Monday, December 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Below is a link to the journal of one of the hikers dad met on the trail this year.m his trail name is Hopeful. This is his account of life after his hoke in 2003. We figured some readers may be wondering what it's like, so we decided to share. Dad is doing well on his slow tour of the east coast as he makes his way home with mom. Tomorrow he will get to see his sisters, which will be wonderful.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The last pair of hiking boots.
Little Bird at the Appalachian Cafe.
One of the many ceiling tiles with hikers names on it at the Appalachian Cafe.
Dad signed for Buffalo Bobby.
Trolley Stop puts his last mark on the trail.
No longer Trolley Stop (the name stays with the trail), Roger and Jane at the Appalachian Cafe
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Monday, October 3 - Day 193 - Mile 2181 - Baxter Peak
Today at 11:39 AM Double Check & I reaches the KATAHDIN sign at the summit of Baxter Peak.
Quite a climb... fitting of our experiences on the AT.
Jane & Joe (Double Checks Dad) met us a the end of our return hike with cheers, signs and champagne.
Ron, Julie and Dagny made the climb to the top on another arduous trail with the assistance of Hopper & Bismarck. We all met at the top. Julie spread Bobby's ashes on the approach to the Knife Edge trail. The Knife Edge is the most difficult decent and the one Buffalo Bobby wanted to do. He tried, unsuccessfully, to talk his hiking partners to do the same. I told him I'd take a tram down, if I could, after I touched the sign.
I'm sure all three were exhausted from their hike but happy they did it for their Dad,
This has been an adventure I'll never forget and which will have a major impact on my life going forward.
Thanks so much to all who followed this adventure. My Daughter Beth did a great job of organizing the web site while taking care of her family. Thanks Beth!
I'll be doing a couple of additional posts to thank all those who supported us and what worked and didn't gear wise.
Otherwise as I started tonight's note...IT'S DONE!
Love, peace, joy & hope,
Rainbow and firestarter. They were with Buffalo Bobby on Thursday.
Double Check and Trolley Stop!
It is with great pride that share these photos sent to me by my father and mother today. They did it!
Double Check reaches the summit
Trolley Stop finally stops!
Julie, Rob, and Dagny celebrate in memory of their dad, Buffalo Bobby.
Two weary hikers
Trolley Stop wants to know where the beer is.
Ahhh, champagne will do!
Wet boots, wet socks, doesn't matter anymore!
YOU DID IT, DAD!!!!!!
Double Check & I did the last section of the trail from Abol Bridge to the base of the climb up Katahdin.
Only about 5 more miles...straight up.
The weather was misty and overcast most of the day so we missed out seeing the brilliance of the fall colors on this beautiful section of trail.
We had two fords, which for me, were difficult. In fact I lost one of my hiking poles in the first. These were evidently possible rock hops before the heavy rain we got yesterday but today they were flowing strong.
Double Check's Dad took us to the trailhead early this morning and Jane picked us up around 1:00 PM. Pretty easy day.
Tomorrow several thru hikers will summit along with us. Buffalo Bobby's three children will summit for their Dad, as well, with the help of Hopper & Bismarck. We'll all hopefully meet afterwards for a traditional ice cream back at the Appalachian Cafe and write our names on the wall.
The end of this adventure is at hand. News of the final climb to follow.
We leave at 5:30 AM so sleep is in order.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Restless night but lots of positive input from around the world on Buffalo Bobby to read in email and on the blog. I've heard from many of our long term and short term hiker friends and others who were touched by Bobby along this long & narrow strip of wilderness.
This morning Jane & I had breakfast at a restaurant, The Appalachian Cafe, owned by a woman hiker named Jamie who was hiking the trail on Thursday and had met the three of us as we began our hike out of the White House Landing. We also met several other hikers who knew Bobby at the Restaurant.
Tonight a small crowd of us, including three of Buffalo Bobby's children, Rob, Dagny and Julie, will gather for dinner here in Millinocket.
Frank arrived this afternoon along with a bottle of bourbon which was greatly appreciated. Mid afternoon Rob, Dagny & Julie arrived and joined Sue & Frank, Double Check & his Dad Joe and Jane & I at the hotel where we traded Buffalo Bobby stories for a couple of hours. Double Check had made enlargements of a couple of recent photos of Bobby that he passed along. We them set off for dinner where we were joined by Hopper & Bismarck.
