Monday, October 13, 2008


Katahdin means "greatest mountain" in its original translation, and I have to say it was also our best climb. I thought for sure that when the day came for us to climb our last mountain we would be running on adrenaline and not really feel the pain. Yeahhhh...not so much. It was still a hard climb, but nothing like the 4,000-ft. torture I expected. Here are the views we had on the way up, feeling more like we were in a plane above the clouds than hikers on the ground.

Party time at the top.

That's Brahma, Hoot, Worm, Borders, Sundance, Just Mike and Gonzo.

Blaze. Broken finger guy. Lyme Menengitis man. Dude with the PIC line, whatever you want to call him. He wept when he reached the sign because of all the trials he faced on the trail, inside and out. We were so happy for him! I think we were more excited to see Blaze summit than to summit ourselves!

Brahma getting blown away by the wind. Hee hee.

A huge gang of thru-hikers went up the mountain on the same day. It was so cool to be surrounded by friends on the last and best day of the trail.

Just Mike, backdropped by the autumn foliage, ponds and fog.

Now everyone wants to know how was the trail? Was it the best thing ever? Was it fun? Are you dreading getting a boring job? Would we do it again? Are we having a hard time adjusting to real life? I would say, in response, the trail was hard. There were fun patches but it was not the best time of my life (at least it better not be). The idea of getting up, putting on a different set of clean, warm, dry clothes each day, drinking coffee with cream and sugar, listening to music on my way to work, and having a real toilet to visit all day long as much as I want does not seem boring. It sounds wonderful. I'm glad it's over, I'm glad we did it, and I would never do it again.

And no, no not really having any serious integration problems. Of course there are things I could do without - like all-the-time-everywhere politics, the sound of a phone ringing ringing ringing, and getting gas. But I have no problem enjoying my bed and cold orange juice and tumble dryers. Dustan still adores his motorcycle and crunchy salads and likes to use a chainsaw as much as he can. We are pursuing the job search, and we're not bummed out about it. I think it's time we get back into the groove of making money, paying bills, painting bedrooms, having people over for dinner. In the meantime we are enjoying being home with mom, drinking coffee on the front porch every morning. Here's what we wake up to back at Hidden Valley:

This place is rapturous as Katahdin.


Scottie and Carl said...

Dustan and Betsy,

Wow!!! This last addition to your blog was unbelievable! Thanks for these pictures. I can't begin to imagine some of these sights and you have experienced them first hand. I'm glad you shared your adventures in pictures right to the finish. Shaved the beard, huh, Dustan. You'll need to send a picture......can't remember what you looked like without one since we've been looking at it for six months. Both of you looked great all of the time and you are in such good shape. Guess I'll have to remind myself that I can't check the blog everyday.....and I will surely miss it. Thanks again for allowing us to have this adventure with you. It is a pleasure and an honor to know two special people who did the AT from start to finish. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Dustin and Betsy!

So awesome to get to see your summit pictures! Its weird but you will miss day you will. When you hear that people are starting their thru hike and your not. Hope your doing good!

Anonymous said...

wow i love the pics guys!!!! I cannot believe you all are done, but it is awesome. i have been praying for you all. call me sometime ok, i dont have your number anymore so please call me 276-608-0490

love you guys


Toni Jill said...

Hi Guys! I have both chills and some tears when looking at your last blog post. You all have done an awesome feat and we are so proud of you! I am so thrilled that you are back home on the gorgeous porch with your momma and the dogs! The pictures of Hidden Valley are especially beautiful! Remember how proud I am and I love you very much! I promise that I will be home soon to see your smiling faces in person! Love, Toni Jill

Kevin Doll aka StinkyKD said...

Hidden Valley - is that where they make the ranch dressing? I'm going to come see you guys when I get some money saved up. thanks for being a part of my journey - and I really appreciate the shout out in the blog. miss you guys and the trail. Blaze

Anonymous said...

Congratulations guys!

EZ Does It w/ Slow Train:)

(also:, but I only put up some pics in the beginning)

Hannah said...

Wow, congradulations to you both! What great adventures and grand memories. I think anyone that has read your blog over the previous months couldn't help but be provoked to have a pilgrimidge of the soul. The lense in which you look out and your written words capture the world in a unique way. Its beautiful. Best wishes as you transition to a new season. Thanks for sharing with us.

Miss you

~Hannah Benfield

Hunna said...


Hunna said...

sorry! i entered that stupid password thing into the wrong box...

ANYWAY, congrats!! and i guess you two have safely arrived back in VA....give me your email addresses!

take care and i hope we'll cross paths again...


Anonymous said...


Congrats to you both, I knew you would make it in stride. Sorry I couldn't be there to watch you guys win the AT, and it looks like I owe you a medal now. Hiking with you two was always something to smile about and I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me! It was great to meet you both and I hope it won't be the last time our paths cross...

Most Assuredly,
( if you ever want to drop me a line)

King of New York Hacks said...

Congrats, always wanted to walk the trail, still might one day although I'd rather drive my taxi through it !! Sending you loud congratulation HONKS from the Big Apple here in New York City , great pics and a job well done. Brilliant stuff.

kate said...

Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi over at my blog (sweet potato pie). Perhaps we are kindred spirits as I have always wanted to hike the App. trail. Now I can't wait to pour over your blog and drool over your photos!

G-Metal, Coco, Angel Face and Bunny said...

Hello! You recently posted a comment on my blog. No connection to Teen Mania, but I've just been long-time friends with Russ and now Jackie! You are on such an interesting journey!! I'm so impressed when people just uproot and do something cool like what ya'll are doing! My husband would LOVE the beard too! Thanks for stoppign by and I enjoyed looking at all your fabulous pics too!

Kate said...

Oh my goodness...that looks like a lot of fun but A LOT of hard work to get there. You have amazing photos, thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Hi Betsy! Yes I remember you. Sorry I am just now getting back to your comment!! This adventure looks amazing. Did you see the movie "Up". Well you will have no such regrets. :)

Great to hear from you!

Maggie May said...

These pictures have a truly magical quality to them. Amazing adventures!

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