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Scott "Voyageur" Piddington
State: New Hampshire
Country: United States
Begins: Aug 22, 2018
Date: Mon, Sep 17th, 2018
Start: Katahdin Stream Campground
End: Millinocket, ME
Daily Distance: 10.4
Trip Distance: 433.4
Entry Visits: 52
Journal Visits: 2,584
Guestbook Views: 30
Guestbook Entrys: 3
Well this is it, the last day. It's always a mix of emotions. I got up at 5am, packet up but differently this time. Baxter State Park doesn't want up taking camping gear up the mountain because camping on the mountain is illegal to protect the ecology. So I leave my tent, sleeping bag, & stove in my food bag liner trashbag on the enclosed porch at the ranger station. Then I head to the trail and sign the trail register at 6am. I bumped into thru-hiker friends all along the way. It's a serious climb of about 4,200 feet in 5 miles. Neartree line we climb into the clouds just in time for the really sketchy boulder problem climbing. There are a few places where steel rebar hand and food holds have been driven into the rock but these are not just ladder rungs. No, you have to grab on an swing around ofr over a boulder thing. It's a blast. With the wind and dampnes from the clouds there were some real chalenges. Once the table lands are reached the walking gets easy but there is still quite a ways to go.
At 9:30am there were already plenty of folks on the summit. I knew lots of the thru-hikers. 3 of the guys helped me with a little double crowning in the high wind with the cloud soggy crowns. Still it was fun, silly, and kind of moving. I hung out for almost 2 hours while trying to escape the wind, eating, and hoping the clouds would lift. Little holes would open from time to time and blue clouds might appear. Eventually I headed down but not the way I came up. That would be wet and slippery by now. At 11:15 I started down the Abol Trail as did some others. There ws a lot of loose rock on the way down. The scree would slide at times but it was better than the risck the other way.
By 1:30pm I arrive at a drive in campgroud. I quickly hitched a ride for the guy who maintains all the propane lines and appliances in the park. We ahd a good chat and he dropped me at a road that would shortly lead me to the ranger station where my day had begun. In the parking lot I ran into Slippy. I'd seen him yesterday at Abol Bridge. He reminded mye of our first encounter. It was on my first day back on the trail back on August 23rd. Me, Alex, Slippy and a couple of older women had all met up on a steep section of trail and they were soliciting us for advice on hiking. Now here we are together at the end. Crazy.
Crawdady & I got a ride from Ducky's dad and aunt into Millinacket to the hostel run by Ole Man & Navigator. I met them in 2004 at Partnership shelter on my fist AT hike. Since then they bought the Hostel in Millinocket. They probably didn't recognise me but I did them. It was good to see them again after 14 years.
Sparky, Chen, and Pippin were in town planning to summit Wednesday. They are hoping for better weather.
I took a shower and did my laundry. The shuttle arrived that I had planned to take till I got the earlier ride. It was packed with thru-hikers. I had dinner of pizza and salad at the place down the street. There was a rainbow across the street. I guess that was my celebration. I got some snacks and icecrean at the little store around the corner.
The end of a hike is an emotional conundrum. You're excited and happy, relieved and sad. It's like mourning the loss of a friend but you are satisfied with a goal attained. Then there is the adjusment back in to regular society. No longer is the world you bath room. You need to plan for these events. Cars move too fast. It is hard for me to keep driving at speed. I just keep slowing down. Everybody is in a hurry. Beds are supposed to be great but I don't sleep well in a bed for a while. I get home and just want to sit for a few days. It's a while before I get the gumption to even go for a day hike. I've lost a lot of weight I didn't have to loose. When do I pull back on the hiker hunger?
It's all very strange but I love a thru-hike. I thought this would be my last. After all isn't 17,000 miles enough. Probably not. I still long for the trail!
AT 2018 Thru-Hike (part 2)
"The road ahead leads ever on,
down from my door where it began
to where many paths and errand meet."
Bilbo & Frodo - J.R.R. Tolkien
Photos link https://goo.gl/photos/huo8S7z8TC9LnKLV7
Photos after 6/5/2017:https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNtguhKas4oHgDuU9CynnLeDiIgTSFIC522-6vuM-0ftFyN5L-x-llE9qeeWfgzBA?key=dlJKZnJyVFBxUUdMdEVYai1HRXBndmFJRTE1UDFB
All Voice Journals: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7dpHA5Y88cEbkd4d1liQ2E2TEk
See my other journals at www.spiddington.com"
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