Sunday, September 6, 2015

Better late...?

I know, "It's been over a month now when are you going to write a blog?", is a phrase I've been getting for a while already.
I've been too busy either working, taking care of other things, or riding my bike since we got home to write...
Here we goat...

On July 29th 2015 Daniel and I summited Mt. Katahdin, ending our journey on the Appalachian Trail.
142 days, 2189.2 miles, we toiled through rain, shine, snow, mud, and rocks.

July 27th
After a super flat day through the hundred mile wilderness, we accomplished our last 20 mile day, when we stopped at the very last shelter outside of Baxter state park.
The shelter had one of the prettier hollows of the trail surrounding it, a stream could be heard from a little way off, and it also had plenty of tent sites.
We saw Katahdin for the first time on the rainbow ledges, a few miles before, were there was a fantastic amount of blueberries.
We ate blueberries by the pint, until we were forced off the mountain by an approaching thunderstorm.

The two days beforehand we had done 17-18 miles by 2:00 pm, and simply cut the days short, so that we wouldn't beat Mom and Dad to Katahdin.
The terrain was super easy, and the weather 3/4 of the time was with us.
Overall, we found that the Hundred Mile "Wilderness" was a lot of overhype.
While there are less people, there was still a feeling of civilization around the area.
The sign at the start of it warns all who enter the wilderness must have 10 days worth of food to make it through.
We did it in 5 days, with 2 of those days being cut short (with 5 days of food).

 July 28th
21 miles of trail remained between us and the summit of Katahdin
17 of those miles were done by 11:00 am.
We stopped by the Abol Bridge camp store for our final resupply, and, more importantly, a cup of coffee,
and took off from there at a pace of three and a half miles an hour.
We met a section hiker on his 17th and final year, and had the pleasure of finishing with him the next day.

Daniel was UBERexited, and was pushing me every time I deigned to slow down.
However, we did suffer a minor delay when Daniel fell in to a river and lost his trekking pole.
after a while of splashing about, he managed to find it a little ways down stream caught in some rocks.

Mom and Dad hadn't even finished setting up camp when we arrived to Katahdin Stream campsite, where Mom was a little less than pleased to be hugged by a sweat drenched hiker, who hadn't bathed in six days.

We could have summited the 28th, but we decided that an early start the next day would be better.

July 29th
It was a later start than what I really wanted, but it was a good morning none the less.
We had a hot breakfast of sausage, eggs, and real coffee, to mark the accession.
Dad was going to be accompanying us on our climb up Katahdin, while Mom was satisfied with just going as far as Katahdin Falls.

It was a great morning to be hiking, it was cool with a slight breeze, and hardly a cloud in the sky.
Without our full packs on, the climbs were easy (for us),
I felt kind of bad when we kept getting too far ahead of Dad, and had to let him catch up, when finally two people passed us and Daniel, who had been chomping at the bit all morning, couldn't take it anymore, and Dad told us to keep going on without him.

Katahdin proved to be the most technical climb of the trail, I don't think it was the hardest of them all, It was however, the most beautiful of them all.
It was the hardest in that it had the most boulders to climb, with no easy way around.
Rebar was set minimally in a few parts of the climb.

During our ascent we met several more thru-hikers that had only just caught up with us, two of them were twins them selves, although, not to each other.

And at long last, we reached the top.
On my part,there was no great feeling of triumph from reaching the top.
There was no grief about leaving the trail behind, or a feeling of a great achievement, just a feeling of "Oh, This is over... Now what?"
It was an odd feeling of a nonchalant achievement.

Although, the Knife's edge felt like a totally different trail.
It felt like we had wandered off the AT and on to another trail.
It was weird to follow blue blazes for the first time without any thought about having to go back.

I'm ending this post a little prematurely, but I've put it off to long.
Okay, does that satisfy you? No?
That's what I thought...
Ask me lots of questions in the comments below, and I'll try to answer them in a much more timely manner this time.
Pictures can be found here!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Not the Update you were waiting for...

