On the AT with The Old Gray Goose
- September 1993
1st. Noon...Dear Kids, here I am at Crawford Notch, sitting by the highway, watching all the cars go by. Wishing I at least had a radio to listen to. It was kinda misty out when we left Zeland Falls Hut this morning, but it has cleared up and the sun is out, the sky is a real pretty blue. Some clouds, but it looks pretty anyhow. Maybe it is an indicator the next few day will be really pretty. Whoops, here's Rabbit and Damascus.
Ok.. Back again-- Saw a moose alongside the road on the way to the Laundromat. We are at a hostel. Worked here to pay for my stay too. No meal involved, just bunkroom. The shower cost a dollar extra but boy, it sure felt good.
Rabbit took the blue blaze trail down to the hostel and I took the AT white blazes. Blue blaze was a couple miles shorter. The trail today was really nice. Part of it was on an old rail bed so it was wide and smooth and flat. Some of it was like a walk through a park. Trail was through nice evergreen trees and just really pretty. Had a few very muddy places with bog bridges and strategically placed rocks and a few places it just went down the stream bed before crossing over. All in all, it was a very nice 7.4 miles today. Tomorrow starts the UP again. Gonna be some high mountain we get into.
Will be nice to be hiking with Damascus again. She is a real mountain lover and I'm sure she'll bring the beauty she sees out and share with me as she had last year.
Well, it's almost 10 o'clock so, I guess I'll crawl into the ole sleeping bag. At least it's on a bunk with a mattress, no cozy woolly blanket here though. Love, Mom
- Sept. 2nd..ahh, another woolly blanket night!
Here I am at Mizpah Hut. got here early, 'bout 3:30. 6.4 miles today and the weather was just gorgeous. I left some of my pack weight in Damascus car. Felt like almost 10 pounds worth! I only brought 3 days worth of food and left the rest. Left my tent and Damascus brought 2 emergency blankets. My climb today was not nearly as bad as I had expected. Most likely because the pack was so much lighter. I actually had a Very nice day. We stopped at the top of one mountain with a great view for our lunch. The breeze wasn't too strong and the sun was out. Sat there and really enjoyed my break. Watched a Canadian jay land on a fellows' hand and take bread out of his fingers. Think I got a picture, just as it flew away out of view.
I sure did take pictures of the views though. It was a truly beautiful day and Damascus turned around alot and said "Wow, Goose, look at that back there!".. I finally started checking out the views and pointing them out to her! Gee, it was really nice to share all those beautiful mountain views with Damascus.
The crew here said we could do chores in the morning and eat with the guests if we'd like to. Well, that is a nice surprise again. supper sounds pretty good. Salad, BBQ chicken, homemade bread, soup, veggies, pasta. Don't see dessert listed but, they always do. Gee, why didn't I write the menus down from the first two huts? This hut is Huge compared to the first 3 I've been to. Don't remember how many Greenleaf held but Galehead and Zealand Falls had 24 and 36 bunks. We are in bunkroom number 6 and it has 6 bunks, don't know how many rooms there are. Probably find out in the morning for chores. Gonna close for now. Hmmmm just looked outside and there is a large dark cloud!! I hope the weather is good again tomorrow. Love, Mom. <
- Friday. 3rd-Short mileage day to Lake of the Clouds Hut- 5 miles.
It was relatively easy climb here today. Ha ha, it must have been, 'cause I even did a side trail in addition and climbed to the summit of Mt. Eisenhower. That is on the 4,000 footer list that Damascus is working on. There are 48 4,000 foot (or over) mountains in NH alone.
It was raining and blowing when we woke up today but the temp. wasn't too cold and by the time I was done with morning chores, it had stopped raining. We did get a couple views between the clouds but for the most part, we were in the clouds (fog?). At least it didn't turn cold!
Ahhh, cozy night, woolly blankets on the bunks. Calzones for supper tonight among other stuff. It's vegetarian night. don't know what else they are having. Think we eat with the crew tonight. Probably have to do chores in the morning.
Tomorrows mileage and the terrain look to be a bit more difficult so, I hope we don't have to work too late. We climb Mt.Washington tomorrow. Sounds pretty awesome to me! Just think, the strongest winds in the world have been recorded there. Actually it's not the tallest mountain we've had on the trail but it is a completely different. No trees on top. Subject to drastic weather changes. mmmm, it would be nice to have a clear sunny day up there! Gonna be interesting. It's kinda cool here so think I'm going to go put my long john bottoms on. More tomorrow. Love, Mom.
- Sat., Sept 4th. Made the top of Mt. Washington this a.m..
What a view with the clouds all around the mountain peaks. No sunny "forever" view but, a beautiful sight never the less.
Left the hut this morning in misty fog and clouds. Slight wind. Put my long john bottoms on to hike in and the top too. No rain jacket though as I would have been much too warm. After Mt. Washington, the clouds were on and off so we did have a chance at a few sunny views. Today was hard on the feet and knees with a lot of rock walking. It made for a long day but we did stop on Mt. Washington and go inside and check out the PO. (It closed Today!) Yes, I got a letter. Checked out all the souvenir stuff and post cards, etc.. Checked out the weather station and all that neat stuff too.
