Day 164, Monday-9/14/09

Posted September 28, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 10.4 miles hiked, 2178.2 miles from Springer

Up for breakfast at the Appalachian Trail Cafe and then on to Baxter State Park. It looked like a decent day until we drove towards the mountain. There were a lot of clouds and it was pretty cool, but some blue skies filtered into the mix as well. No matter the weather, up we went….. Limbo, my Dad (Dave), and I.

About two and a half miles of the beginning of the hike is below treeline, and then you get above the trees and do a mile or so of intense rock scrambling. When we reached the top of the treeline, we left the warmer air behind us. The wind was pretty lively, too.

About half way up the mountain, my Dad decided it would be best to turn around rather than be tortured by his fear of heights. The climb was a lot more serious than he (or us) expected so he headed back down. After we said our goodbyes we had an intense session of bouldering straight up the mountain and then about 1 mile from the summit we reached the tablelands which was much easier walking.

The excitement was very much there as we neared the infamous sign at the top of Mount Katahdin. With hoots of joy we posed for our pictures and cracked a beer open to celebrate. There was no view from the top, but the sign looked glorious and it was enough for us! We didn’t stay for long because it was so very cold and we were under dressed.

So….. we’re thru-hikers now! Pretty Awesome!

On the way down the mountain we met up with my Dad and on the way to car we saw some of our thru-hiker friends. Lisa, Wolfpack, Simpleman, Ice, and Desert Fox. It was a nice way to wrap it all up.

We drove back to the cabins and went out for another wonderful pizza dinner. I will definitely miss things about this great adventure, but for now I’m happy to be going home. I do thank you for being a part of my journey….. you each had a big part to play in our motivation.

BIRD ——— 2009 A.T. THRU-HIKER

Day 163, Sunday-9/13/09

Posted September 27, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 0 miles hiked, 2161.1 miles from Springer

Ironically the same place that was offering free tenting for the festival was the same place we had booked a cabin for when my parents came. So after a great breakfast at Ruthies we packed up our tent and moved into a cozy yellow cabin.

I took a much needed shower and my parents arrived shortly after. It was so wonderful to see them. We got caught up with all the news and then walked downtown for dinner at the Appalachian Trail Cafe. I topped dinner off with ice cream and then went back to the cabin for one of my father’s excellent brown ales.

The weather wasn’t so nice today….. we’re hoping for better weather for our summit day.

#9 Limbo, 2161.4 miles

THANK YOU

Although the big climb isn’t until tomorrow, this will be my last entry. There’s really nothing more to say at this point….. except THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us as we walked. Thanks to all who sent us packages and mail. A big thanks to our families, especially our parents for all their encouragement and support. Thanks to Nodoze for posting our journals. Thanks to all those strangers who picked up dirty hikers and a wet dog for a ride into or out of town….. it’s really great that we can all rely on trust and honesty even with a complete stranger. Thanks for all the Trail Magic; we owe a lot to future thru-hikers. And thanks, of course, to the Divine Creator for seeing us through this journey, keeping us healthy, safe, and together.

It’s been one long and amazing adventure….. I look forward to telling the real stories when we’re face to face. I love you all,

#9 LIMBO ——— 2009 A.T. THRU-HIKER

Day 162, Saturday-9/12/09

Posted September 26, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 15.0 miles hiked, 2161.1 miles from Springer

Today was Mama Bear’s last day….. her thru-hike ended at the end of the day today. (Dogs aren’t allowed in Baxter State Park, not even in a car!) She’s ready and I’m so proud of her. She’s a thru-hiker!

Even though this is our last day of  “real” hiking (no full backpacks), today still seemed very long. We’re very low on food and anxious for a shower. The terrain was very decent today so we got to Abol Bridge rather fast. An AT caretaker is staffed there for any questions about Baxter and to sign people in for the Birches, a campground just for thru-hikers at the base of Katahdin. The maximum number of hikers they allow there is twelve. My parents are coming tomorrow so we can finish our trek; dog free.

We pushed through the Wilderness a day earlier than originally planned. So we hitched to Millinocket to wait for my parents there. In Millinocket the Trails End festival was going on and we were able to score free tenting; our last night in the tent. We walked the festival and got some great pizza. We saw lots of hiker friends who are, “official thru-hikers” now. We walked back towards the tent and stopped off at Ruthies for a few beers. We ended our night chatting with Ruthie herself, her brother, her brother-in-law, and her husband. It was a good time.

# Limbo, 2161.1 miles

OUT OF THE WOODS

Well, this is it….. we’re all but done. We walked out of the 100 Mile Wilderness today to Abol Bridge. All that’s left is Mt. Katahdin. Mama Bear can go no further according to Baxter State Park regulations, so we’re waiting for Bird’s folks to meet us, then we’ll officially finish.

Ending a thru-hike is like running into a wall. It’s not gradual….. it just ends. You’re in hiker mode, 100% , head down, pushing miles, and you look up to see Katahdin right in front of you and you realize it’s all over. The reality of it would be like Columbus being wrong and the world being flat. A long tuff journey only to end in an abrupting abyss….. Well it’s not quite that dramatic….. but it’s pretty weird.

