Reaching the Northern turminus,
The last of the adventure of The Old Gray Goose
- Friday Oct. 1..
Hi kids.. well today is the day Dad started for Maine, or at least that's what the plan was. I have under 60 miles to go to the end of this journey. Seems strange it's actually so close.
I'm going to miss all my hiker friends and the shelter "gatherings" at night. All the different sights everyday. Won't miss the rain and wet feet and cold, that's for sure! Won't miss putting on the backpack either. Just can't do this trip without it, or at least a lot of the trip without some type of pack, even a daypack is needed to do the slackpacking so you have to carry SOMETHING.
It has been another perfect hiking day in Maine! Cool temp, sunny and not too windy. Had some great trail today. Only a couple of climbs that were not too steep or long. Passed by some real pretty ponds today. Took a lunch break at one. Took lots of pictures again today.
It was real cold last night. Water froze in one of the other hikers pans! Burrr. And it quite a few places I passed, it was all frosty on the bushes and weeds. The sky was a beautiful blue and there were just a few puffy white clouds floating along. Trees are really colorful, all shades of green and gold and tan and crimson and maroon. Just a really beautiful fall day. Couldn't have asked for a better day.
I got here to the shelter and found more beauty (no, not the shelter). There is a falls just up from the shelter and then it turns into a quiet shallow pool down in front of the shelter and then it flows out past some large rocks in a small cascade down the stream so you have water noise at both ends. It sure is pretty. I'm sitting beside the pool on a big rock in the sunshine. Feels good warming myself and not having to walk to do it! It's actually still pretty cool when I'm not in the sun.
It took about 6 hours to get here today. That's including my breaks so I guess the 21 miles I'd like to do tomorrow will be possible, but cutting it pretty close to dark.
Hope John and Cheryl decide they will do it too. We had discussed it as a possibility. Also of doing a bit more today but they aren't here yet so I haven't done anything except to get water and filter a quart to walk with.
I see by the shelter register that Chickory and Llama Mama made it here yesterday. Gee, it would be nice to be able to hike like that!! But, I'm just Thankful I'm able to do this at all. I doubt that we'll move on to the campsite, I think it's about 7 miles farther on. I guess I'll decide that when they get here. Just going to sit and bask in the sun. Love, Mom.
- Sat. Oct 2nd.. Hi there.
Boy it just keeps getting better and better. Last nite we stayed at that beautious place and had a nice campfire too. Had a diving bird fly in and it swam around in the pond, eating minnows I guess. The pond was so clear I could see it swimming under water! The wind came up very strong during the night, didn't rain though. It was still windy when we started out this morning. Every once in a while a branch would come crashing down in the woods. The sun was out really nice. Had some great trail today and made some good time for the first seven miles. That took us to a red sign for the Antler Campsite and Lo and Behold, there was a tent and tarp set up with FREE food for hikers. The 6th Annual Hikers Feast! Stayed there for two hours eating and talking with the couple there..mmmmmgood, a real treat.
Then as I was walking along, about three hours later, I found a five dollar bill. That was sure a surprise. To top off the day, I got to the shelter Before Dark, yay.
I was just finishing eating when John and Cheryl came in. I had thought they were going to tent back by the pond. So, we did our 21 mile day.
Tomorrow I have 19 scheduled. It will be a bit more difficult 'cause it's got ups and downs! Possible rain forecast for tomorrow, yuk.
Had a great view of Katahdin today but the top was shrouded in a big black cloud! I sure hope I can climb it on a good day.
Well, I wonder where Pop is tonight? Hope he had a good day driving.
Have a full shelter here tonight. A southbound section hiker and Chickory and Llama Mama, John, Cheryl and myself. It's 7:30 and I'm using up my batteries so guess I'll close this. Love, Mom..
- Sunday Oct. 3 1993 5:45 p.m. An interesting day!
Hi kids. Here I am sitting in my tent, not where I had intended to be. Left late this a.m. in the rain. Decided the first shelter would be the place to aim for instead of 19, it's 7.9 miles. Well, I got to that shelter at 1 p.m. and cooked my dinner. Waited 'till 2:15 to see if John and Cheryl would show up. Left them a note and was headed to the campsite ahead, either 2 or 4 miles. But, I missed the Rainbow Springs area. Was looking for a sign, no sign. By the time I realized that I must be past it, I was too far along to turn around. Sooooo, I kept on walking and hoped I'd find a tent site by 5 p.m. YEP, I'm being watched over, at 5 'till, I came to a spot that had been used as a tent site. Just a few feet up from the lake. I can hear the water lapping at the shore line. I got my tent set up and took my water bag down to the lake. It's pretty along the lake with the trees showing their fall colors.