I'm at Madison Hut tonight, ummm, warm snuggly wool blanket. Going to eat with the "croo" and do chores in the a.m.. They have two bunk rooms. 28 bunks in the room I'm in and probably the same in the other or at least, close to it. It looks like an almost full house, about 3 empty bunks.
The area above tree line is really different. It is alpine tundra zone. The shrubs are "small and smaller". Some are only inches tall. The trees, what there are of them grow in protected areas and are shrub size. Little flowers are like none growing at home. It's very interesting, a strange beauty to it.
Geez, there is a little red squirrel running around on the rafters in here. Glad I'm not up on the 4th bunk, only on 3rd high. I hope it doesn't attack the back packs tonight. The food is still in them and my pack is sitting on a bench, leaning on the rock wall. Easy access there!
I just realized I should have mailed this letter home from Mt. Washington. It's Sat. and Monday is a holiday. Didn't think about that when I was up there. Well, that's one reason you don't get letters regularly. I don't get to the P.O. regularly and I forget when the holidays are. When I have unexpected access to mailing, I don't have it ready to go and I just don't think about mailing it.
Guess I'll tell you what supper is/was after I eat. Guests are working on soup and salad and I can't tell what is coming yet but I sure am hungry tonight. Hmmm, Rabbit just came over and says it looks like Turkey and cranberry sauce. --ahyep, it was and there was some left too. Love, Mom.
- Sun. Sept 5th. Hi Kids.
Had a very rocky down hill today. That is, after the very rocky Uphill we had first thing in the morning. The sun came out to greet us first thing in the morning and that was a welcome change.
Damascus got a message that she should take the shuttle to get her car but, the last shuttle left long before we could get down to it. It was alot of downhill today and the knees really got tired. When we finally got down to Pinkham notch, Damascus ended up calling her friend in Gorham NH from the Bed and Breakfast to come and get us and take us to the car. After we got Damascus' car, we drove to Gorham. The Bed and Breakfast folks also have a place for hikers to stay. It's "The Barn". It is connected to the house so, you can just go through their back door to the bathroom and kitchen. The downstairs of the barn has a fridge and stove for us to use and chairs too of course. The up-stairs is kinda, front to back mattresses, with floor space for using also. I will be here, by hiking, in another four days I expect. I got a sneak preview of the place, ha ha. Gonna call Dad. Love, Mom
- Sept. 6. Monday.. Well, today I climbed the Wildcat.
It has 5 peaks and a longish rock climb at the beginning out of Pinkham Notch. The peaks are, E-D-C-B and Wildcat. I was expecting much worse downhill but there were switchbacks, Hooray. With less(still) in my pack, I'm sure made a lot of difference too. My tent and extra food is in Gorham. I have the "safety blanket/tarp" with me just in case. I'll leave it in Gorham for Damascus when I pick up my tent. I'm in the last Hut in the AMC White Mountain system. It is officially on "caretaker status" today, which means no cook w/meals and no woolly blankets. But, since we're working for them, we get to help "clean out the fridge" and whatever the crew is having for supper is what we'll have. We do get to use the blankets too, yippee. It feels kinda chilly and it is just a bit after 4 p.m.
I took off my sweaty shirt and undergarment first thing and put on long john and T-shirt and just went back up to the bunk house and put on long john bottoms and fleece top! Now I'm gonna have a hot cup of coffee. Just sitting here and writing, I'm really chilly though I don't know as the temp. has really dropped too much.
I guess we'll check out the 'fridge. The gal who is the caretaker just cam in. She says she is a vegetarian and there is Lots of bacon in there. Ha ha, guess we know One thing we'll have. Love ya, Mom.
- Tue. Sept. 7th..Late..Long Day.
15 miles from Carter Notch Hut to Route 2. Peter Rabbit and I have parted company. I have joined forces with Lisa and Ron (married 6 years) and another older fellow called Slogger. Slogger had his car parked at Route 2 so, we went into Gorham without having to hitchhike, Hooray! with four of us, it was cheaper to all chip in for a motel with REAL beds than to go to "The Barn". Wonderful hot shower. Hugs, Kisses. Mom.
- Wed. 8th. Hi Kids. Gee, two good days in a row!
Yesterday's 15 mile day was really a "perk". I was still "physiqed" today and even though I got a late start from town this morning, I just knew I would have a good day, and I did. Even got to the shelter before 5:30. It is a full shelter too. Seems strange to be in such a large shelter and have it full. The girls and "Meg" (aka Thermahog) are here too. Slogger and Ron and Lisa are all tenting.
Hooray, I got my new radio. Music tonight while I'm writing this, by flashlight even. It's starting to get dark early these days and get light late too.
Took a quiet minute on top with a wonderful view for Sherri Sawdy. Pops had just got back from the funeral home the other night when I called him.
