Thursday, August 16, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Final Update - Katahdin Defeated!

Well for days I dreamed about writing this blog update. I am sitting at a coffee house in Millinocket Maine about 20 miles from Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin. Yesterday morning I climbed the 4000+ feet to the summit and laid my hands on the sign stating "Katahdin - Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail". It was truly one of the greatest feelings I've ever had in my entire life. I have never worked so hard for something, and put myself through such hardship in order to reach a goal. Without question this was the hardest thing I've ever done, but also without question, the most rewarding. I don't know if I'll ever again be able to match the feeling I had on top of that mountain yesterday. I am very anxious to get back to life and start my Masters Program at Penn State. In my final trail journal entry at Baxter State Park, I wrote something that pretty much sums it up:

"I learned more about myself over the past 100 days than I ever thought possible. I met people and made friends that I will keep for a lifetime. I was finally able to say my much needed goodbyes and truly clear my head. Most importantly though, I have filled my empty heart and mind with some of the most amazing memories that any person could ever ask for. I know that I will never forget the summer of 2007. Good luck to everyone reading this and to all those that will thru-hike in the future. Good luck also to all of the amazing people I met along the way. I will miss you all. Signing out for the last time:

Number 85 up Katahdin in the Class of 2007 Thru-Hikers:


I will see you all back in the real world...real soon,


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 18 - Monson, Maine

Well I made it to Monson Maine (Mile 2060) ...the last town on the A.T. From here, all that remains is the 100 mile wilderness and then the climb up Katahdin (114 miles to go). I wish I could explain just how glad I am to be almost done, but there's just no way to put it into words. I am very ready to be done though.

Tomorrow I head in to the "100 mile wilderness" which is considered the most remote part of the entire trail. There are no roads, no stores, and no places to go. Just me and the wilderness. Supposedly there are a lot of moose and other wildlife in this area. In less than a week, I'll be on Katahdin.

I have a load of videos and pictures that I will post as soon as I am finished.

See you all soon.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 17 - Stratton, Maine

I'm writing this message from the Hostel in Stratton Maine (Mile 1986). I'm not quite sure how, but I have managed to make it past most of "Southern Maine". There is not a square inch on my body that doesn't hurt right now. I have one more big mountain tomorrow (Bigelow Mountain), and then I actually get a break from the climbs until the end at Katahdin. It is impossible to do big miles through Maine and I am glad that I was 2 days ahead in New Hampshire. I've been able to add those days in giving me shorter days of hiking. In a few more days I'll be in Monson, the last town before the "100 mile wilderness". Then all I'll have is the finish up Katahdin. As bummed as I'll be to go back to "real life", I absolutely cannot take any more hiking and will be so glad to be done. I don't know how anyone can want to do this trail more than once. I have my reasons for doing this...and once finished, I don't plan on ever doing it again.

On a positive note, I'm still hiking with Michael and it's made the days go a little faster. Yesterday I hiked up and over Saddleback Mountain...probably the best above-treeline hike in Maine. Tomorrow I will hit the 2000 mile mark too, so I'm pretty pumped about that. Last night from the summit of Sugarloaf, I could actually see Katahdin 198 miles away...It definitely got me excited.

Gonna go and enjoy my short half day now. Hope everyone is well back home. Can't wait to see you all.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Appalachian Trail - Update 16 - Southern Maine

I don't have much time to update so real quickly here's an update from Andover Maine (mile 1909...~265 to go):

I would love to tell you all that I tackled the Whites with fortitude, bent them over my knee, and spanked them...but the thruth is that they quite literally destroyed me. I never could have possibly imagined just how hard that they were going to be. Don't get me had the best views of any part of the trail, but I am in the roughest and most banged up shape I've been in yet. Here's the ultimate kicker though: When I finally got to Gorham I though, "thank god its over, now i just have 280 miles of maine and I'm home free". Well...Southern Maine has actually been more difficult than the Whites. Even the guide book describes Southern Maine as the "most difficult and challenging part of the trail". I honestly don't know if I physically can stand one more day of hiking in these conditions. It is very frustrating to get this far and have to deal with such horrible trail conditions.

The good news is that I am two days ahead of schedule and can afford to slow down a little. I have also unofficially found a hiking partner (guy named Michael) for the last few days. It's nice to have someone to talk to and to keep my mind of the horrible climbs and descents. We may end up keeping the same pace all the way to Katahdin...don't know.

I may stop in Rangely or Stratton on my way to Caratunk. I don't know yet. Today is going to be a horrible day hiking though....and it is supposed to reach 92 degrees.

well gotta go. only 265 to go....