"To those who would see the Maine wilderness, tramp day by day through a succession of ever delightful forest, past lake and stream, and over mountains, we would say: Follow the Appalachian Trail across Maine. It cannot be followed on horse or awheel. Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it beckons not merely north and south but upward to the body, mind and soul of man."
-Myron H. Avery, 1934
So here we are in Monson, Maine, the last town on the trail! This is totally surreal. From here we have about 10 days left, including the 100-mile wilderness and the big climb up Katahdin (big as in 4,500 foot gain in elevation in like 4-5 miles). All in all it's 114 miles left.
We are extremely tired. Mentally, physically, totally - drained. But for all we lack in energy we match in motivation because the end is near, and all we have been walking toward for so many miles in so many months is about to become a reality.
Surprisingly our bodies are holding up really well for having hiked 2,061.7 miles. No serious foot or knee pain, and I thought at this stage in the game we would be hobbling! Aside from some toe numbness and chronic hangnails, we are feeling good and strong. What a blessing! There so many hikers that have battled Lyme's, the flu, mono, you name it.
Speaking of blessings, here are some other amazing things that have been happening:
Number one: The sun came out and decided to stay! This is my hallelujah.
Another great thing. The 2,000 mile marker. Best one yet!
Here's a third. Our most amazing campsite of the whole trail came at East Carry Pond here in Maine on a sandy beach. Dusty built a roaring fire right on the shore that we bathed by. Then we watched the moonrise.
In the morning a layer of ice had formed on our tent (it was down to 28 degrees that night) but our good friend the sun melted it off by 7am and warmed us up before we even started hiking.
Oh, but there were leeches there, and they were huge.
More gorgeousness from Maine. As you can see, we've found the mystical and the magical.
Here was another something I've been reading about and waiting for since, oh...March. Crossing the Kennebec River via ferry (canoe) because it's too dangerous to ford on foot. Here you can see our guide who manages all thru-hiker ferries coming over for us.
And here we are in life jackets getting ready to hop in a canoe. What a nice change of pace for about 3 minutes!
Love is on the trail, and I'm glad I spotted it.
Oh boy oh boy I love my junk food.
But not as much as Brahma. He loves his even more. This was the cutest. I said "Pull out your junk and show me whatcha got in your food bag." Without hesitating he proudly displayed his goods - Fritos, double time, Nutella, Poptarts, you name it. And this isn't even the half of it!
Dustan on top of Avery peak, named for Myron Avery who plowed through bureaucracy and helped make the AT a reality back in the day.
Parting shot: Nature's symmetry. An upturned shroom.
So on this Sunday night we have been watching movies and eating ice cream and Swiss cake rolls. We're saving all our chores for tomorrow - post office, grocery store, packing up and heading out. The next time I update - well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. All I know is that the end is very, very near and we couldn't be more happy, more ready, more amped! I miss my mom, my cat, Dwight Schrute - just to name a few. Thank you for all your comments and phone calls!
Much love from the Bulls.