We have a very difficult stretch coming up. I don't think I'll get there tomorrow. If I stop at the shelter just before "The Notch" (Mahoosuc) then the next 5 miles will take All Day. Depending what time we get to the shelter on what we'll do. don't know if I want to tackle the Mahoosuc Notch at the end of the day or not. Well kids, guess I'll close for now and listen to my radio. Love, Mom.
- Thur. Sept. 9th. Whew, what a workout today.
Just a tad under 10 miles but what a 10 miles it was. Lots of rock climbing. The climbing I didn't get too uptight on but boy, the downs were something else! tomorrow will be WILD! the notch is full of boulders that fell down the mountain and the trail goes over, around, under and between them. Have heard some dandy stories of this next section. Guess I'll find out tomorrow.
Oh yah, I've seen quite a few Spruce Partridge. They are really un-afraid and you can get really close to them before they walk off into the woods. There are nine of us in the shelter and two tents (3 people). We didn't get here until 4 o'clock. Crossed the State Line into Maine at 11:30. YAHOO, 270.1 miles from here.
Golly, it's only 7:20 and I can hardly see to write. My light is gettin a bit dim so I guess I'll not use it tonight. Love, Mom
- Sept. 10. Friday. Hello there..
Well it sure was everything I was expecting, going through the notch. And to top it off, we did half the distance in the RAIN! After we got through there, we had a long long uphill to do with lots of rocks to go up. Have had lots of rock scramble type stuff besides "The Notch" today. The views were really neat after the rain stopped and we got up Mt.Speck
I am still with Lisa and Ron and Slogger. Slogger and I got a ride to Bethel with another hiker (whose wife met him). From there, I called my friend Damascus who is in Gorham for a few days. she came and picked us up and took us back to get Sloggers car, just outside Gorham. First off, we (Slogger and I) had hidden our packs at the trail head because the folks only had room for 2 people, no packs. Secondly, we had to go back there with Sloggers car to pick up Ron and Lisa. Of course, it started to rain again before we got back there and then, we passed the drive into the parking area. Finally got turned around (oh yah, saw a Moose on the highway) and found the right place. Gathered up our two wet packs and semi-wet hikers, Ron and Lisa. By 9:30 p.m., we were finally at a motel and calling a restaurant for take-out. Had a nice hot shower and called Dad and it's now just after 11 p.m. and I am about ready to go to bed.
We are going to slackpack a 10 mile stretch tomorrow with Ron and Lisa dropping us at one end of the section and then going to the other end and hiking the opposite direction and passing the key off when we meet. There just wasn't any way we could slack pack the last difficult section but, that's ok 'cause I DONE GOOD. And I can say it was a real challenge And I Did It. A good Day again. Love, Mom.
- Sept. 11. Hi Kids. slackpacked as planned.
The wind was extremely strong across Baldpate Mtn. It had no trees, all rock on top. No scrambling, just angled and rounded, like a bald head, like it's name. The wind was gusting VERY strongly at times. In fact, a few times, I had to stand in place because if I'd have picked up my foot I may have been blown over. Off balance and moving in an unwanted direction would be very dangerous. I was really glad I didn't have my pack on. I don't know if I'd have been able to stand up and walk or not. Think the wind would have caught the pack and really made forward progress possible only by crawling. My knees are already all black and blue from all the crawling around I had to do through "The Notch" yesterday so, as I said, I am real grateful I slackpacked.
It started off today very strange, weather wise. There were no clouds right overhead but it was sprinkling and the sun was out. Well, you know what I look for when it rains and the sun is out, YEP, Rainbows. And did I see them today!. At one time, I actually saw a double and a 3 bow one! All except one I saw Before the hike. Oh yah, I did see one other one after I headed back to Gorham in Damascus' car.
It was a little misty. No, it wasn't misty really, it was clear and bright but lightly raining when I started hiking but, that didn't last too awfully long. Then it was just very cool. I was prepared for cold today. Wore my long john bottoms and carried the upper part to put on to go across the bald. My raincoat is also a good windbreaker, than goodness. And I needed my gloves and balaclava for my head.
At least the sun was out for most of the trip. It was really kind of exciting, walking in such strong winds and on top of a mountain with a view all around and the clouds flying bye. Not something you get everyday and glad of it but I had a most enjoyable day today. I was with Slogger so if I had had any problems I would have had help, or at least he could have gotten help. After the hike he drove me over to the main route so I could call my friend Damascus to come and pick me up and he left to go to his father's house, farther over in Maine.
So, I'm spending the night with Damascus and Maverick, somewhere in NH. Tomorrow we will head back to Maine to the hiker Bed and Breakfast in Andover. I had stopped there to pick up my maildrop as I had to get my money out to pay my share of the motel for Friday night and supper too.
I have enough money to stay Sunday night there. Monday, I'll do another slackpack and Slogger will pass me the car keys when we meet on the trail and I will drive back to pick him up and also get my pack. It sounds complicated but, it's not. Sunday will be a day off to give my body a rest. The last few days have been pretty strenuous. I probably need a rest after all that rock scrambling. the profile for Monday's hike looks kinda hard. Has a long steep down included, along with the ups you would expect before that down, ha ha.