Shortly after we started we were joined by Rainbow & Fire Starter who had stayed with Buffalo Bobby through the entire afternoon into the evening Thursday comforting Bobby and arranging and assisting with his move out of the 100 Mile Wilderness. No small task! Buffalo Bobby's family, Double Check and I can't thank them enough for their efforts.
Again the 13 of us shared our stories around the table filled with thoughts of Bobby. It was wonderful to have had the opportunity to share this night with some of Bobby's family and friends.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, Double Check & I will once again get back on the trail and finish the one last section prior to our climb of Katahdin on Monday or later in the week.
Peace, Love, Joy & Hope,
|Celebrating Buffalo Bobby's life with stories from some of those who loved him.|
Saturday, October 1, 2011
We continue to get photos of Buffalo Bobby along the trail. I will add them to this post as they come in.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Double check (far left) joined when Guardian had to leave the trail. Buffalo Bobby, standing, and Trolley Stop, far right.
Buffalo Bobby hiking in Maine
Received the news today at 3:00 PM that Buffalo Bobby had a massive stroke and passed away yesterday, September 29th.
Double Check and I are still trying to deal with this news. We thought for sure that Buffalo Bobby would meet us at Abol Bridge and ask..."WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP!"
Bobby made this hike what it has been for me. His knowledge of all the fun places on the trail made it a parade of interesting sites, sights, and people. His outgoing inquisitive nature was the perfect balance against my somewhat reserved approach. We talked a lot on the trail, particularly in the mornings, and then separated and hiked alone for long segments...me in my dreamworld and Bobby with his IPod listening to Christian music and the Bible. Guardian always wondered how often one could listen to the Bible.
Bobby was a joyful, fun-filled person who brought light to every person he met. He always left a note in the shelter that started with..."Buffalo Bobby sighting..."
Double Check & I will finish our hike over the next few days and slowly return to normal life with memories of the fun, and sometimes crazy, adventures of Buffalo Bobby.
Today Heaven doesn't know what a force has hit it. "WHERE'S MY COFFEE?". Even Jesus, Mary and Joseph won't be able to ignore his donkey call.
So long friend.
Today's hike was punctuated with attempts to find out what happened to Buffalo Bobby.
The hike itself was relatively easy and we got our first real clear view of Katahdin. We arrived at Abol Bridge about 3:00 PM, arranged for tent sites and started to set up camp when we finally heard the news about Bobby.
We then headed straight for Millinocket where we are tonight with family.
Not much else I can say. Bobby did warn me that every day can't be perfect.
|Buffalo Bobby at Antler campsite. September 27, 2011|
Thursday, September 29 - Day 189 - Mile 2150.9 - Rainbow Stream Lean-to
NOTE: Just after making this entry two hikers, Shotgun and Rodie, came into camp and let me know that Buffalo Bobby was found in some distress on the trail. Two other hikers, Fire Starter and Rainbow were with Bobby and assisting with his transfer to a hospital in Minninocket. More news on Bobby as soon as we know.
We had a wonderful time at White Mountain Landing Hostel. Breakfast this morning was fabulous. Bill & Linda couldn't have done more for us from the moment we arrived until we left with our packs bulging with food.
At today's start we were informed that rain was likely by noon and then continue into the evening. Our goal was to get to this shelter before the rain, which was ambitious because we didn't get started until 9:00 AM. As so often happens all we had was a very minor sprinkle and then the sun was out all afternoon. It's now 6:25 and still no rain.
The hike was fairly easy with the exception of a couple of climbs. We made camp before 5:00 PM
At this point we're only about 30 miles from the end. Tomorrow we're shooting for Abol Bridge where we'll make reservations for The Birches. The Birches is the last stop before climbing Katahdin and we can only stay there one night so our reservation depends on the weather.
Today we could actually see Katahdin from the top of Nesuntabunt Mountain. This was my first sighting!
More news tomorrow as we approach the prize.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
|Menu at the White House Landing|
I remember Bobby ordering a salad and he was given a bowl so he could go up and get his salad from the salad bar. Hiking had made him very hungry, and he was ready to eat. He waited and waited until the waitress came back and asked if he could get his salad. Little did he know he could have gotten it the whole time! That was a funny memory.
