Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 179- It Feels Like Christmas Eve; Katahdin Eve

Late last night some hikers went by with headlamps, since my site was right off the trail they illuminated my tent. A few months ago this would have worried me and I would have wondered who they were all night; now, I realize they are just pushing miles to get to Katahdin. I fell back asleep rather quickly. This morning as I packed up I put on layers since I knew even though I was cold now, after 10 minutes of walking, I'd be sweating my ass off. As I was about to leave, two hikers came down behind me; people! It was a face I recognized, but not someone I knew. We introduced ourselves and talked for a bit and I now know them as Smurf and Smokey The Beard. I have been following Smurf for awhile on Instagram, they have always been a few steps ahead of me so it was nice to see what to expect. It's pretty cool when you realize someone you feel like you know, eventually you really do. The terrain out of the Wilderness was rocky and full of roots but I knew in a short time I would be out. I saw the sign that I had seen 9 days before at the start, which warned hikers the 100 Mile Wilderness was nothing to be unprepared for. It was a great feeling. I hadn't heard a car, or seen a paved road in 9 days and it was like the light at the end of the tunnel. Not saying I had a horrible time, I had a great time, but still the accomplishment was exciting. The woods parted and there, in front of me, was a paved road. I walked on the pavement and saw an SUV drive by, then a logging truck, and another logging truck. I walked further to find the Abol bridge, one of the most photogenic spots for Katahdin; and it was cloudy. You could barely see the mountain and yet it was still beautiful. I walked across the bridge and found a few hikers at the Abol bridge campground store. Later I learned that Brace and Fruit Punch were the mysterious hikers of last night and pushed to the bridge to sleep. I went in the store to charge my phone but no service, I bought a Milkyway, and two Angry Orchards. I asked the cashier if he had a pen I could have, he said I could use one but I couldn't have it. I explained how my pen stopped working the other night and I couldn't write in my journal, he had no mercy. He said they had no pens and people keep stealing them, I looked at the cylindrical pen holder and asked if I could buy one, do you sell pens? He reached in the drawer and gave me one. I left my phone charging and went outside to hang with the guys. I ate my Milkyway and sat and hung out for awhile. The skies cleared up and it was a gorgeous day, we all walked back over to the bridge to see Katahdin, and oh did we see it! The sight of the water, the fall colors, and this giant mountain was amazing; not to mention we would be climbing it tomorrow. We took turns taking photos and I jumped up on the railing to get me in the photo too. We were all so pumped, smiles on our faces and talking with people driving and stopping to take a photo. I was surprised the amount of traffic that was going through. I've seen far less cars on a paved main road than on this partial dirt road. I went back to make some lunch before heading out, I busted out the Jetboil and made ramen and tuna. The guys sat at the campground to eat which I didn't understand, I walked back over the bridge and sat and enjoyed my lunch with a view. We were here for a couple hours and the guys were planning on heading out around 1:00 or so, I knew I was slower and needed to head out earlier for the remaining 9 miles or so. There was a girl there with her father, he met her and brought her McDonalds. She has been hiking with her dog, and dogs aren't allowed in Baxter Park so he came to get the dog. They were pretty cool and would be planning on hiking with her tomorrow. I gathered my phone and charger and packed away the two beers, and headed on to the trailhead up the gravel road. It was like a dream entering the park, it was so well groomed and taken care of. I got to the kiosk to register at the Birches for tonight, they only take 12 thru-hikers and I was number 5. I walked on and was excited I would get to see Ladybug and Bullseye. The walk continued to be fantastic, flat walking by the riverbank. I came across a ranger eating lunch and he asked if I registered for the Birches and if I knew Fifty. I told him I do, and last saw him yesterday; seems his mother and grandmother are waiting to meet him at the campground and he's not there yet. Further up the trail there was a view called Niagra Falls so I took off my pack to check it out. It was pretty cool, a huge waterfall. Then across the way I saw families and day hikers; so weird when this happens. You feel so lost in the woods and alone (metaphorically speaking) and then realize your not. I went back to my pack and found Didgeridude, we talked for a minute and went on. The blazes and signs were a little confusing ahead and I ended up taking a blue blaze to some cabins. I found families unpacking the back of their Ford Explorers and a great view of Katahdin, but where did the trail go from here? I then realized I wasn't on trail and retraced my steps back to the junction. Back on trail I was thankful for my little side adventure view. Baxter park was gorgeous and well maintained but before I knew it I was .1 away from the campground. I walked down the dirt road and found Ladybug and Bullseye sitting at a campsite, I joined them and found out they bought this site for $30 instead of paying $10 for the Birches. They asked if I wanted to stay on their site too and I decided to stay. Didgeridude did the same, as well as Zig which I haven't seen since the first night, and eventually later, Apollo. Which meant we saved money by doing this, were right near the water source, didn't have to walk .2 off to the Birches, and were right here for the morning! As I went to go tell the registration I heard Ladybug yell, tell them you are on site 22, of course I am. For those who don't know, my favorite number is 22 so that was an added bonus to my smile. When I got back; I set up, popped open an Angry Orchard, and started dinner. Fifty's mother and grandmother were staying on a site across from us. Seems they were sleeping in their car with no blankets, food, or drinks. The Ranger suggested they go into town and get a hotel but they resisted, seems they didn't want to miss him passing through. We started a fire on our site and sat and talked over dinner, at a picnic table! The joke of the night was the fact that we were not car camping. Because if we were, we'd have a cooler full of beers, another cooler with kabobs and real food, chairs with backs, music, and a blow up mattress. Man I miss car camping. We told stories of our hikes for awhile by the fire and then all turned in for a restless night of sleep due to the excitement the morning would bring. Smokey The Beard gave me his Sharpie so in my tent I was able to finish my frisbee. I didn't bother writing in my journal, I laid down and tried to go to sleep.


  1. Great post. Have followed you on your blog and instagram. Can't wait for your last post! Congrats!

  2. Thank you Stacey for following!