Don't forget Pops' birthday on the 19th. Wish I could give him a big hug and kiss and wish him a Happy birthday in person but, that will have to be later...the same with the little ones.
Still hoping to have my hike finished before our wedding anniversary, also before any really bad weather sets in. Well, gonna get this in the envelope, not sure where it will be sent from. Love you, Mom.
- Sunday, Sept. 12. Hi Kids. Gee, what date did I put for Sat??
I sure can get the dates fouled up out here. Well, I am at the Pine Ellis Bed and Breakfast today/night. I've had a very nice relaxing day off here. Hopefully my knees and feet will be very co-operative tomorrow when I get back on the trail to slackpack (a 5 mile hike). Breakfast is scheduled for around 7:30 a.m so, whenever we're through with that I'll get a ride, along with 2 others, up to the trail. cost is included with the BandB fee. The people who have this place are very nice. I have a Private room with a double bed. Very nice! I guess you could say I'm really treating myself today although I had planned to stay here , I hadn't planned the day off. I did get to Andover a few days quicker than I figured so, I am hoping I will gain another day or two as I go along and can still rest my body with a day off. Makes for a better feeling body and a happier outlook if you aren't so "bushed".
The 107.4 miles between Gorham NH and Stratton ME are considered to be the toughest section of the trail according to one of the books. I have about 6.6 miles of the section to do yet. I think the end of the section tomorrow will be the most difficult part of my day but, I'm told at least there is NO rock scramble included. Don't know if the other two hikers here are slackpacking or not. Dad had given one of these fellows a ride back at Harpers ferry and the other I met in Gorham.
Hope we don't have rain tomorrow. The Weather forecast had rain predicted for tonight and it's almost 9 p.m. and it hasn't yet. Guess I'll turn off the light and listen to my radio a little bit before I go to sleep. Have my black and blue knees rubbed down already, feet next! Love, Mom..ps. got on the scales here and I'm 20# lighter!
- Mon Sept. 13th. What a good stretch of trail to slackpack!
Hello again. Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't have to carry my pack on the up and down we had today. Our plans did change somewhat. Slogger and I both hiked north and the Band B folks drove the car up to the road crossing at the north end, since they had to go up there for someone else anyway. I even had a real daypack today from there. Tonight I'm tenting. Can't afford two nights of B and B. Tomorrow will be another slackpack day but longer than today was. Still haven't seen a moose on the trail. Only on the road. Slogger saw a big bull moose on the trail today but I was ahead and didn't see a thing but chipmunks, squirrels and snakes.
Well, my light isn't very bright. Need to keep some battery for a "tree visit" so I guess I'll close for now. Love Mom.
- Tue. Sept 14.
The 13 miles today took me 7 hours to do even without a pack. Wonder what tomorrows' 13 miles will bring? According to Slogger, it should not be as hard and therefore it should take a little less time. My knees sure did "holler" today.
Pokey and Jukebox (and Meg) are going to skip that section. they are supposed to meet friends in Rangely. Slogger drove them down to the hostel and I had a chance to see Chickory again. There were lots of hikers there.
I came to Sloggers' Dads' house for the night, a real bed again, wow. And a great home cooked meal. Not sure if we are going to spend the night here again tomorrow or not. I think maybe we are, since his step-mother is the one taking us to the trail and picking us up. Guess I'll find out tomorrow. Love, Mom
- Wed. Sept. 15. Dear Kids.
Had a Beautiful day on the trail today. Had a warm sunny day with nice breeze. Saw a loon on one pond today and a moose on another pond, too far to get a good picture. The ups and downs weren't too bad today, that is, no great steepness or real long ones. Guess it's just getting us ready for tomorrow and the next couple of days. Going to be about the hardest section in the hard section, if you can imagine that. Really have a steep up tomorrow and long too! It is supposed to have some of the best views in Maine on this next stretch. Guess we won't do all that hard work for nothin anyway.
We are at Sloggers folks house in Dixfield ME again tonight. Really had a great time here tonight with his sister and step-mother. Delicious supper. And a real bed with sheets. Ahhh, feels good.
It's early and most everyone is in the front room watching the ballgame on TV. I decided I was going to go to bed early tonight. I'm tired even tho' I slackpacked. Love you all, Mom Ps. rain started just as we got off the trail. Got picked up shortly after that.
- Thur. Sept 16. Well, did have a workout today!
I thought the downs were harder than the ups today. actually on the ups, I took several breaks 'cause they were kinda l o n g. Had three peaks to climb today. The views were real nice. All around you can see just mountains and trees and ponds. The trees are starting to turn colors, I can wait a bit for that. It's pretty cool tonight. The shelter is full. Slogger is tenting. I got the last spot in the shelter. PackMule and Chickory and Llama Mama and Charlie Razor are in here and another on I just met, Everest. there are a couple other tenters too. It's getting dark so, I guess I'll put this away and listen to my "ears". Kisses and hugs, Mom. Ps, Actually enjoying Maine.
- Fri. Sept. 17.