He is so nice and has a warm smile that could brighten anyone's day. I think thats why he, guardian, and trolley stop "clicked" so well. I can just see them, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" hiking up the trail and having a good ole time joking with each other. Haha, it makes me laugh just to think about it!
When I learned he had passed i knew he did so doing what he loved, fulfilling his dream, living his passion.
It was like losing a friend, a friend who could meet you once and have a lasting impression forever.
-Emily Crabtree, 13 - Trolley Stop's Grand-daughter
|Guardian, Jack, Trolley Stop, and Buffalo Bobby|
Friday, September 30, 2011
Link to News Story
|Buffalo Bobby (Rob Yerike) and Trolley Stop (Roger Gorey) entering Maine|
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28 - Day 188 - Mile 2135.0 - Logging Road - the White House Landing Wilderness Camps.
Wonderful, beautiful, spectacular morning on Jo-Mary lake. The sunrise on the lake was something to behold.
We set off on a short (7 mile) hike to this oasis in the wilderness to spend the day eating & relaxing as well as resupplying a bit. This place is terrific. Right on a big lake. When you get to a boat dock off the trail you blow a horn and the owner comes to get you in a boat and takes you and gear over to the compound.
We took a shower, hand washed our clothes, had a big hamburger for lunch and homemade pizza for dinner. This afternoon was sunny and warm so I spent an hour or so out in the sun resting by the lake.
Life is good!!!
Tomorrow, after breakfast, we start to tackle the last 46 miles. Rain may be coming in so that could slow us down a bit. We have just finished 4 perfect weather days so certainly can't complain.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
When scheduling things on the Trail, it is the Trail that decides whether it will work or not, not the hikers. Dad (Trolley Stop) has been in contact, and they have pushed thier end date out to October 3rd, or 4th. Lets keep sending the positive vibes there way!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Up very early and started our day with a difficult ford right off the bat. The day improved dramatically weather wise and trail wise.
We had a very pleasant 16 mile hike and are only 52 miles from finishing but our date to summit Katahdin may need to slip a day or so depending on our ability to cover these last miles and get a decent day to summit.
We're camped at a beautiful site tonight right on lower Jo Mary Lake.
My battery is almost gone so I'll have to elaborate more when I get recharged.
Monday, September 26 - Day 186 - Mile 2113.2 - East Branch Lean-to
Great campsite last night. We did have a very heavy dew so the tents were soaked but still a great rest.
We started climbing right away up West Peak, then Hay Mountain and finally White Cap Mountain. Only about a 1,200' elevation gain overall but lots of ups & downs. Once we were over White Cap there was a long down to the next shelter, which had many rock steps in place that Double Check thought may have been done years ago by the CCC.
We were then treated to some level walking and one of the most beautiful forest areas we've seen. It really had an enchanted feel to it. It was so nice we took a break just to enjoy it.
We hit the shelter we're at tonight early this afternoon. There's a ford right after this and some climbs with no camping mentioned for miles so Double Check suggested we call it a day.
It's been a great afternoon. Easy access to water, beautiful shelter and nice tenting areas. This gave us time to dry our stuff out, get something to eat and take a nap before dinner. It's now only 3:45 PM, everything is done and I'm ready for a nice afternoon rest. Only 3.3 more miles and we'll be halfway through the 100 Mile Wilderness. More important this first half, going north, is reported to be the toughest part. We'll see over the next few days.
6:30 - Dinners done. Fun speaking with all the young hikers still coming through. Most have chosen to do the ford tonight and camp somewhere on the other side of the river.
It was a beautiful evening but the sun is already down and night is falling.
Hoping for a nice day again tomorrow. We hope to be able to do 16 miles to Antlers Campsite. That will be a big day for us but the elevations look good. More news on that tomorrow.
Double check in the 100 mile wood
Trolley stop in the 100 mile wood
Buffalo Bobby in the 100 mile wood
The enchanted forest
Sunday, September 25 - Day 185 - Mile 2104.2 - Sidney Tappan Campsite
Today begins my 7th month on the trail and the last full week of hiking before finishing.
Despite a crowded shelter last night, once I was in my sleeping bag, I went right to sleep and was very comfortable. Packing this morning was a challenge with all the wet stuff all over and, of course, putting on wet clothes, socks & boots is always a bit difficult. Thankfully it wasn't cold.
