Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I made it! Hooray!

How do I feel, you ask? Let's go through some summit pictures:




Yes, I have made it to the end of the Appalachian Trail and have officially thru-hiked it. I summited Mt. Katahdin yesterday, September 23rd: Exactly six months from my starting date! I have feelings of both extreme accomplishment and confusion as to what I've just done and why. But I think that's normal...I hope.

Right now I am in Millinocket, basking in beginning of an endless line of zero days I have before me. My body feels like it should be hiking right now, but it's going to have to get used to being lazy for a while...a long while. I need a massage.

Oh, and there was the 100 mile wilderness I hiked before Katahdin:

Here are some photos of that remote and freezing experience:

That's Katahdin off in the distance

Very beautiful terrain, but I felt as if I were back in Georgia again. Temperatures dropped below freezing most nights, and again, I was wearing everything I owned in a cinched up sleeping bag. But once I got hiking in the mornings, the cool air felt great!

It really hasn't hit me yet that I'm done. One thing I know I've accomplished is that I've conquered the fate of my trail name. For I am no longer LongShot: the courageous thru-hiker. I am now Logan: the unemployed bum. I'll probably have to do something about that.

Well, that's that. Eventually I'll make it home to Vermont through a series of buses or something. Thanks to everyone for your support and your comments. Your encouragement meant a lot to me in each town along the way, and kept me going! I'm sure I'll see many of you shortly and you can check out/gasp at my beard. That'll be fun. Till then, I'll be sleeping a lot!

And one more thing:

Watch this for reference.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The End is Nigh

Just got into Monson today, our last trail town before our big summit. The only thing that stands in our way is the 100-mile wilderness: 100 miles of trail with no towns or major roads (it's actually 115 miles). So I have to buy about a week's worth of food tonight. Can't wait to lug that out tomorrow morning.

But at the end of this treacherous trek, we are rewarded with the tallest mountain in Maine and also, the end of my journey: Mt. Katahdin. All of us are feeling the end, and it is getting nearer and nearer. A sad time for most, but I must admit...I'm ready to be done.
I'm about a week shy of 6 months on trail, and I'm feeling it. I'm ready to rejoin society...if they'll let me. But I'll have to reintroduce myself to your strange ways (you people shower more than once a week?! You must live like kings!) I'll get to drive, eat normal food, wear normal COTTON clothes, start wearing deodorant again... Man, I've been living a strange life.

Anyway, here are some photos:

This one sums up Maine pretty well.

Here we are enjoying one of the many lakes Maine has to offer.

2000 miles, baby!

A nice man with a thick Maine accent ferried us across the Kennebec river

Some sweet trail magic.

So the next time I post, I will have either finished victoriously, or become bedridden in a hospital. That's what it will take to keep me from that summit. Let's see what happens.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HIKR 2000

Just made it into the small town of Caratunk today. Luckily I'm staying some place dry as the rain is pelting down here.

Maine continues to be a great hike. I've seen two the same pond. That was pretty amazing. The terrain, while still rocky and rooty, is still very beautiful. I think it's the remoteness of the area. The lakes and ponds are untouched by any kind of civilization. It's nice to look across a huge lake and not see any boats or docks or houses.

In other news, we just passed the 2000 mile mark as of yesterday. A very nice milestone. I feel like I've walked 2000 miles. I can't wait until I can walk in the morning without hobbling (hopefully).

I've got some pictures, but this computer is locked away inside a shelf or something. So those will have to wait. I only have one more town stop after this, then it's onto Katahdin. Hopefully, I can update this thing before then, but if not, see you on the other side!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It was the Blurst of Times

Well, I always think that I can get in and out of town without taking a zero, and sometimes I'm right. Today, I am not. I'm sitting here in the Rangeley Free Library, typing away, and not hiking. But that's fine. Maine's been a harsh mistress. I need my rest. Yeah, that's it. Rest. But seriously all of our knees are about to fall apart.

Maine has definitely been beautiful so far, and unlike any other state we've been through. Lot's of roots and rocks and generally difficult terrain, but it wasn't annoying, like Virginia. Maybe the nice, cool weather has something to do with it...

We've all started to talk about life after the hike is over, and the real world is becoming that much closer with every step. I have no idea what I'm going to do. I have no idea how where to go once I summit Katahdin. I guess that's all part of this adventure.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maine: The Final Frontier

So I did it. I hiked from Georgia to Maine. I've satisfied the requirements of my blog's URL. I can go home now, right?

Wrong! I still have some 266 miles to go until I reach Mt. Katahdin. And if the rest of the Maine is anything like the southern part of the state, I'm in for some tough hiking.
It's not, by the way, but these last few days have been taking a toll on my knees. I just crawled my way through Mahoosuc Notch today--the supposed toughest mile on the whole trail. It was strenuous, but it wasn't as horrible as people made it out to be. It was actually quite fun...negotiating huge boulders that required climbing over or crawling under them...a good way to spend a morning.

I'm now sitting at the computer of the Pine Ellis Hostel in Andover, Maine. I met an elderly woman here who told me she fell in love for the first time in Winooski, Vermont. Only on the trail.

Well August is over, and I'm running out of trail. Bittersweet you say? I say, it hasn't hit me yet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photogallery Time

Just rolled into Gorham. I have completed the whites. They were amazing. I'm back at M&M's. I have uploaded photos. Here they are (click to enlarge, photos by Hot Tang):

Here we all are atop Mt. Cube... a rare group shot.

On top of Mt. Moosilauke. This is the only cloudy weather we had during the whites.

Coming down the steep descent of Moosilauke.

Franconia Ridge

More Franconia

A little siesta on the Webster Cliffs

Mt. Washington is in the Background

Work-for-stay at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Scrubbing walls. We weren't very effective.

The Summit of Mt. Washington.

The Cog Railroad which goes to the summit.

Oh, and after 3 months, I finally caught up to Freefall.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Whites

Here is a photo of me atop Mt. Killington in Vermont. But I won't bore you with stories of such petty mountains. I'm in the Whites!

And they have been absolutely...amazing. Nothing else in my thru-hike has compared to these mountains. I'm very glad they arrived at the end of my journey instead of, in the south-bounders' case, the beginning. The whites just dwarf everything else on the trail...literally. As soon as we hit the Franconia Ridge, I knew we were in for a treat. It consisted of three mountains in a row, all above tree-line, on an exposed ridge. Also, the weather was perfect: Sunny and warm, with a light breeze...something very rare in an area known for the worst weather in the world. I summitted Mt. Washington this morning around 8AM, before any of the tourists, with clear skies and a spectacular 360 degree view of New Hampshire and Maine. It was sublime.
I'm sure I'd be singing a much different tune if it we had rain and heavy winds. With all the rocks and exposed ridge-line we would either be slipping down the mountain or blown off it entirely. But I guess south-bounders did it in those conditions, and survived.

The Hut system here has been great as well. Normally, people pay $80-$90 for a night at one of these huts, but thru-hikers can stay for free in exchange for a night (or morning) of work. This has worked for us three times. We get the leftovers from dinner and breakfast, a warm place to stay, and all we have to do is organize a bookshelf or scrub a wall. A good deal.

We've been taking some amazing photos (and even better videos), but I can't post them yet, because we don't have the cable to do so. But hopefully I can get some up here when I get to Gorham, which is only 2 days away.

Right now, I'm sitting here in North Conway, drinking a microbrew, and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's. An '07 thru-hiker, M&M, has taken Rock, Roll, Hot Tang, and I into her condo for the night, and she is truly a trail angel. Thank you, if you are reading this!