Monday, September 22, 2008

2,000 Milers!!

we made Maine and the 2,000 mile mark! but we still got just over a 100 miles left through the so-called "100 mile wilderness" (though other hikers are still slackpacking and coming back into town for the night by way of logging roads - wilderness?)!

the last week or so has been fantastic, some of the best on the trail, but Maine hasn't been all sunshine and views. the first few days once we stepped over the NH/ME border have probably been the hardest both physically and mentally.

Smiles of relief, we finally made it! Unfortunately the weather turned on us and we found entering Maine to be some of the hardest hiking we had encountered in a long time.

The legend of the moose in Mahoosuc notch was true. Apparently this moose fell into the notch and didn't make it out. Rest in Peace. ( well until a fellow hiker packed out the skull and is taking it to Katahdin)

A mile through the notch took us over an hour. It was kinda like a rock obstacle course!

I went under and Hoot went above. We hikers get annoyed when we have to take our packs off.

The fall foliage is becoming a pleasant sight.

In Rangeley, Maine we caught a ride with Detour (the animated guy) and stayed at Gull Pond Lodge run by Bob (older man). What an interesting pair to listen to. Detour probably talked more in one day than I have on the whole trail. Great place.

So from time to time we make bad decisions. For example, leaving a shelter at 4:00pm when it starts to rains, then climbing some of the highest peaks, and looking for campspots in the dark. Here is the aftermath....wet everything.

A two-seater privy with a cribbage board in between, Maine doesn't mess around with their privies!

Happy 60th Birthday to Brushstrokes! Ron, Brushstrokes, Serene and Ravon were celebrating and relaxing in Stratton, ME.

Beautiful day on Mt. Bigelow. There is water everywhere in Maine. This is the hiking that keeps us motivated and smiling!

Hoot is brave enough to test the chilly waters. I however just admire the scenery.

Wooh! 2,000 miles!

Tim Harrison runs a sportmans lodge and camp near Caratunk, ME. He also serves a 12 pancake breakfast for hikers. We definitely took part in this. He also let Hoot and I take out a canoe on the pond.

And here is Dave, aka HillBilly! The official white blazed trail is crossing the Kennebec River by Ferry and Dave is the one in charge. There are still some crazy hikers who attempt to ford this river, not smart.

And after crossing the ferry, we headed to Northern Outdoors in The Forks, ME. Split a room for $9 each, relaxed in a hot tub, drank some beer from the Microbrewery and ate some good grub. Take notice of the large moosehead above us. In order: Hoot, Sundance, Gonzo, Borders, Just Mike, and Worm.

Our first real "ford". Southbounders who passed through Maine earlier would laugh at this, but luckily the water levels have been low. The water was freezing at 7:30 in the morning!

And here we are in Monson, ME. The last stop before Katahdin. We received our 3 boxes of food from the post office and relaxed here at the Lake Shore Lodge and Eatery. This is a view of the lake behind the lodge.

And of course we woke up early when we heard there was an All You Can Eat breakfast at Shaw's, another hiker hostel nearby. It was delicious!

Worm and Sweet Potato point out that we have come a long way.

So if you look close, in the far distance, there is a silhouette of our future, the Big "K", Katahdin.

Friday, September 5, 2008

can't stop, won't stop.....

...they don't call it the whites for nothing! aah yes, New Hampshire and the White Mountains were amazing. Hard, but worth every climb. most of the pics below were taken in the Presidential Range of the whites (Mt. Washington, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Franklin etc.) where the Appalachian Mtn Club (AMC) has a backcountry hut system for hikers who can pay a hefty sum to stay in a bunkhouse and eat some quality grub. there is a lot of mixed feelings about the system and the politics involved but it worked out for us! we got to do work for stay with other thru-hikers in a couple of huts and stealth camp the rest of the time! The other big news is that we are a day away from Maine, which means only 280 miles to go. we plan to finish at the end of this month - time has flown by! but, got a lot to look forward to in Maine. Here's the highlights from NH:

a bunch of thru-hikers waiting for the leftover food at Galehead hut. our first stay in a hut by washing dishes.

Looking up to Webster cliffs was so daunting that we decided to stop by the road for the night and stealth camp with "The Bulls" & "Rub-a-dub."

the next moring met up with the wonderful "Longwetru" & "Willow" on Webster cliffs lookout. always great to see this pair!

view of the terrain to Mt. Washington from Mt. Jackson, where the clouds would form and quickly dissipate right over the peaks.

Lakes of the Clouds hut, just 1.5 miles below mt washington. the wind was blowing like crazy all day. we heard there were gusts up to 70 mph. it made hiking difficult but more of an adventure!

Here we are working for our stay. Wiping down all the wooding with bleach water to prevent mold growth. With all these hands, it got done quickly!

The sign warns to steer clear of Mt. Washington when bad weather is present. Several people die every year here due to ill preparedness.

Hoot, Sundance, Sweet Potato, Brahma Bull, Rub-a-Dub, and Gonzo celebrating the summit of Mt. Washington!

View near Carter Notch Hut, one of the more secluded and peaceful huts we visited.

Hoot and Sundance pushing on against the wind hiking up Mt. Madison.