Our hike started with a steep down right out of the shelter area and through bogs with broken or sunken bog boards. My already wet boots and socks were completely soaked within 5 minutes of starting. This was followed by an unbelievable steep downward rock scramble. Thankfully Buffalo Bobby found his way through because the way was not marked. Then we traveled over the usual rock, root and bog filled trail until our one ford of the day at the West Branch Pleasant River. This was a pretty wide river crossing and definitely a boots off ford.
Then, miraculously, the trail turned decent for the next five miles or so. After one more slip and a boot soaking in a stream just before Carl A. Newhall Lean-to we took a break. Two miles later we were at this campsite, which after last nights shelter, seems like paradise.
We all cooked together and are all in our tents for the night at 6:15. Other hikers will likely come in but were done.
Thoughts now turn to this last week or so. Only a few more nights to sleep in our tents and days if hiking. It's hard to believe that we've been out here 6 months and hiked over 2,000 miles. I've never been to Maine before but now I've walked over 200 miles into the interior.
Lots of fun fun things to think about as I fall asleep.
Love, peace, joy & Hope,
Saturday, September 24 - Day 184 - Mile 2092.5 - Chairback Gap Lean-to
Lots of rain this morning.
Today marks my last day of 6 months of hiking. (Double Check marked his 6th month anniversary on April 21st and Buffalo Bobby will mark his on March 28th). Six months ago today I was at Jill & Crag's still sorting through stuff in preparation for my trip, visiting a doctor because an allergy was bugging me and getting a haircut. The next morning Jane, Jill & Jack accompanied me to the visitors center to sign in and begin my trek up the approach trail. I only made it a little over 5 miles before I thought I had had enough and checked into the Hike Inn. My pack was unbalanced, I didn't have much of a clue about backpacking or the myriad things a thru hiker should know. It rained for six and a half days and I wasn't smart enough to come in out of the rain. Initially I did 5 or 6 mile days, finished happy but worn out.
Today I can get up at 5:00 AM, pack in the dark, hike and climb all day without breathing hard and enjoy an evening at camp, write my blog and not go into dreamland until 7:00 PM or so. The body is an amazing machine that works well and comes up to the task when challenged. I don't believe I've ever worked so hard or enjoyed it more.
Over the next week or so we'll wrap up this adventure and slowly return to our "normal" lives, family and friends, likely changed in ways we can't anticipate now.
Tonight, in the first half of the "100 Mile Wilderness", we are now jammed in this shelter looking forward to the promised easier terrain about 25 miles ahead and some sun tomorrow. The "Victory March". as Circuit Rider calls it, does have it's challenges. In fairness he did allude to some difficulties in the first half of the wilderness walk..and they're here.
Today was quite nasty weather wise thus the crowded shelter. We had heavy rain overnight and steady rain all morning tapering off to light rain and then a fine mist tonight. The trail today was particularly difficult due to wet rocks & roots, endless deep bogs, broken bog boards and steep climbs. It was a long tough day with short mileage.
The weather promises to be sunny tomorrow. Perhaps we'll have a chance to dry out. Today reminded me of my first week on the trail with all these wet conditions. We've been spoiled with pretty good weather while actually hiking so a day like today is that much harder.
Anyway we're chipping away at the final 100 miles.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Friday, September 23 - Day 183 - Mile 2081.6 - no change - ZERO at Shaws on Monson, ME
Once again we shouldn't listen to the weather report. Today is beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky but we still took a ZERO to get reenergized.
Another wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes, eggs over easy, bacon, sausage, etc., etc.
Then a bit of cleaning & sorting gear, calling home and now I'm at the Monson Library. Not exactly what you would picture a library like but they have everything I need including an Internet connection. Looks like the SPOT is still working. I don't set it off generally if we're staying indoors somewhere but I see it shows our last few locations between Harrison's and Monson. When we stop tomorrow night in the 100 mile wilderness I'll set it off again.
It's been fun staying in Monson. Choices are easy since there's only one of everything...restaurant, general store, gas station and antique shop. This town is truly on the edge of of the wilderness many miles from anywhere but a key milestone for thru hikers. As they say..."it's not the end of the Earth but you can see it from here".
I saw an update from Brother of the Wind. He went through the Mahoosic Notch in early Maine, had the same opinion of the experience that I did and decided to come to Monson and hike to Katahdin before the weather gets worse. He'll do the missed sections when he can. He left here Sept 18th so we only missed him by a couple of days. Many hikers are getting creative to finish portions of their hike. (Remember... access to Katahdin ends October 15th. Maybe earlier if the weather turns bad).