Cool, damp day but still worked up a sweat climbing up the mountains today. Had a couple major climbs. Started to rain and get foggy so we all (7 of us) climbed up to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain to the building used during ski season. Has a wood burning stove AND electricity. No water or restrooms but we are out of the weather and have a fire and the boys found a radio that works and when it gets dark, we'll have lights if we want 'em. It was pretty cool last night and with the rain tonight would have been pretty miserable. Glad we had access to this place.
Tomorrow we have another major long up or two before we get an easy gradual down to the highway. I am going back to Sloggers folks' house tomorrow and will probably take the Sunday off. His sister is planning on coming back up and bringing lobster. I'll have a taste of real Maine lobster. After this week-end it will be walk, walk, walk. Tow more towns for food drops after Stratton on Sat. and then the "100 mile wilderness" before the "Big-K". About 195 miles.
Whoops, had my sox on a rack over the stove dryin. I now have grill marks on my hiking sox and the liners got "overdone". So did Charlie Razor's. I cooked my beans and rice on top of the stove too. Feels good to be dry and warm and full and it's only 5:30 p.m. I have my sleeping bag on top of a picnic table in front of some windows. there are some weather gauges here too and they are just awhizzing around. It is real foggy (clouds?) with probably a whole 20 feet visibility. Sure hope it's better in the morning. We have .6 to get off this summit and then 10 miles up and down and up and down.
Guess we are going to play some cards so I'll close for now. Love, Mom. Ps. gee this is different. Hey Larry, we played Euchre .
- Sat Sept 18..WOW, what a view this morning!
Peaks peeking up and out of the clouds and the sun peeking down through other higher clouds. Sunrise was neat and Llama Mama was the only one with film in a camera. Had some really nice views today and some really cloudy non-views too. Walked along a mountain stream for a while uphill and that sounded really good. Had to rest quite a few times up the steep parts, as usual. Mostly had bright or sunny overhead ad wet underfoot. As we came down the last 5 miles or so, we came under the clouds. And again we got lucky with the rain. It started up after Sloggers folks picked us up.
Boy, I've sure been watched over and taken care of on this trip. Must have something to do with all the prayers back there- Not much I can add to that! Love, Mom
- Sun. Sept 19th 6 a.m.
Happy Birthday to your Dad. I sure couldn't have made this hike without his love and understanding and Outstanding support. Hope he has a nice day today. I'm looking forward to having him be there and waiting for me at Baxter State Park. Missing him alot..
Hi kids, Today I'm going to get all my stuff organized that I have sitting in these peoples' garage. Need to figure how many days food I REALLY need to carry 'till I get to the next food drop and then pack the rest up and send it ahead to the State Park at the end. If I have to wait on the weather to climb Katahdin, I'll have extra food (AND Dad in the camper!). Going to get all the maps out and see what kind of mileage I THINK I can do and what kind of mileage I should be to be able to get there within a day or so of my projected finish date.
Don't know if Slogger is going to be with me after Caratunk or if I'll head out on the last stretch on my own again. I really didn't think I wanted to do the wilderness by myself but, whatever happens, I know I'll be able to handle. One step at a time with the help of my higher power. It may not be easy but I can do it, like it or not. I've done alot I wasn't sure I'd be able to do already. Alot of really hard work on my "old goose body" and my mind.
Well, we won't talk about the "old goose mind" ha ha. I'm going to get this ready to send early today, even thought it won't actually be on it's way 'till tomorrow. I seem to always run out of time to get everything done I'd like to do and today it needs to ALL get done. Love you all lots and miss you. Looking forward to seeing you, miss those hugs and kisses. kiss, hug, Mom.
Ps. Mondays' hike should be the last hard climb 'till the Big K. I'd really looked forward to getting to Maine and I am having a good time here and enjoying the views and the trail It really is pretty.
- Sept.20 1993.. hello again.
Tenting tonight at a campsite. 10.1 miles from Hwy. 27 where we started out around 9:30 a.m. It is just a little after 6 p.m. and there are three of us tented here and another fellow down a little ways.(Slogger, Charlie Razor, myself and Unbalanced Bruce). We all decided another 5 miles to the next shelter was not the thing to do at 4:30 when we arrived at the side trail to this campsite. There are a couple of wooden platforms and several fairly flat areas to put tents up on. All three of us have tents. Supper is cooked and the food bags are hung, although I must admit mine is not hung nearly as high as it should be. Hope nothing decides to visit tonight and look for food! Hmm, I have my tent on a slight slope, I'll probably slide into the door all night. Ha ha, as long as I don't slide OUT the door, right? It's supposed to get pretty chilly again tonight. Tent is actually warmer to be in than a shelter, especially if the wind is blowing.
It was a real sunny day, but it wasn't very warm. There were places on the trail where the water had frozen and the ground was still frozen in other places. Don't think there was any rain forecast for a day or two at least. Can use all the "rain-less" sunny days I can get.
Well, it's almost 7 o'clock and it's getting kinda dark to see what I'm writing here in the tent. It is much too cold to sit outside and write. I can hear the wind racing through the tree tops. Not as strong down around the tent, thank goodness. Well kids, gonna put this away and get my radio on for a while. Hopefully I'll be tosty warm tonight. Love, Mom
- Tue. 21st..Wow, another beautiful day in Maine.