Day 161, Friday-9/11/09

Posted September 25, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 18.2 miles, 2146.1 miles from Springer

The weather we’ve been having has been consistently awesome. I am very thankful for that.

Today was another day of big miles. We passed some beautiful lakes with sandy beaches in the middle of the Wilderness of Maine…… I had no idea there could be sandy beaches so far North; pretty sweet.  We ended our day at Rainbow Stream Lean-To.

#9 Limbo, 2146.1 miles

GOING STRONG

 We’re just days from the finish line and after 2000+ miles and five months of hiking, we’re still pushing out 20 mile days. My ankle problem has seemed to just disappear….. I guess you really can just walk it off. (5 days of walking it off.) We’re nearly out of food which is forcing us to do big miles, but it feels good to push ourselves this late in the game.

It was a great day today. Bird and I talked all day long about the trail and our favorite moments. It’s hard to believe there are only two days left.

Day 160, Thursday-9/10/09

Posted September 24, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 19.5 miles hiked, 2127.9 miles from Springer

The excitement is building; we are so close to the end. Our food is running out a lot quicker than we’d hoped, so today was time to make some miles. It was hard to get out of the tent though, because it was chilly this morning. Once we got going the terrain was really chill which reminded me why I liked hiking again. And we passed a ton of lakes of today… so beautiful. Have I mentioned I really like Maine?

We got to the shelter way before dark. It was a nice spot with a wonderful spring and a fire already made. There are lots of folks joining us at Potaywadjo Spring Lean-To: Brown Cow, Brown Chicken, K-Bar, Ahab, Space, Cloud, Bunyon, and Cloud Buster.

Congrats to Fidget who is summiting today. You go! You’re amazing! We miss you! We are so glad you were such a big part of our hike. Woohoo. That was Mama Bear giving you an, “I love you” howl!

#9 Limbo, 2127.9 miles

LIMBO’S FAVORITES 

Hostel: Standing Bear, Tennessee

Trail Town: Monson, Maine

State: Maine

Section: Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Trail Magic: “Paddy O” and his Trail Bombs in New York

Trail Food: Iced honey buns… 500 calories each, I eat two every morning for breakfast

Trail Personality: “N-Da-Wind”, a biker chick pre-Trail Days

Hiker: Fidget

Off-Trail treat: Beer….. it’s a real muscle relaxer

Off-Trail stay: Dr. Sean’s in Massachusetts

Shelter:Overmountain, Virginia

Trail Mantra: “If we were in a hurry, we wouldn’t be hiking.”

Mountain: Twin Peaks, New Hampshire

Water Source: Garfield Spring, New Hampshire

Piece of gear: Our Big Sky tent, a.k.a. Big Stinky. We’ve slept in it for more than 150 nights and it’s still in one piece.

Day 159, Wednesday-09/09/09

Posted September 22, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 16.3 miles hiked, 2108.4 miles from Springer

I was awoken by loud snorting and rustling last night…… I bet it was a moose. I tried to see it, but it was just too dark.

A crisp, cool, fall morning means starting out hiking all bundled up. Better than coffee to wake you up is an early morning river ford. We ran into Braid as we were crossing….. always a pleasure to see him. After we got to the other side of the river, we climbed White Cap Mountain with its beautiful views. We got a great sight of Katahdin while at the summit. (It looks so close.)

The terrain chilled out and we were able to move to the shelter before it got dark. Now that’s nice. Bunyon and a section-hiker are our company for the night here at East Branch Lean To (Shelter).   

#9 Limbo, 2108.4 miles

WHITE-CAP

Today was our toughest day in the Wilderness leading to the 3000 foot climb up White Cap Mountain. Awaiting us at the summit was our first view of Mt. Katahdin. It was beautiful….. so close I could touch it. Just over 50 miles until I actually do.

Day 158, Tuesday-9/8/09

Posted September 22, 2009 by nodoze
Categories: Jason and Diana, Trail Journals

Bird, 16.1 miles hiked, 2092.1 miles from Springer

We had a nice fire and a great dinner last night. We needed it because today turned out to be a lot more challenging than the profile showed. It was a day of constant ups and downs. We are enjoying the scenery in the Wilderness but there are a ton of logging roads and the sound of construction takes away from the wilderness feel.

We were looking to set up camp at a spring that showed in our book, but the spring never came. Before we knew it the sun had set and we’d still found no water. So we hiked on with one headlamp (mine just broke so we only had one to use). Finally we found a river and bedded down. Night hiking is not my favorite.

#9 Limbo, 2092.1 miles

HAPPY B-DAY, BRITNEY

It’s my sister’s birthday today. Yes, I tried to call but there’s no reception in the 100 Mile Wild.

After two days we’re 35 miles in and have already passed over a dozen lakes. The weather has been amazing……. the weather has been amazing. I haven’t had the chance to say that too many times on this trail so I say it twice. It’s been a week of sunshine with the forecast showing another seven days of the same. The nights have been cool, though. I wake up shivering every morning at 4am and at 4pm. I’m covered in sweat wearing shorts and a t-shirt looking for the next cool brook to cool off in. Yep…… perfect weather for hiking.


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