The L.E.G. had a good lunch out in the hostels yard and tonight we'll go to the bluegrass jam at the country store. It's interesting that bluegrass and country music, that I associate with the South, is so big up here. This is likely the big event of the weekend so I glad we're here to enjoy it.
The jam session wad terrific. Like stepping back into the 50's. They did all the standards. Not really bluegrass but lots of fun. They had a fiddle, banjo, bass, 3 guitars, harmonica, spoons & good singers.
Now we're back doing final prep for the morning. After breakfast we'll be shuttled back to the point we started from yesterday. First thing we'll face is a good climb.
Once again it's beyond hiker midnight so it's off to sleep.
Foggy morning. Hopefully this will burn off quickly. After today's hike we'll be just under 100 miles remaining.
It's early and we're packed just waiting for breakfast. The way breakfast works is that it's an all you can eat, but they ask you specify 1,2 or 3 portions initially so food doesn't get wasted.
After breakfast we'll head north to a 1 mile trail access about 15 trail miles from here and hike south back to Monson.
More news later.
Breakfast was fabulous. French Toast, eggs to order, home fries, bacon, sausage, juice & coffee.
We then headed out for our slack pack of the first 15 miles of the "100 Mile Wilderness".
I had a great day with Double Check. Buffalo Bobby decided to do an alternate hike and meet up with us at the end of the day. The day was foggy with light rain or threatening rain all day. As we finished our hike the weather really turned miserable with cold and rain into this evening.
We had several river crossings today but only two that required we take our boots off and ford. We both made the crossings with no problems.
I did manage to slip and land in a mud bog today. No damage done but I was covered with mud. I was very happy to be coming back to the hostel where I could take a shower and clean my clothes & gear. With all the mud bogs we've slogged through since entering Vermont, this was bound to happen.
We've heard that the first half of the 100 Mile Wilderness was rough with lots of rocks, roots, bogs, ups, downs and generally tough hiking. The first 15 miles have lived up to the reputation. We arrived back at the hostel tired, dirty, hungry and ready to take a break but happy to have done the hike.
Buffalo Bobby took care of the wash and we set out for dinner. Another great dinner and once again met Hopper and Bismarck, who were staying at the laundry/pub hostel, along with a host of others we know.
Today I met Peru, a lovely girl I last saw at the Captain's Hiker Feast. Her claim to fame is that she's hiked the whole trail in a dress. I also saw PC, a girl I've seen on and off since the first week of the hike Double Check also met some old friends this morning. This is one of the advantages of hiking south I do believe this will be (really) our last slack pack. Not many days left.
Tomorrow we're going to likely take a zero. The weather is predicted to be bad and we don't need to be in the woods in the rain if we can help it. Should the weather change we may take another look at hiking but likely not.
If we're in town tomorrow night there's a bluegrass jam at the local general store that we all will go to. Should be fun.
Saturday we should be back on track to finish. Final date is still uncertain but looks like very early October depending on weather conditions at Katahdin.
Well the pint of Ben & Jerry's is finished so it must be time to turn in.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Wonderful long sleep/rest in camp last night. Up early in cold weather. Needed both mittens & gloves to get going.
We only had 9 miles to do into Monson so it went quick and we were at the road to hitch at about noon. Only a few minutes after we arrived a fellow, Ed, dropped a couple of folks off and offered to take us into town right to the hostel, Shaws, we're staying at.
Shaws is a great place to stay. We'll get breakfast in the morning and may slack pack the first 15 miles of the 100 mile wilderness. It'll be a long day with a mile added to get to the trail and 4 fords but worth a try.
Tonight we went to a local place for dinner that was a combination laundry & pub. Doesn't sound too inviting but it actually was good. We all had pot roast dinners that were huge and delicious. We couldn't even do dessert.
Unfortunately phone service remains inconsistent, going from good to none at will, so it's still hard to communicate with the outside world.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Great hike today. Almost 16 miles which included two fords and the usual wet conditions on the trail.
The day started off overcast and chilly. We did get a bit of rain but not enough to spoil the day. The sun even came out for a bit this afternoon.
Tonight is our last night in the woods before hitting Monson, ME. We'll clean up and resupply for the 100 mole wilderness which we should be well into by this weekend.
