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DragAss - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2011

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Benjamin
State: Maryland
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 4, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Wed, Oct 12th, 2011
Start: Wadleigh Stream Lean-to
End: Katahdin Stream Campground
Daily Distance: 33
Trip Distance: 1,574.6

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,053
Journal Visits: 42,522
Guestbook Views: 23,434
Guestbook Entrys: 278

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Appalachian Trail Map

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sunrise with Katahdin in background

Out of the Wilderness

I had good weather during my lonesome trek through the wilderness. I passed Cog halfway through the first of 5 days hiking the 100 mile wilderness and spent most of the time hiking alone. I needed to average 22 miles a day to cover the 110 miles in five days. I put in hikes of 16, 22, 20, 19, and capped off with a grueling 33 mile day.

At the end of the first night I arrived at the shelter well after dark and setup my tent. After cooking up a delicious chicken and dumpling meal I turned in for the night. It was particulary windy that night but I remember waking up around 2am to the sound of a tree falling down in my vicinity. It was so close I put my hands over my head preparing for the worst. The next morning I looked outside my tent and saw a medium size tree lying 10 feet away. It wasnt a huge tree but large enough to cut my hike/life short. I packed up and hit the trail for a tough hike. The 100 mile wilderness was not quite as flat as I expected.

The second days hike consisted of some long rocky climbs. It took quite a long time to cover the first 10 miles. I am writing this on October 20th so having a hard time remembering the detail but I do recall that I was drinking an insane amount of water during this time. I was constantly running out of water and having to hike a mile or two on empty before having a chance to refill. I recall being so thirsty at one point that I didnt bother waiting 20 minutes to treat the water at a somewhat suspect water source. It could of been the Indian summer or the Koolaide I was drinking, who knows, but I was drinking water like there was no tomorrow. The second night I managed to meet my target of 22 miles and slept in a shelter by myself.

The 3rd day started out with a looooong 4 peak climb. I passed a 80 year old man on the way down who was doing a day hike up these peaks for his birthday. He had tried to thru hike 10 years ago but gave up after Virginia due to gear problems. With the continueing development of lighter gear and the amount of succussfull older thru hikers I urged him to give it another try. He seemed genuinly interested to try again, despite his sons frowning dismay. After the climb I made good time but my feet really started to hurt towards the end of the hike. The foot pain got to the point where I had to cut the hike off short at the 20 mile mark only .5 miles from the next shelter. I set up my tent for the last time and bandaged my tender feet.

The next morning I tried putting on my boots but me feet were not having it. I had a nice long flat section of trail so I slipped on my crocs and hoped for the best. Luckily I did not run into to many bogs or rocky sections and the crocs worked out fine. My feet were loving the comfort of the crocs. I dont remember much about this days hike but I do recall seeing a mamma bear and her 3 cubs around dusk. I was still hoping to see a bull moose and heard a large animal just off the trail. When I looked over I heard a low growl as the 3 cubs scrambled up a tree. They were rather large cubs and I really wanted to get a picture. I was blocked by some pines so I moved in to get a better shot but mamma was not having it. She gave me 2 or 3 bluff charges and was starting to get a little to close so I moved on. I was trying to get 30 miles in that day but after stopping for dinner at the 19 mile mark my body cooled down and the thought of hiking any more that night was put to rest.

It was my last night in a shelter and I didnt sleep very well. I knew it was 23 miles to the end of the 100 mile wilderness and another 10 to Katahdin stream campground. I woke up at 3:45am and enjoyed my last morning of hot coffee and poptarts on the trail. By 4:45am I was hiking. My feet felt better after the day off with the crocs so I had my boots on. I had a small 1000ft climb to start the day and had timed it perfectly to get to the top and enjoy the view of the sunrise over Mt. Katahdin. I stayed for 30 minutes taking a 1000 pics trying to get the perfect shot. This is where a hiking partner comes in handy, finally got something resembling a nice picture and continued on my way. I spent the day trying to keep up a good pace and listening to Uncle Toms Cabin, not the best choice for my last full day of hiking. I broke for lunch at the 20 mile mark somewhat depressed over slavery and was able to get a text through to Brian telling him to meet me at the campground around 9pm. After lunch I felt really good and kicked butt for the last 13 miles. After existing the 100 mile wilderness I stopped at a general store for a quick snack and watched some hunters weigh a dead cow moose. The last 10 miles involved a few river fordings and some annoyingly rocky terrain (I had put the crocs back on for the last 13 miles) but I managed to make it to the campground by 9:15pm for a record shattering 33 mile day. I found Brian easily enough in the parking lot looking for me with a flash light. He took a few pics before we hopped in the car and drove 9 miles away to a nice cabin where we would spend the next two days. If the weather cooperates we plan to summit Katahdin the following morning.

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Ben's 2011 AT Thru Hike

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more: www.appalachiantrail.org

 

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