I'm really fortunate to have had such good weather through this area. We hiked about 12 miles today and got to the shelter very early, like 2:30 in fact. We are beside a pretty big pond. Still waiting to hear a loon. Sure would be neat to hear one tonight. Pretty soon they'll be headed south I think. It is sure getting chilly. Have worn my gloves about half the day. Long Johns are everyday wear for me the past few days. The wind wasn't too strong today, just a little bit windy this morning. When we got up on the peaks today it wasn't near as hard as yesterday was as far as being windy and cold. The views today were really great and the trail through the woods was excellent. We had a couple of climbs today and worked up a good sweat at it and then didn't want to stop much 'cause you cooled down really fast.
Sitting here writing this with my gloves on and I'm not especially warm. guess I'll put on my heavier long john top and see if that helps. Most 4 p.m. so maybe I'll have an early supper. Love, Mom
Ps. Hi again. Got tosty with my other top and jacket on. Ate my supper and then walked down to the pond. Saw a couple of loons way down on the other end and a big flock of geese flew over them and by golly, the loons sounded off. I've finally heard loons.. How neat! I thought maybe I'd get thru and never hear one.. kiss, hug, Mom.
- 09-22-93..Dear Kids
Another beautiful day. Very little wind and lots of sunshine. Had a short day today. 9.7 miles to the shelter and it was a pretty nice walk. Started clouding up around 2 p.m. but we are all at the shelter (Slogger, Charlie Razor, PackMule and myself). Tomorrow morning we stop at Harrisons' Fish Camp for breakfast and then on to the Kennebec River. Boat runs from 10 a.m. to noon for crossing. Another milestone on the trail!
Today we are by another large pond. Heard a loon way far off this afternoon already. It's really neat to hear. very different. Glad I finally heard them..
Looks like it's going to rain. The forecast said possible showers late this afternoon so, I suppose it will. I hope it stops before morning if it does rain tonight. The leaves on the hill across the way have lots of color showing. Down here next to the pond there are not alot of them changed but then, there are alot of evergreens too. There is a person fly-fishing from a boat, out aways. This is just a cove of a very large lake, even thought it is called a pond.
The fellows are gathering wood for a fire tonight, that will be nice. 4 o'clock already. Guess I'll go get some branches too. Kiss, hug, Mom
6p.m. Done with supper, no rain yet but very cloudy. Pond is very smooth and the hills and trees and clouds are all reflected perfectly in it. Have a nice little campfire here in front of the shelter. All I need to make it a perfect evening is to have Dad here by my side. It really is a pretty evening.
Another hiker came in, he goes by The Mayor. Haven't met him before but, Mule and Charlie have. It feels warmer tonight than it has the past couple of nights.
We are due at the camp for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Slogger went down and made reservations for us all. They serve a Large breakfast and at a very reasonable price. It's one of those "must do's" on the trail..
Well kids, gotta hang my food bags out of the mice's reach. By the way, the other night when I hung my food in the tree, a mouse managed to find my snicker bar and munch a big bite off of it!! More tomorrow. Love, Mom
- Thur. 9-23. 10:15 a.m.
Waiting on the south side of the Kennebec. Beautiful sunny day. Great breakfast at Harrisons'. Boat on the other side ready to come over. On to Caratunk for a mail drop. Love, Mom.
Well, the good weather couldn't last forever. The clouds moved in as we got our mail drop packages sorted out in Caratunk. We got started up the trail and didn't get rained on until we were almost half way to the shelter. We have a full shelter (6 of us). There are three here I hadn't met. Blues man( he plays harmonica) Lar the Bear, and Christy (a female). Then PackMule, Charlie Razor and myself. Slogger is tenting and Toro is tenting.
We never got any rain last night. The stars came out and it was real nice. The breakfast at Harrisons' cost $5.50 and you got 12 pancakes, 3 sausage links, 2 eggs, a glass of juice and coffee. The pancakes had apple in them and reminded me of the ones Grandpa A.J used to make for me when I was a kid.
The sun was out and it was really pretty this morning. The trail to the river was real nice. Only took about an hour to walk there. The trip across the river was in a canoe. He took two of us across at a time and one paddled and one rode in the middle (me). Then we walked into Caratunk for our mail. It will be about 3 days to get to Monson. It was about 6 miles out of town today here to the shelter. Tomorrow we have about a 1250 foot climb in about a mile. That will be first thing in the morning. Rather then than at the end of the day. Still gonna be work thought. Just figure slow but sure.
Guess I'll get my radio out and see if I can find anything to listen to. Golly, it's only 10 to 7 and it's started to be dark enough to be hard to see to write. The rain has stopped and it really isn't very cold either. Hopefully tomorrow will not be rainy. Love, Mom
- Friday Sept. 24th. What another beautiful day!
Hi there. Well, after a cool start this morning, it turned out really nice. Except for the wind, that was pretty chilly. ESPECIALLY when I went over the bald area. Saw a deer today, nice big doe. The fellow that came into the shelter right after we did , saw a moose just before he got here.
