Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I hate flying. It isn't a rational fear, but it certainly feels like one when there's turbulence or the weather's bad, or there's a lack of gin. My flight left at 6am, well before the airport bars unscrew their vodka bottles satiating the enormous demand for overpriced bloody maries. I arrived in Boston at 5pm feeling slightly peevish due to my overwhelming sobriety. After Squatch and I reunited, we set off toward the great state of Maine. Time flew on the car ride north as we caught up and rehashed our latest political musings. We decided to abandon our hiker trashiness and stop in Portland to feast on a classic Mainer dinner of lobster. After the initial excitement wore off I peered down at my plate and had an epiphany. This crustacean I was tearing apart was nothing more than the gnarliest looking bug I had ever paid twenty-two dollars for.
The next morning we found ourselves lost down Jo-Mary Road trying to find the trail crossing. I was relieved when we righted ourselves using a GPS app on Squatch's iphone. Then I was taking my first hesitant steps onto this infamous trail of which I have heard so much. Instantly I knew that I was somewhere new. Rocks and roots galore, at times boggy beyond belief, straight up and straight back down the mountain, the AT welcomes you. A few miles in we picked up Tangle, a solo section hiker who didn't seem to mind Squatch and my bantering. Together we drew in for the evening at the Potaywadjo Spring Lean-To. On the PCT people talk a lot about the AT. I'm telling you this shelter was straight out of my imagination, exactly how I had pictured these peculiar shelter places to be. We met Bone Lady there, a gal who thru-hiked the AT in '08. She was a character who shared many of our hiker friends. We were sad to learn that she would be continuing south the next day.
What with a total of seven whole miles under our belts we were in obvious need of a "nero." We had heard great things about the White House Landing three miles up the trail from the shelter. So the next morning we set out, eventually diverging from the trail and blue blazing to a lake where we blasted an air horn alerting those across of our arrival. Minutes later a man zipped across the lake, threw our bags in his tiny bass boat, and just like that he taxied us across. Tangle was already working on his 1 lb. burger when we rolled in. Following lunch, the three of us made our way over to the bunk house for a surprisingly intense game of Trivial Pursuit. It rained all day so it could be argued that there was some practicality in our staying the night, but we may have been swayed by the homemade whoopie pies alone. The rest of the evening involved napping, gluttonous eating, and hours of conversation.
|The White House Landing|
Another full day of hiking followed. I went ahead and gunned it for the next shelter, promising myself that there would be no more night hiking on this trip. I listened to my ipod enchanted by the Avett Brothers. The day was less eventful allowing for more introspection. I made it to the shelter by 4:30 and was surprised to find it empty. Tangle arrived not far behind and eventually Squatch sauntered in as well. Behind him was a speedy thru-hiker named Jedi with the sweetest Alabama accent I'd ever heard. Following dinner the four of us piled onto the baseball bat floor of the shelter and were soothed to sleep by the ferocious roar of Tangle's snoring.
|Super special times at the AT Cafe|
|Squatch, Kiana, John's severed head and myself.|
mountain chatting almost the entire way, and the men followed in the distance. The view from the top was incredible although contrary to Squatch I didn't find it was better than Mt. Whitney's. There were a few hikers completing their thru-hikes when we arrived and there were a decent number of people scattered about, one of whom somehow happened to be Bone Lady. She just seems to be all over this trail. We took the necessary photos with the signage, ate hummus and goat cheese supplied by our hosts and eventually scampered back down the mountainside. We stayed the night at the Katahdin Stream Campground in the Birches with a few thru-hikers that were planning on heading up the mountain the next day. The night was a joyous one, with many stories from the trail being passed around the raging fire.
|Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse|