 18 mi thru this kind of trail will be too much. It’s going to be 2 more days. Pushing my goal of July 15 to the limit… l don’t know. Pics… couple views and the trail. Goodnight.
06/26/2017 – Sabbath Day Shelter….8 mi.
The weather was nice today so I took a short hike and stopped early to dry out all my wet gear. I’ll make Rangeley tomorrow… probably in the rain but I’ll be inside at night and I’ll have real food again. The southbound hikers are flooding by everyday now and filling the shelters… it’s nice to meet as many as I can. They are all different in their own ways… all full of stories and goals. It’s fun to hear them. They all have many questions about what’s coming… I tell them all to go home now…LOL. Not really, many have already left the trail just like those heading north do. All kinds of issues… I’m getting more anxious each day for myself. I will zero in Rangeley to get ready for my push to Monson, gateway to the 100 mile wilderness. Pics today, a beautiful setting of lakes and the rain clouds that plaque me almost daily. The other… LOL my feet after a day of bogs soaking thru my boots!!!
06/27/2017 – Rangeley……10 mi.
Up early and on the trail at 6am, expected rain but it turned out they were wrong… Beautiful hike average 2.5 mph…I was flying. I got into Rangeley at 11 am after a 12 mi hitch. Got my food resupply and checked in to the Rangeley Inn where I will enjoy a zero tomorrow. I wanted to mention that if you are interested in pics of Mahoosuc Notch, google it to see better pics than I could ever get. It’s worth the effort. Since I expected rain I didn’t have my camera so all I have is where I’m staying tonight. Back on the trail Thursday.
A quick update. Chris hasn’t had phone service to send his blog posts for a few days. If you still want to follow his progress, he checks in daily with his GPS device to let us know he is OK. Use the “Follow me Live” link at the top of the page or click here Follow Me Live
The hike on the trail today was 12 mi… getting to the trail was another 4 mi. I couldn’t get a ride hitching so I had to walk the extra 4. I’ve had great luck hitching but not this morning, maybe it was to early. The trail today had more exposed roots than rocks which made the hike very technical for foot placement. I didn’t get the result I was hoping for from my zero. I felt very lethargic on the trail, no strength. We will see what tomorrow brings. I did pull a tick off a few weeks ago. I don’t believe it was on long enough to cause an issue, it didn’t have time to fill up. Anyway, passed a few southbound hikers heading to Ga. Glad I’m not them! They all looked so fresh and clean charging south, while my feet and knees remind me with every step that I still have 246 miles to go…. I’m not hiking the last 40 miles since I’ve already hiked those, but I will hike Katahdin again since I’ll be there. Last time was in the rain and this time I’ll feel like I deserve to be there!!! And I’d like to do it in good weather. Today’s pics are of Page Pond about half way thru today’s hike. The other is the view looking out from the shelter! Tomorrow looks like another long day, it has Mahoosuc notch in it. It’s the longest 1 mile on the trail. I’ve heard up to 4 hrs to get thru it.
Carter Notch Hut… 7 mi
Last hut in the hut system… thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon today and probably tomorrow too… So I decided I’d rather be soaked for 1 day rather than 2. Tomorrow I’ll push for Gorham which will be a tough 15 mi. day on the rain all the way. I hope no thunderstorms. Today I had a wet climb out of Pinkham notch, hand over hand for a lot of the boulder climbing. I was pretty wet from the clouds rolling thru. The descent was 1000 ft in only 6/10 of a mile… that is fast and steep! And that always means a nasty climb out in the morning. I thought the hard part was supposed to be over!! The pic today…a look back at Pinkham Notch before it all closed in. When I checked in they told me I was the only guest tonight and wanted to cook dinner to my liking….cool. Strange at the same time. I’ll make the best of it….
Gorham NH… 15 mi.
I left the hut at 5:45 this morning for a tough hike but I needed to make Gorham because the weather moved in. I almost made it… got caught by a thunderstorm about 4 hrs out. It’s just water. I’ve decided to take a zero here. I haven’t had one since before the whites and I need one. My feet and knees have taken a beating and need a rest. On Wednesday I’ll make my push into Maine, finally and see what challenges await. Hopefully the weather will have moved off and I’ll get a good start. Couple pics today. Trail descent.. Steep as usual. Another beautiful view before the weather. I’m glad the Wildcats and the Carter’s are behind me now. Hello Maine !!