Daniel and Sam did summit Katahdin! And Sam WILL be blogging about it. This is the Motherly Parental Unit, just letting the readers know that the blog has not been abandoned.
We got back to Arkansas on Sunday night- on Monday Sam was lined up to work... and to go to school. With almost 30 hours under his belt in three days, he is saying "Welcome to the world of grown ups!".
As the MPU, it has been my duty to nag him into a blog update... which he promises is forthcoming, as soon as he has time. (Hopefully by this weekend?)
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Georgia to Raine GA - ME

Maine has been the prettiest state on trail, its streams, rivers, and lake sized "Ponds" are the best sights I think we've had below treeline.
The mornings are cool, and if you're up early enough, you're quite likely to see a moose walking the trail.
We've been looking forward to Maine since Georgia, and have heard about how great the trail is through Maine.
On the balds of the mountains there are wild blueberries in abundance, and 360 views of the surrounding valleys.

We're about to enter the 100 mile Wilderness, just outside of Monson, ME, this is the home stretch!
This is our last resupply spot of the trail, apart from a mid Wilderness resupply box being sent halfway through.

I would love to visit this state again, but with all that said, I HATE MAINE!
This state thinks it can get away with treating thru-hikers with anything it throws at us, just because it's the prettiest state, but more importantly, the last state.

This is by far the muddiest, most mosquito filled puddle in all of the US!
The weather here is a backstabber, turning on you at any time.
You can wake with high hopes that your shoes will dry, because the skies are clear, and then it rains two hours later.
The humidity makes even the rocks sweat, and you slip on every other root and rock (the roots and rocks that make-up 80% of the trail).

Okay... Sorry about the rant, but we've had a lot of slips and almost serious falls lately, and have had a great deal of built up frustration over the past week and a half.
Our shoes have had it and are being replaced just before the Hundred mile Wilderness.
They've lasted over 1010 miles from Harper's Ferry, and at last, they've just given up.
We were hoping to make them last until Katahdin, but all the slips and falls have forced us to buy new ones and overnight them to Monson.

Also, we crossed the 2000 mile marker a few days ago!
Current mile: 2071.4
Miles remaining: 117.8

The Arkansas twins - Link & Folklore

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Maine 14/14

Georgia - North Carolina - Tennessee - Virginia - West Virginia - Maryland - Pennsylvania - New Jersey - New York - Connecticut - Massachusetts - Vermont - New Hampshire - Maine
As This is one of my only chances to put a blog up for a while I'll try to do a long one...this will be hard without bringing up the subject of food...
We're at the Farmhouse Inn in Rangeley, ME., halfway between the Equator and the North Pole.
This will probably be our last stay in a town for the rest of the trail.
The need for laundry, and the fact that we could use the kitchen helped us make the decision to stay.
We've been encountering a lot of southbounders lately, and have had quite a few mixed feelings about them. As with any group, you like  some -and then you come across the ones that think that they know better than someone who has walked 1700 miles more than them.
I didn't realize that we were the same when we started, it feels like it was an age ago. We thought at Harper's Ferry that we had learned everything that there was to learn... We were very wrong.
Our backpacking skills are still improving, our social views of the trail are still evolving, and our outlook is steadily becoming more optimistic.
I feel bad for some of the Southbounders, because they take a lot of abuse from some of the Northbounders, and start with the hardest part of the trail.
Maine has been the most beautiful state of them all so far, with all its lakes and sub alpine forests.
We're almost to the Hundred Mile "Wilderness", and as most of the Northbounders tell us, isn't as much wilderness as the name implies. And, as the Southbounders tell us, is like going three days were you don't see anyone...
Not that I don't believe the Southbounders, it's just that I've know the Northbounders quite a bit longer, and trust their word more.
Our tent got its pole replaced, and repaired, and now more problems are coming up with it that can be put off for a while.
And while also our shoes' tread is hanging on the last of the trail by a wing and a prayer, as all of the shoe stores in town failed to have anything useful for our purposes, we have to simply make these last the last 220 miles.
As a side note, if you're ever in Maine in summer, look for Wool coats on sale!
Shout out!
Hi Anthony and Diana!
Good job Yellow Beard and Little Goat!
And also Stoat and Poppins!
Please leave a comment below containing a question about the trail, as I am not a good writer and can't think about anything to write about.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Whites.

