The end of the Appalachian Trail draws near as my fellow hikers and I continue through the 100-Mile Wilderness towards Katahdin. Enjoy reading my latest journal entry as I backpack the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. If you missed it, here are my previous entries and videos from the trail.
Check out my latest video as I take you through a typical day of life on the trail.
I woke up and Relentless and No Shoes were already gone. Honey Bear wanted to eat breakfast so I hiked on alone. It was a good morning with mostly sunny skies and a comfortable temperature. The trail took me up several mountains but it wasn’t too hard. I wasn’t used to climbing from all the flat terrain lately. My left knee hurt sometimes on the uphills. There were some good views along the way. I could hear the noise of the trucks and chainsaws from the loggers off in the woods somewhere below.
I thought Honey Bear would catch up but she didn’t. Without my phone, I was forced to be alone with my thoughts and really reflect on my journey. I sang songs to keep me occupied. Around lunchtime I had to ford a wide, shallow river. There were tons of day hikers milling about; I guess there was a road nearby. Between all the day hikers and the logging noise, the 100-mile wilderness was turning out to be less remote than I’d imagined.
On the other side of the river were Relentless, No Shoes, and 2-Clicks. They had already eaten lunch and left shortly. I ate my lunch while the day hikers offered me some Czech food despite being from New Jersey. I took a container of what ended up being profi pate. I opened it after they left. It smelled weird so I buried it in the woods and packed out the container; I couldn’t carry the extra weight of the full container. Honey Bear caught up and we ate some lunch together but I hiked on ahead of her.
The mosquitoes came out in force as I climbed up Gulf Hagas Mountain. The trail maintainers had built stone steps into the trail which made it very easy. I stopped at a shelter and checked the log book. Transformer, Eagle, and Landfill had passed through sometime earlier in the day. Strange, I thought Landfill wanted to summit a day ahead of me and he’d left the hostel the day before me. He and Eagle should have been farther along unless they were slowing down. A section hiker at the shelter talked to me and then offered me beef jerky, trail mix, and a dehydrated dinner. I was so grateful for the amazing trail magic. It lifted my spirits and I flew up the mountain afterwards.
I was climbing Whitecap which was the last big climb before Katahdin. I caught a glimpse of the latter peak on the way up. It was my first time seeing Katahdin. I was so excited to see the end of my journey, the final destination just 75 miles away. I’d be there in four days. Crazy to think I’ve hiked over 2,100 miles. I can’t believe what I’m capable of and how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. At the summit of Whitecap Mountain I caught up with No Shoes and Relentless. We sat and enjoyed a spectacular view of Katahdin. It had been such a great day: trail magic, easy climbs, views of Katahdin, amazing weather, and my infected toe was starting to look better on its own.
We hiked down Whitecap to the Logan Brook Lean-To. SOBOs had taken all the tent spots but there were more sites farther down the trail. Trademark, 2-Clicks, Myagi, No Shoes, Honey Bear, Relentless, and I all ended up camping together: the July 16th crew. We ate dinner, talking and laughing. It was cool to be spending the last few days on the trail together with all these NOBOs. What an incredible journey so far. Four days to go and about 70 miles left!
Day’s Mileage: 23.1
Total Miles Hiked: 2,128.4
Remaining Miles: 71.3
We all woke up very early and were out of camp around 6am. I hiked alone for a bit and watched a logging truck pass by on a gravel road. Not so desolate. It was a quick hike downhill and the terrain became very easy for the remainder of the day. Save for a few rocky areas and some roots, it was smooth hiking across flat, pine-needled trail. Relentless, No Shoes, Myagi, and I stopped at Crawford Pond where everyone but Myagi went skinny-dipping. Myagi thought it was too early for swimming.
No Shoes, Honey Bear, Myagi, and I stopped at a shelter for lunch and contemplated swimming in the river but passed. The weather was amazingly beautiful and sunny. The mosquitoes were bad at times so I used some repellent. At the Antlers campsite we reconnected with Trademark and 2-Clicks. They had been swimming in the adjacent lake and Myagi was ready to jump in when I said I would rather head to the sandy beach farther along. Myagi reluctantly put his clothes back on and hiked ahead of us. We came to a small, sandy beach and I stopped with 2-Clicks for a moment to point across the lake at a large sandy area and I remarked “there’s our beach.” Myagi was already about to jump in at this small beach when the rest of us kept hiking to the larger beach ahead. Myagi went swimming anyway, irritated that we kept passing up these swim opportunities.
A half-mile later we arrived at the big, sandy beach on Jo-Mary Lake and it was worth the wait. 2-Clicks kept comparing it favorably to the likes of Aruba. The sun made the sand hot and there was a very quick drop-off. All seven of us went swimming and it was glorious. No one got any leeches.
I hiked with Honey Bear to our planned campsite. The group was following Honey Bear and my plan of how many miles to hike each day to get to Katahdin and where we’d camp each night. There was a quick view of Katahdin across a lake. It was getting so big as we inched closer. Less than 50 miles!
At the Nahmakanta Spring Lean-To we set up camp. No Shoes pushed on because she wanted to do a 30-mile day before her hike was over, just to say that she could do it. The six of us remaining had dinner together and remarked how happy we were to have formed this little group for the finale of our hike. Three more days.
Day’s Mileage: 27.3
Total Miles Hiked: 2,155.7
Remaining Miles: 44.0
I didn’t sleep well. My arm kept falling asleep and waking me up. When I finally decided to get up, only Honey Bear and Myagi were still at camp. Honey Bear and I left together at 6:30am and hiked on. The trail was flat and we soon arrived at the lake campsite where No Shoes had spent the night. She was still getting ready so we continued on. The trail got difficult with lots of rocks and roots. We climbed 800 feet up Nesuntabunt Mountain where we briefly met up with Trademark and 2-Clicks. Relentless also joined us for a great view of Katahdin from the summit.
I was getting tired and sore from all of our big mile days. I slogged on to the Rainbow Stream Lean-To for lunch. We all took a long lunch break and Myagi caught up as well as No Shoes. We watched a mama duck lead 12 ducklings upstream over rapids. It was mostly flat but tedious after the shelter. No Shoes, Honey Bear, and I played word games like the Green Glass Door to pass the time.
My infected toe was flaring up and was very painful. We were all so tired from 2,100+ miles and I felt our bodies knew it was almost over and were checking out early. It was like the last week of school when you’ve still got five more days but you stopped paying attention. That was what my body was doing to me. It was one last climb just 500 feet up Rainbow Ledges before we descended to camp at Hurd Brook Lean-To. All seven of us were there, the magnificent seven. We were finished with our last real day of hiking as we called it. The following day would be a quick three miles out of the 100-mile wilderness to a campground with a restaurant and then ten easy miles to our final camp at the base of Katahdin. Almost there!
Day’s Mileage: 25.4
Total Miles Hiked: 2,181.1
Remaining Miles: 18.6
Daily Average: 15.9
I know this song has been out for a while but I loved listening to it on the trail. It always reminded me to live in the moment and try and realize how great each day is. As a whole, I listened to a lot of Kesha’s new stuff on my hike.