We’ve made it to Monson, ME, the last trail town for north-bounders on the Appalachian Trail. It is really starting to hit us that we’re nearing the end of our journey, and we’re starting to try to comprehend how far we have come in nearly six months of hiking.
In the last week or two we finished the “harder” hiking in Maine- which resembled NH hiking- tough climbs, rock scrambles etc, but we thought (unlike many) that this was slightly easier than NH. Progressively the mountains in Maine got easier, and we started coming across more lakes and ponds as the terrain got flat.
One morning at one of these ponds, we got to witness a mother moose chomping on some water plants while her calf watched her from ashore. When we walked closer to the calf, the calf looked into the water with the expression “but mommy it’s cold!” and finally got in to join it’s mother. They both swam across to the other shore, got out and walked into the woods, away from us.
We also got to get into a lake or two and have a refreshing swim, since lately the weather has turned very warm on us again. As we arrived in Monson, I asked a local how hot it had been in the last couple days and they told us they had broken the record at 97 degrees. No wonder I was feeling like we were back in CT. That has to be at least the second time on our trip we’ve been in an area where the all time hottest temperature was reached while we were there.
Since my last email we reached the “2000 mile marker”, which is significant because when the trail was first built it was barely more than 2000 miles, and thru-hikers were, and still are called “2000-milers.” Once we finish the trail, we can fill out a form to receive a “2000 miler” badge. Now the trail is 20179.8 miles long, and we’ve done just about 2070ish miles. Next up is the 100-mile Wilderness, after which we end up at the foot of Katahdin. We will try to do the 100-mile Wilderness in 6 or 7 days, although we may have to find shelter on Saturday when the hurricane is supposed to hit, and wait it out.
I think this will be the last email you get from us before we finish the trail. It is really amazing to me that my feet have taken me this far. I think what most people don’t understand about hiking the trail is that it is a real job. Just like a job, you are disciplined to get up early every morning even when you want to sleep in, and hike around 10 hours a day. The only difference is we don’t take days off.
For some reason my body never really got used to the stress- we’ve built a lot of leg muscle, but my feet have constantly been in pain, and many a time my leg muscles are very sore. I’m looking forward to resting, having fresh clothes, being clean, and eating fruits and vegetables.
I’d love to have time to write more stories, but we’re sharing the computer here… so I’d better wrap up.
The end is near, and the next time you hear from us, we’ll either be on our way home, or already home! I’m sure I’ll have a few more stories to tell then.
We hope to summit on the 9th, so keep us in mind on that day. I’m sure when we reach the sign at the top of Mount Katahdin, along with all our emotions, we will remember all the people who have helped us along the way…
Dormouse and Dirt Stew