Wednesday, 9/16

AT Miles = 18.7 / 2041.8
Other Miles = 0 / 63.0
Total Miles = 18.7 / 2104.8

Miles to Katahdin = 136.5

A full day today. It got pretty cold last night, and I was warm and snug in my bag, making it a bit hard to get out and get going this morning. But I was anxious to reach the Kennebec River. For some reason that felt like a big milestone to me. I was hiking a few minutes after 7:00, and I reached the river around 8:30. Dragon Breath was already there, having camped near the river last night. We waited until 9:00 when Dave, the guy that ferries hikers across in a canoe, showed up on the opposite bank. He soon paddled across, and after signing liabilty waivers and donning life jackets, we were off across the river. By 9:20 I was back in harness and heading up the trail away from the river.

After lunch I climbed Pleasant Pond Mountain, and for the first time since Monday got cell phone reception. I sent yesterday’s blog entry and checked email and voice mail messages. I had two messages from my daughter Anju informing me that the event I was going to attend with her next Monday has been postponed indefinitely.

So, big change of plans! Instead of going home for a week or so from Monson, I will be continuing on into the Hundred Mile Wilderness and towards Katahdin. Only problem is, I had sent my bounce box home from Stratton, and had told Jodi not to assemble and mail a food drop to Monson for me. As soon as I heard Anju’s message I called Jodi and luckily caught her at home. I asked her to put together a food drop for me and get it in the mail today if possible. A bit later I remembered that the last three maps are in the bounce box I sent home, so I called again and asked her to include those with the food drop.

If anybody thinks hiking the trail is hard, think about how hard it is being the at-home support person. Jodi had just gotten home from work today when I called and started issuing frantic requests: send me 6 dinners, 10 packages of oatmeal, a package of English Muffins, a jar of peanut butter, etc. etc. And I will be in Monson by noon on Friday so you have to mail it today.

Jodi actually asked me if it was alright if she had lunch first. Not sarcastically, either. She was actually going to skip eating lunch to go run around getting everything I wanted.

It would be far more difficult foro me hiking the trail if I didn’t have Jodi at home responding to my every whim.

When I was down almost to the bottom of Pleasant Pond Mountain I ran into Bookworm hiking southbound. I had last seen Bookworm in Shenandoah National Park, at Lewis Mountain Campstore where I had stopped to take a shower, eat some junk food, and drink a beer. Bookworm is doing some kind of art project about the AT and is interviewing hikers, so we sat down next to the trail and did a little interview for 15 minutes or so, then I said good-bye and pushed on the last 4 miles or so to this campsite. I had run out of water about three miles before reaching here, so I was really happy to arrive and get water from the brook.

It is about 50 degrees right now, with predictions of a hard frost for tonight. I am only planning to hike about 13 miles tomorrow, so I can take my time getting up in the morning. Usually that means sleeping until 6:15 instead of 6:05. 🙂

I expect to be in Monson by noon on Friday. My next task is to figure out Jodi’s schedule and when she can meet me in Baxter, figure out how long it will take me to get there from Monson (right now I am thinking 7 days) then figure out if I have enough time to take a zero day in Monson. It will be 15 days without a day off when I get to Monson on Friday, so a zero day would be very welcome.

“Home is where I hang my food bag”

Allen Freeman