It's hard to believe we've made it this far.
The shelter area tonight is much nicer than we had in our stealth camp last evening. It's only 4:00 PM so we have lots of time to rest and cook before bedtime. It's getting dark before 7:00 PM so we're getting to bed earlier & earlier. Evidently 6 minutes earlier each night.
I'm going to start my dinner and then relax and prepare for our hike into Monson on the morning.
|Tenting at Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to Area|
The cabin at Harrison's was great. That's likely as close to living like a north woodsman as I'm going to get.
The breakfast was awesome. 12 pancakes with strawberries, apples and blueberries baked in topped with powdered sugar & maple syrup along with link sausages, eggs to order, juice & coffee. There was nothing left as we set out for our hike.
The day started out very cold. I wore my fleece and down jacket as we started our hike. After about a half hour I took off the down jacket but still needed the fleece. By the time we arrived at the point to cross the Kennebec River the fleece came off and the day wad glorious. Not a cloud in the sky and the river was calm.
Six of us arrived at the same time to catch Hillbilly Dave and his red canoe. He could take us two at a time with our gear and Buffalo Bobby and me were last with me paddling and Hillbilly Dave steering.
This 100 yards or so of river will be the only section of the trail that we won't have walked. The river was 8' deep in places so there was no way to ford even if we wanted to.
The hike was wonderful today mostly because of the beautiful weather. We still had lots of mud/bogs to slog through and a pretty steep 1,000' climb but overall a great hike.
We did just over 15 miles...a good day...and had to ford a river just before finding a campsite. (The water was cold but likely a bit less so than it would be in the morning. We do have two river crossings to ford tomorrow.
Our tent sites are scattered and very tight. We're just stealth camping near the trail.
Just under 140 miles to go! Today, September 19th, had been our target finishing goal based on average mileage done before hurricane Irene and the rough terrain of New Hampshire and Maine shattered that target. Hopefully we're now less than two weeks away if all continues to go well,
Peace, joy, love & happiness,
|Breakfast at Harrison's|
|Trolley Stop and Double Check wait to cross the Kennebec River|
Sunday, September 18 - Day 178 - Mile 2026.2 - Harrison's Pierce Pond Camps
Temperature in the 20's this morning. Frost on everything.
We're back under our own steam once again with full packs. After one last breakfast in Stratton we caught our shuttle back to the trailhead and we started our 170 mile "Victory March". One hiker called this section the trail of tears because so many are sad to see this adventure coming to an end. At this point we're trying to take it easy and enjoy this last piece but at the same time I'm ready to finish and get back to family & friends. Six months is a long time to be away. The trail has been very good to us. There may be a bit of adjustment as we reenter the real world, especially where food is concerned, but I'm ready.
Great hike today over muddy/bogs but relatively easy terrain for Maine. The weather is even nicer than yesterday, as the sun warmed us up, so another perfect hiking day. Almost 14 miles.
This camp is another Little Abner type place but the cabins are great. Mine is fronted by a river and is very comfortable. No electric or heat but it does have a wood stove that I'm sitting by now, to take the chill off, and a Coleman lantern.
Tomorrow morning we'll be served a 12 pancake breakfast with eggs done to order, bacon, juice and coffee. That should power us for at least the morning.
I'll let you know how our canoe trip over the Kennebec goes on my next update.
It's very cold outside and starting to get dark so I think I'll get to bed.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Saturday, September 17 - Day 177 - Mile 2012.3 - Long Falls Dam Road
Absolutely beautiful day in Maine. This had to be one of the best hikes of the trip. The trail was good, the views were amazing and we were finished and on our way back to town for dinner by 4:00 PM.
We had a wonderful dinner with appetizers, a couple of beers and fried cheese cake & ice cream with blueberry sauce for dessert. We then resupplied once more for the next few days and returned to the bunk house for our last night here.
Tonight the place is more than full and we have a lot to do to get ready to set out in the morning with out full packs again.
Quick summary of what's left to do in the last 170 miles or so:
Tomorrow we hope to get to a campground a few miles before the Kennebec River where we'll catch a canoe to cross on Monday morning.
Then it will be on to Munson before the end of the week, a ZERO and then start the "100 Mile Wilderness", do another days hike to Katahdin and finally the summit -hopefully on a Class 1 day. Sounds simple, right?