Managed to get my filter to work enough to get a quart. I'll boil water in the morning and have a hot drink and replace any of the water I drink up tonight. Got a big hole in the toe of my sock today and it made my big toe kinda sore. I get to put on my clean dry sox tomorrow 'cause these are going to get trashed. I even left them outside, phew.
Hope no critters try to get in the tent as I have everything except the bag of water in here.
As near as I can figure, I have about 16.5 miles to go tomorrow to Daicey Pond where I think Dad will be. then 2 miles to the last campground to make it 5.2 up to the peak instead of 7.2, one way.
It takes a full day to climb the mountain and come back down and I want to do it when it's NOT raining. Or at least start when it's not raining.
Hope the ranger has good weather reports, good as in accurate I mean.
Strange, I am ending my adventure as I started it-- on my own and in my tent.
I'm sure looking foreward to seeing Pop. I had told Chickory and Llama Mama, if they see him to tell him I'll be late 'cause I might have 21 miles to do. At least I won't have That amount to do!
Flash light almost dead. Gotta save it in case I have to find a tree after dark (hope I don't have to). Guess I'll have to close this "almost last" letter. Love, Mom.
- Monday Oct. 4th.
Gee, it got dark before I had time to tell you I saw a beaver yesterday. Came past a beaver pond and stood there a few minutes looking around and sure enough there was one working on a branch. Haven't seen much critters. Red squirrels and chipmunks and those darned mice in the shelters that you also FEEL when they run across you. Did flush up a couple rough grouse today too.
I walked along a mountain stream that was full of flumes and cascades and was really rushing down the mountain. It was really a pretty trail along there. Kinda narrow and slipped at times but pretty. It did stop sprinkling not too long after I'd started walking yesterday and the sun came out just as I was getting to the shelter where I cooked my dinner. It was still nice when I got to where I set up my tent last night. Of course around 4 a.m. it started raining. Not hard but it was still wet. It was still sprinkling when I took down my tent this morning. Yuk, wet tent that I have to remember to get out and dry. It stopped not too long after I got on the trail again but the trail was wet and muddy. Those tree roots are sure slippery and I had lots of them.
Just before I got to the shelter (last one on the trail) I slipped and fell. Really whacked the old legs a good one this time. Both of them at that. Put a scare into me 'cause all I could think was "oh no, I can't break anything this close to the end!". Well I limped into the shelter and took a candy bar morning break. Decided I was just going to have Very Sore Legs.
The trail from there into Daicey Pond had a variety of ponds, woods, rocks, roots, flat, hill, streams, falls and if it hadn't started to rain again I probably would have enjoyed it much more. My feet were wet and seemed to be getting colder and the temp. was too. It was mid-afternoon when I got to the ranger station to sign in and inquire as to where Pops might be and where the boys might be. He told me the boys were "parked" in the "thru-hikers shelter" at the bottom of the hill. Take the auto road down and you'll probably find them with your husband, he said. I just couldn't go fast enough! Found Dad, or I should say I whistled and Dad came charging out of the camper.
When I got there and dropped my pack, I asked about the boys (Chickory and Llama Mama) and when I walked in the camper, there they were. Gave a big cheer for me and really surprised me. Was real nice to sit there and have a nice hot cup of coffee. High5R had sent a tin of cookies down with Dad so we got those opened up and celebrated! Just one more thing to do to finish up our journey. Put the icing on the cake! Climb the "Big K"!
The ranger had said tomorrow was supposed to be partly sunny so the boys and I decided we'd go for the climb tomorrow. They agreed to go at a rate of speed that would keep me with them so that we all three would do it together!
Got my permit to spend the night there at Daicey Pond and we made plans to start out by 7 a.m. and have Dad meet us in the afternoon at Katahdin Stream Campground where the trail starts the trip up to the peak.
Hard to realize that I've walked from VA to ME these last four months and from GA to VA last year when I was out the first time. Quite a Walk. Not something I'm planning on doing next year that's for sure!
g'night, hugs and kisses, Mom
- Oct. 5, 1993 Tuesday.