Trail legend tells of the White Mountains. Tales are told from Georgia all the way to southern New Hampshire.
Everyone talks about the hurricane force winds that hound Mt. Washington, the Huts that will feed you leftovers, the steepest climbs on trail.
You spend hours planning your journey through these legendary mountains, and worry that you're going to lose too much weight, that you won't have enough food, and that you'll get fined for camping somewhere you didn't know you weren't supposed to.
You start up Mt. Moosilauke with an excited pace, when you reach the top of the +2400 ft. climb, the sub alpine forest surrounds you in narrow spruce corridors leading the way to the top.
Moosilauke was the first good view we got in over 600 miles.
With a waterfall as a descent the other side... Literally.
Next came Lafayette mountain, a long bald ridge, with even better views than Moosilauke.
Later in the day after Lafayette, we had a major problem occur: as we set up our tent, the pole snapped.
With a non freestanding tent, this makes your shelter seem much more like a large useless lead brick, rather than the reliable nomadic house you've been living in for four months.
We managed a jerry-rig for the night, and got going early the next morning, quite thankful that it hadn't rained.
The Whites undoubtedly slowed us down, we went from 18-20 miles a day to a tough 12-16 miles a day.
And worse still was that we got even hungrier than normal, I truly dreamed of sausages and chocolate milk.
On the third day, we went over Mt. Washington, hoping to find 75-80 mph winds on top, and to be fair, that was quite possible in the morning.
It was a cold rain from 6:00 - 11:00 am with a dense fog surrounding us until we reach the Lake of the Clouds hut where it cleared away to blue skys.
Sadly, we only got gust of 50-55 mph winds on top, sent a few post cards at the P.O. there, then fought through the tourists and managed to get a slice pizza from the almost robot like staff.
We "cowboy" camped on the last of the Presidential Mountains, despite  that the weather could change quite suddenly in the mountains.
Our tent company was good about replacing the pole, and should be getting here to our current location in Gorham, NH. Mile 1891.6 with 297.6 miles left and only 17 miles to Maine.
Sorry no pictures, it won't let me put any up.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Less than 500

Oh, the places you'll go!
 The people you'll meet.
The things you'll smell,
The things that you eat!
The look of your feet!
The uphills,
the down hills,
you're covered in Deet ,
that stops the mosquitoes that bite in the heat.
With thanks to McGuyver for the first line.
We past a sign a few days ago th that got us all excited, it read: Katahdin 500 miles.
500 miles.

Today, we had a 2005 foot climb to start the day off, with a great deal of rain to go with it.
After a while we stopped trying to avoid the puddles, because our feet were already totally wet, and it was more energy to avoid them.
When we reached the top, we found that the wind was taking advantage of us sweating and getting wet, by trying to give us hypothermia.
I'm not joking when I say that we almost got hypothermia, it was that cold up on the mountain.

We've caught up with several of our trail Friends recently, which has helped keep us a little more motivated.

Current Mile: 1704.2
Miles left: 485.0

Please leave a comment below!
God bless! 
~Link and Folklore: The Arkansas twins.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lost, then found.

After Folklore and I finally figured out what happened to our stove that was being replaced, we were at last able to put out some good miles for change.
What happened to the stove was that it arrived in Salisbury Via FedEx, like it was supposed to, and was signed for... Then it disappeared.
The outfitter doesn't have it. It's fallen off the edge of world.
We've assumed that either FedEx didn't actually drop it off, or that it was stolen.
And now since MSR can't send us a new one again for free, they're selling us one for $20 instead of $60.
Apart from that, we've now got 1600+  miles behind us, and the Whites are just 150 miles away.
During a accidental wrong turn in the trail, I found a Boomerang!
Now all I need is to find a place to throw it.
We're in Manchester Center, VT.
Mile 1651.1
538.1 miles ahead
...And for some reason I can't upload any pictures...
Sorry, Mom.