The second mountain we had to climb today was worse than the first. But, the views were Awesome. I could see all around 360*s of trees, mountains, water and the clouds over the mountains in the distance. The walk through the woods was really nice. Trail was good. The leaves are starting to fall already in some areas too.
Tomorrow will be a 16+ mile day going into Monson. I've been walking with Charlie Razor the last few days. He'll be leaving the trail for a few days. He's going home for his son's wedding. Slogger is still on the trail but he'll find out in Monson if he's going to go home for a while or not. PackMule and I know we're going on but PackMule hasn't been feeling well so he is going to take Sunday off and try and get a bit of strength back. I think I'll head out Sunday or maybe take a short day to the first shelter. Then I'll have to figure my days pretty carefully so I get through the "Wilderness" at least within a day of when I tell Dad to meet me. I just hope I can do the mileage with the extra weight of all that food in my pack. Going to plan on NOT taking 10 days to go through so I won't need 10 days worth of food. Going to walk down to the pond before it gets any darker. Hope to hear loons again tonight. Love, Mom
- Sat. Sept. 25th... Heard loons very far off last night.
Hello again... Somebody up there has to be lookin out for me!! The weather today was just fantastic. I can't believe what beautiful days I've had. The hike today was a little difficult only because we were pushing to get to town fairly early.
There are two places to stay here in Monson. One is like a bunkhouse type B and B for hikers. The other is an apartment house. It has upstairs apt. and a downstairs apt. Actually 1/2 houses. Really nice place, laundry room is included.
Sooooo, there are three of us here in the bottom, Charlie, Mule and myself. Had a great surprise when we got here to find Chickory and Llama Mama upstairs. Also met The Graduates for the first time up there. We have a great place! We even had company last night. Katy and Jeremy came in, remember them? He's Bad Boy Bean and she had knee problems and heat exhaustion back in PA. So nice to see them again. Also, a fellow I hiked with last year who had been on the trail again this year drove in. Mountain Man also visited a while. He was looking for somebody in the guest register and was surprised to see me. He had hiked with Llama Mama clear back in Georgia. So we had seven of us sitting around visiting and watching TV. NICE.
The three of us decided it would be nice to have a good home cooked dinner and breakfast so, we pooled our money on that too and went shopping at the little store across the street. Charlie has been talking about meatloaf, of all things, and it sounded so good for the last couple of days so I guess you know what the main dish was that I fixed. Yep, it was good and we even set the dining room table and had a real sit down dinner. It was fun. I'll be glad to get home and cook real meals again.
It won't be long now,, just the "100 Mile Wilderness" and the climb up Katahdin. It seems strange to think about being so close to the end of this journey. What a lot of memories I'll have from this. so many people I've met and places I've been. Views I've had that I'd not get anywhere else but from the AT and some that I can get to again by driving. Some people will stay fresh in my mind through letters and other from pictures and some will no doubt be forgotten forever or maybe a passing "gee, I wonder where they are now"..
I'm planning to head out with Chickory and Llama Mama. Slogger is staying at the other place and his folks are supposed to come up sun. (tomorrow.) I haven't talked to him so I am not sure when he's heading out. I'd like to see his folks again but I don't know what time they'll get here and I don't even know what time we're heading out.
Well, even if I take 10 days to get through the wilderness that only puts me one day past my estimated arrival date. Surprise... And that means that Dad and I will be able to be together for our 37th wedding anniversary. Guess we can celebrate big time huh??
I'd better not start planning that yet 'cause I've still got this last leg of my journey ahead of me. For all the times I've thought "Boy, if I can't drive there, I'm not going" I've also thought, "I'm glad I'm out here doing this, even if I am carrying this heavy pack and working my butt off".
- 26th a.m. Whew.
Don't think I even want to know how much the food weighs that I'm taking for this last long stretch. Guess I'd better close this letter and get my pack packed so it's ready whenever I decide to get started on the road back to the trail. Hope we can get a ride back and won't have to walk like we did coming in. It's just a little after 6 a.m. and I'm sitting here in my bed thinking of what I have to do and what we're gong to cook for breakfast. Gonna get this letter all set to send out. Love, Mom
Ps. Food weighs only (?) 15# and weather forecast says rain!
- Mon. Sept. 27..Hello, it sure did seem like a long 12.1 miles today.
Well, we didn't get rain until afternoon. Fifteen minutes after in fact. Just about the time we were wading across a knee deep river. My boots and sox were still wet from yesterday so, I left 'em on to wade across. When I came to the second one, I waited for the couple behind me. I didn't want to go across that one by myself, seemed pretty swift. I made it across both of them without my body slipping into the water.
It was all up and down today. The woods were actually kinda pretty. Saw a couple neat ponds along the way. Took quite a few pictures today too. Before the rain mostly. don't know if they'll turn out or not but I couldn't resist the misty pictures. There is a couple, John and Cheryl, out to hike "The wilderness" and I hiked pretty much with them today. They came into the shelter last night and are planning to take ten days to go through. This is a get-away vacation for them. I sure was glad they were behind me when I got to that last water crossing.