Gee, I actually got to the Daicey Pond Campground on the day I had figured on my schedule. That's amazing to me. And today was THE day. got up at 6a.m. Cold and Clear. It looked like a definite "go" for our last adventure on the AT..
We had 7.5 miles up to the peak and then 5 miles back down to the point where we had to register for the climb.
When we got there to the register, another thru-hiker arrived in a taxi. I had first met this fellow back in Caledonia State Park and had only seen him once since then. So, now there are four of us ready to sign in.
On the sheet we see that at 7 a.m. another hiker we'd met had started up and directly under his sign in was a notice stating this was now classified as a class IV day and all trails were closed. Possible 8 " of snow. This was not good news. We could climb up as far as tree line but after that it was going to be illegal.
Well, we have walked this far from GA and we all agreed we'd go as far as we thought we could safely go. Part way up we met the first hiker returning. He said he felt it was too icy for him to continue all the way.
We kept going upward and got to the tree line. We all decided it was still "do-able" so it was "let's go on, can't stop now".
We moved onward and upward. Past the treeline and onto the table land, it was icy and snowy but, we still didn't feel that we were unable to continue on.
No 8" of snow yet.
We kept on going. It was windy but not too bad.
the top was within sight and it was within reach.
At last, we had made it.
Our goal was the sign reading---?? Who knows??-- it was iced over so much that all that was really readable was KATAHDIN.
OH, what an emotional moment!
What hugs and cheers there were.
Then the cameras came out AND the extra windbreakers and mittens.
The sun peeked out a couple of times and the clouds moved over and more moved in and the wind would move them on. AWESOME!
We didn't stay up too long on top 'cause we were getting cooled off very quickly.
As we were headed back down, we actually got snowed on some, but not too much. There were some really black clouds that moved along and just made some awesome sights up there.
After we got back down to where the register was, we found that the ranger had asked the first one down if anyone had been above tree line..and of course he said NO and she (ranger) said well, she had no way to prove other wise. She left after a bit more conversation so, she was gone when I got down there. ("whew")
Dad and I packed up the fourth hiker, put his pack in the truck and we headed out of the park and toward a motel, a shower, and a real bed. sigh
- Wed. Oct.6th After the climb
We left the motel in Millinocket and got an elastic bandage for my leg. I managed to whack it again yesterday coming off Mt.Katahdin.
Last night we called out for food for supper--TWICE! I had leftover pizza for breakfast.
Anyway, On the Road Again -headed off down the road and got on Rt.2. Stopped at an oriental restraunt for lunch.
Went to Dixfield to Sloggers folks. Got directions to the market where Barbara had bought those delicious steaks. Dunhams Lobster Pot, Phillips ME.
We now have two in the camper cooler to fix for our Anniversary dinner!
That side trip had put us on Rt.4 so we headed to Rangely and we are now at "The Farmhouse Inn Bed and Breakfast". Have a kitchen in our two room suite so, cooked hot dogs for our supper.
Having a good time! Oh, and we saw a red fox out in the middle of a field this afternoon.
We are going to take our time and have a nice ride home.
- Oct.7th Being tourists.
Went to see "The Old Man of the Mountain", the MA state emblem. Had fun picking routes for us to take working our way southwest across MA and into VT. Saw some real good chainsaw sculpters. Tonight we are by Killington VT. Leg still very sore, tried to keep it elevated alot while riding. Today we saw 2 MOOSE in a river.
- Oct.8th.. Our Anniversary
We stopped for breakfast and then went to the Norman Rockwell museum. We got there in time to catch the guided tour. Pops bought me a picture, wait 'till you see it!
Headed out on the road again, into NY and gee, we even found a couple of ice cream places to stop at. Got as far as the Tonawanda Motel and stopped for the night.
Had those yummy steaks. We cooked them when we stopped at a road side rest. Happy Anniversary!
- Sat. Oct. 9
Cloudy, very overcast, foggy and rain too. Got almost to Warren PA before the heavy rain let up some.
Stopped to check in with the families down at Warren and headed home just before dark
- 10 p.m. Home at last.
My adventure has come to an end.
Thanks to Dad and all of you for such wonderful loving support. I hope you have enjoyed my letters home and have felt that you were with me as I journied along following those white blazes.
I can hardly wait to feel your hugs.