Still no firm date to finish.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
Trolley Stop on top of Little Bigelow - Big Bigelow in the background
Trolley Stop on Little Bigelow Peak
Buffalo Bobby & Double Check on Little Bigelow Peak
Double Check explains the purpose of the 2" x 6" white marks on the trail
Emily's picture for Double Check
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16 - Day 176 - Mile 2003.5 - Safford Brook Trail
Today begins my 25th week on the trail and we broke 2,000 miles.
Leisurely start to the day. Up at 5:45 and off to breakfast at 6:45 (Circuit Rider & Sherlock treated) then on to the trailhead for our slack pack. Today we began the Bigelows.
We hiked over South Horn and Bigellow West Peak and Avery Peak. It was very cold today with snow flurries this morning and ice on the mountain tops. The wind was very strong but the views were spectacular and plentiful. The best to date.
Passing the 2,000 mile mark was likely the highlight of the day. We all posed for photos and then moved on to stay warm.
Tonight we went to a barbecue place in Rangeley for diner with Circuit Rider, Sherlock, Sue (the hostel owner) and Sharon (A day hiker) Hopeful and two other hikers were there when we arrived. A very pleasant surprise.
Last night we had this great bunkhouse to ourselves but there's a crowd tonight so it will likely be a bit noisy later than our normal bedtimes.
Although the day was cold the sun came out and warmed us up a bit. I needed a warm pullover all day.
Tomorrow we slack again. Because the trail access is remote we have to hike 2.2 miles before we even get to the trail. We had to do that today as well so we'll have done 4.4 miles that don't count.
All and all today was a great day
Peace Love, & joy,
Friday, September 16, 2011
Good night camping and off early this morning for an overnight stay in Stratton. Right out of the camp site we started a dramatic up for a couple of hours. Rain then set in and we walked in on & off light rain for the rest of our short hike. By 12:15 we were out of the woods waiting for our shuttle to a hostel. First stop was a diner for a late breakfast / lunch. Really good food. We then resupplied and got a shuttle to the bunk house.
The bunk house is one of the nicest on the trail so far. It's a nicely renovated barn with great facilities. It's raining pretty hard now and cold so once again our timing is impeccable getting out of the woods. Can our good fortune hold out for a couple more weeks ? Sure! Keep those prayers coming.
We're watching the weather and the forecast is good, after tonight, until Wednesday.
Emily sent some very cute doctored photos of Guardian, Buffalo Bobby and me. I'll send them to Beth and see if she can work with them to put on the blog.
Tonight we hope to have dinner with Circuit Rider and Sherlock. I think they're slack packing today. News on that later.
7:30 - Sue, the owner of this hostel, is cooking dinner for us all tonight and we've arranged two days of slack packing with her for tomorrow & Saturday. So...the magic continues. We'll be able to spend three nights here out of the woods.
10:21 - Way past hiker midnight but a great diner, fun conversation and homemade blueberry pie. Double Check & I helped Circuit Rider with set up and doing the dishes and we all readied our gear for tomorrow's slack pack.
Forecasted good weather, slack pack and another night in this terrific hostel. Can it get any better on the trail?
Tomorrow we'll break the 2,000 mile mark.
Starting to anticipate our first glimpse of Katahdin later thus month.
Thanks to all who have stayed with us through this journey.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
|Guardian as see by Emily|
|Trolley Stop as seen by Emily|
|Buffalo Bobby as seen by Emily|
Had probably one of the best nights sleep in my tent ever last night. I had a site on pine needles that was wonderful. Actually another hiker, Rain Gear, pointed me to it since he was staying in the shelter.
We had a good rain overnight so I woke to a wet tent but a beautiful morning. The weather called for rain today but it must have come in overnight. We had a great hiking day. We did a bit over 14 miles which as you know by now is great for Maine.
I spent a good part if the morning wishing I had a couple of Janel's breakfast sandwiches. Boy, were we spoiled!
The hike was, for the most part straightforward...up and down mountains and through mud bogs. We did have a long rock scramble down at the end of the day followed by a river to be forded. Double Check & Buffalo Bobby were able to rock hop but I took my boots off and forded. Really didn't want to get my boots wet. We had an earlier ford today where we all rock hopped but only because Rain Gear got there before us and was able to point out the wobbly rock that caused him to go in. He was trying to dry his boots when we showed up.
This campsite tonight is excellent. Tent platforms and a fantastic water source only a few yards away.
