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Nancy "Why Not?!" Huber
City: Gold River
Begins: Mar 27, 2013
Date: Thu, Sep 26th, 2013
Trip Distance: 2,169.9
Entry Visits: 5,453
Journal Visits: 94,350
Guestbook Views: 3,439
Guestbook Entrys: 91
Appalachian Trail Map
The last day......
My sister, Jeanne, and I got up early and drove out to Baxter State Park. We were the 2nd car in line waiting for the gates to open. Jeanne walked with me to the sign-in area. The Warrior Hikers were out of their tents getting ready to go up. I last saw them so many states ago I can’t even remember where it was. Lots of hugs. Excitement was definitely in the air. The weather report was posted…. 90% chance of significant rain starting early in the day. But it wasn’t raining now. B-Line, Clever Girl, Dumptruck, Whistle and Grim had already signed in. I hugged my sister goodbye and I was off with my own thoughts. Was I really going to be able to get the AT done today and finish the Triple Crown? To be able to finish any thru hike is such a combination of determination, planning, and luck. To have my stars align for the third time and have nothing go wrong was a lot to hope for. It was looking more and more likely that it would happen!
The first part of the trail was flat and easy. The next was more up and down, and more rocky and was a total river thanks to the heavy rain last night. Then I got to the huge boulder field above the tree line. White blazes continued to mark the way but were all painted on rock. This was 4 legged climbing. I used my arms as much as my legs. There was rebar to help get up and over some of the rocks. Luckily it was still dry and I tried not to think of what it would be like to climb down this. Everyone I had talked to in town that had been up here in the last few days said the descent wasn’t as bad as it seemed like it would be. I hoped they were right.
Near the top of the boulder field Srocket, Beetlejuice, Apollo and Still Here caught up to me. It was wonderful to see them again. Especially Srocket because I had hiked so much with her. We walked together the rest of the way to the top. It still wasn't raining. The whole way up the clouds would lift and part and I could see some of the surrounding mountains. It wasn't clear by any means but it was beautiful.
When we saw the sign on top we all let out woops of delight and quickly walked the last little bit.
Being on top was just very, very special. We all took turns having our individual pictures taken, then smaller group combos and finally one big group photo. We sat around in relative warmth and basked in the wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
After over an hour on top we started back down. On the way I met the Warriors on their way up. Next was Dip'nSip, Newton and their families. Other hikers had been correct..... hiking down wasn't that hard.
I met back up with my sister at the bottom. We fit B-line, Srocket and Beetlejuice in the car and drove back to Millinocket. Somewhere along the way it started raining. Perfect timing.
I wouldn't change a thing about the perfect ending to my AT hike.
For my hiking partners' journals and photos go to:
Dip 'n Sip: http://trailjournals.com/chrislaganos