Friday, 9/25

AT Miles = 13.4 / 2173.1
Other Miles = 0 / 63.1
Total Miles = 13.4 / 2236.2

Miles to Katahdin = 5.2

See that? Only 5.2 miles left. Who would have thought I would ever be
this close?!

From the moment I woke up this morning, I was in a giddy mood. It
rained overnight and was still raining a bit when I got up, but that
didn’t dampen my spirits a bit. It usually takes a bit longer to break
camp in the rain as I have to do everything underneath my little tarp,
but somehow this morning it didn’t, and I was on the trail a few
minutes after 7:00. From the shelter the trail climbs a bit on the way
to meeting the Golden Road at Abol Bridge. After cresting the first
little rise I saw a bull moose in the trail ahead of me. He sauntered
off into the woods 30 or 40 feet, then stood and watched me for a bit
to make sure I wasn’t any kind of threat. I pulled my camera out to
take a photo or two of him, and when I turned it on I was met with a
“Lens error!” message, and the lens refused to open. Damn! Well, I
figured that was just due to the battery getting low, and figured once
I charged up the battery when in town, everything would be fine.

I continued on, whistling and sauntering through the woods, until I
came out on the Golden Road about 8:30. A few minutes walking brought
me across the bridge over the Penobscot River and to the small camp
store there. I was still craving orange juice, and was disappointed to
find they did not have any. The best I could do was a bottle of orange
flavored Gatorade, which I accompanied with a packaged danish. I
watched a few logging trucks go barreling down the road while I stood
outside the store eating my snack. Boy, they stack ’em high!

By 9:00 I had crossed the boundary into Baxter State Park and had
reached the kiosk where the daily weather reports are posted, and
where thru-hikers can sign in for a spot at The Birches, which is a
small camping area set aside for hikers only. When I got there a
ranger was just finishing writing up today’s weather report, and I
spent a half hour standing there chatting with him. I also enjoyed a
few minutes of minor celebrity when a group from a local school hiked
past and the ranger told them that I had hiked all the way from
Georgia. That was kind of fun.

I was getting chilled standing still, so I soon left and continued on.
The trail follows the left bank of the Penobscot River upstream for a
number of miles before finally turning northeast to make its way to
Daicey Pond. On the way it crosses a couple of tributary streams, and
while crossing one of these my foot slipped off a wet rock and I got a
bootful of water. I hiked the last 4 or 5 miles with one wet, cold
foot and one dry, warm foot.

I reached the parking area at Katahdin Stream Campground a few minutes
before 1:00. I knew Jodi wouldn’t be getting there until about 2:00,
so I put on some warm clothes, changed my boots for my sandals, and
settled down on a picnic table to wait. A couple of minutes later I
saw Gator and Tiger walking towards me. What a great surprise! I had
been expecting to catch up with them ever since I saw them back in
Andover, but had finally figured it was not to be. It turns out they
were only about 3 1/2 miles ahead of me when I camped last night, as
they stayed at the commercial campground at Abol Bridge. We had a
great visit while I was waiting for Jodi, and I told them we would
bring them some hot breakfast sandwiches from town tomorrow morning,
since they will be camping in the Park tonight.

Once Jodi showed up we were off to town for a hot lunch, a shower, and
a nice meal out. It will be early to bed tonight so we can be up and in
town at the diner when it opens at 5:00, then off to Baxter to climb

Allen F. Freeman