Another thru-hiker came into the shelter tonight. He came all the way from town. Doesn't sound like FUN! Sure hope we don't have to walk in rain tomorrow. W have a mountain to climb first thing. Guess we'll get what we get and like it. Well, maybe not like it, ha ha. Love, Mom
- Sept.28, Tue. Whew, what a workout!
Hi kids, I sure was glad to get to this shelter. Seems like I worked awfully hard doing the climb today and then there were those downs that were rock scrambles. Guess maybe the fact that there was lots of slippery mud and my shoes were very wet and the rocks were somewhat slick made it tedious.
Fell on my backside once going down hill and then on an easy up I slipped and found a rock with my face. Thank goodness neither was a hard fall. Sure did make me "antsy" when I got to a steep spot. Had to sit down and get myself together before I could get nerve enough to go on. I didn't fall anymore anyway, just a few slips and slides.
It was a nice day anyway, didn't get any rain and the sun was shining nice and bright when I got to the top of the first (of three) mountain. Went through a bog that had pitcher plants growing and I forgot to look for them. Just kept my eyes on the darn bog logs so I didn't slip into the mud. Should have looked, my feet got muddy and wet anyway! Cheryl says there were a bunch of them but I'm not going back, that's for sure!
Feels like it's gonna get a little chilly tonight. Forecast that one of the boys heard says "more rain tomorrow". YUK! I expect I'll have wet feet until I finish this trip. Do hope it doesn't get cold and nasty though.
Tomorrow doesn't look quite as difficult as today was, at least on the profile map. Just under 10 miles too, so it will be less mileage too. Guess I'll close this note for tonight. Hope the mice at this shelter are not as aggressive as last night. They were doing dashes across our bodies (arms, hands, heads, whatever). They made forays into John and Cheryl's food stuff too! Love you and miss you. Mom
- Sept. 29th Nice weather today, Hooray.
Had some scary rocks to climb down this morning but at least it didn't last too long, thank goodness. Had another creek to wade across, it wasn't very deep. Not up to my knees at least and the current wasn't as swift as the others were. Short mileage so to speak, 9.6.
Of all things to see in "The Wilderness", a TV reporter. He is an "outdoor story" reporter and he was going up the Gulf Hagas Trail. Anyway, his program will be on TV Oct. 5th... I may or may not be in it as he is speak with me. Just before that was a logging road to drive in on so people can do a day hike to see the Gulf Hagas. It's a canyon creek with some spectacular falls and such.
Well, tomorrow there are 4 peaks to climb and it's short mileage. I'll probably be Real glad the shelter isn't any farther away. I've been hiking again today with John and Cheryl. Forded the creek and took a break together. I walked ahead after that, walked with them awhile in the morning. We have been checking the maps and distances for the rest of the trip, guess we are pretty much going to be together. That will be kinda nice. Well, it's 6:30 and already too dark to see to write, need to conserve on flashlight batteries. Love, Mom
- Sept 30th Whooooeee. Chilly.
Got snowed on! Had a neat view up on top of the last mountain today. Sunshine on one side and dark clouds on the other. Pine trees all frosty on top and fall colors showing on the lower mountain sides across the valley. Wasn't cold walking at least. Got to the shelter very early even though it did take me five hours to get here. Decided to stay here rather than take a chance on not finding a tent site a little farther on or getting rained on. It would probably be warmer down lower but maybe rain, not snow.
The sun peeks out just enough to tease and then hides behind the clouds again. I felt pretty good walking today, just tried to take it slow and steady. As if I could do it any other way, ha ha.. I'm all bundled up and sitting in my sleeping bag trying to get my fee warmed up. Of course my sox and boots are still damp. Not sloshy wet at least. Gee, I even have my gloves on and my fingers are cold.
Had a hot lunch of soup with potatoes and hot Jell-O to drink. Too early right now to cook supper. Didn't carry much extra stuff 'cause I really tried to keep the weight down. OH, I heard a moose this morning before I left the shelter!
PackMule just came in and fixed lunch and moved on. He told his folks to pick him up on the 4th so he wants to get as far as possible each day. He's not a fair weather tenter like I am. Chickory and Llama Mama also have gone on ahead, hoping to find ten sites somewhere along the way. The next shelter is 11.6 miles, expect that is what I'll do tomorrow. There is a possibility of going on 7 miles more to a tent site, depending on the time, weather and how I feel. It would make the next day shorter. Since I am thinking of doing a couple long days anyhow, I would just as soon go from shelter to shelter, wimp that I am.
BOY, I am really looking forward to meeting Pops. He is leaving tomorrow to start for Baxter Park. I expect he'll be there long before me, well, at least a day ahead.
It was nice meeting John and Cheryl and planning a few days mileage together. If I walk ahead of them at least I feel pretty secure knowing that if I should fall or something that they ware going to be coming along. I guess I'll get up and move around and I may warm up more and then it will be supper time. Hope it gets a bit warmer and doesn't rain. Love, Mom.
- Follow the white blaze to Chapter 8