Got a note from Brother of the Wind that he's back on the trail as of today. We'll check his blog to see how he's doing as he follows behind us.
Tomorrow we hit Stratton to resupply and spend the night.
Life is good!
Up and out early again today. Janel cooked us all breakfast sandwiches. A wonderful send off after a perfect long weekend. Silas even was up to see us off. Nick had us to the trailhead by 6:30 and we started our climb up Saddleback Mountain which took us three hours. We then hiked over The Horn and Saddleback Junior before arriving at the shelter. Buffalo Bobby and I are tenting and Double Check decided to use the shelter. Bugs are no longer an issue so shelters are now more comfortable.
The hike today was full of challenges. Not only big up hill climbs but steep rock scrambles on the downs. There were a couple that, to me, rivaled the Mahoosic notch but they were short.
The weather was good and views were all spectacular 360 degree. We could easily see where we'd been and where we were going.
During today's hike we broke the 90% completion point. We'll also hit the 2000 mile mark sometime this week.
All is good.
|Heading back to the trail|
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Nick and Janel were up and ready for our 6:00 AM departure this morning. Janel got the word that her breakfast sandwiches were terrific so she made extras this morning. Happily fed we headed of to the trailhead.
The trail today was the easiest in Maine to this point. We actually finished over an hour early. While we waited for Nick to pick us up several hikers we knew came out of the woods behind us including Circuit Rider and Sherlock who are always joy to see. We had a lot of fun catching up with them.
Nick arrived right on time and drove us home to another wonderful dinner, desert and assortment of food and snacks for our hike tomorrow. It's going to be hard to leave in the morning especially since we'll have what will likely be the heaviest pack weight of the trip. In addition to all the good stuff Janel & Nick provided we are fully resupplied for the next leg of the hike.
This could not have been a more enjoyable weekend. Not only were the accommodations and company great but the weather was perfect. Don't know how Nick & Jamel arranged even that but after watching these two for a few days there's no doubt anything is possible. We can never thank them, or any of the wonderful folks who have helped us so much, enough.
Circuit Rider gave us great encouragement about the remainder of the trip. He's done that section many times. He said that after the Bigelows the trail becomes a victory march to the end. I'm taking him at his word! We only have about 50 miles before the Bigelows are done but some big climbs between here and there beginning with Saddleback in the morning.
Up, up and away!
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
|Buffalo Bobby and Double Check at the AT sign on Route 4|
|Trolley Stop and Double Check at the sign|
Monday, September 12, 2011
10th anniversary of 9/11.
The day dawned sunny and cool. (43 degrees) Nick & Janel had a very full day so they gave us their car to use and we were off to resupply.
We had a great time. First a substantial breakfast then to an outfitter and on to Wal-Mart to resupply. I even had my hair cut, which hasn't happened since our visit with Teri & Jon in July.
We covered a lot of territory and enjoyed beautiful landscapes at every turn on this picture postcard day. The area Nick & Janel live in is amazing. We of course stopped at McDonalds for a shake and finished our excursion by visiting Rangeley and another outfitter finishing with a light lunch. Since we didn't hike today there's a good chance we gained a pound or two.
We returned home mid afternoon, packed new supplies and cleaned gear on their front porch in wonderful sunshine.
Janel gave us a tour of leftovers this morning so we were able to take care of ourselves (more or less) for dinner.
The family came back from a reception with even more food for us hungry hikers.
Once again, later in the evening Janel laid out an array of snacks and sandwiches for our slack pack tomorrow that would warm the hearts of any hiker. She even baked a loaf of bread. All of this was after a full family day out with church and an afternoon reception. Whew! Makes hiking look easy.
We've been so comfortable here. I can't imagine anything more that could have been done for us.
Tomorrow we'll have what is likely our last slack pack of the hike from Route 17 to Route 4. Should be a great day. This will then leave us on our own for the final 220 miles of this adventure. I know this leaves all of you following this blog with concerns about our welfare now that our long string of wonderful hosts has finally run out. We're concerned too, but as Buffalo Bobby says...every day can't be perfect. (we've been doing pretty good though for the last 171 days)
With thoughts if that I'll call it a day.
Love, Peace, Joy & Hope,
|Our hosts for the great long weekend - Silas, Janel, Adelaid, Cody, and Nick Baser|
|Third pair of boots meet their end|