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Maine Reflection

Favorite part
Joe and Kathleen- KATAHDIN!
 Least favorite part
Kathleen and Joe- exhaustion from the Whites and southern Maine
Overall reflection
Southern Maine was just as difficult, if not more than The White Mountains of New Hampshire. The climbs were just as difficult but without the views. The end of our trip was in sight and gave us mixed emotions in conjunction with our exhaustion. The 100 mile wilderness and many of the miles prior were filled with lakes, bogs, streams and ponds. We had our first river fordings and saw new wildlife like moose and loons. Baxter State Park and Katahdin gave us goosebumps and much excitement. Our final climb was the single largest climb of our trip and was difficult but our anticipation and excitement pushed us to the summit. Maine was a beautiful state, home to the most epic end to an incredible journey.
 Miles hiked in state: 281.8 miles
Days spent in state: 17 days
Money found on trail: $.16

7/25 Day 130

With all the excitement, we had a hard time sleeping and decided to get up at 4 am in order to be on the trail as the sun was rising. We made a stop at the ranger station where we emptied our packs aside from snacks, cameras and jackets. We passed through Katahdin Stream Campground and over Katahdin Stream Falls. Right as we climbed above tree line and we began our technical climbing, the wind picked up and started to pull us around. We found Hot Sauce, who had started his summit hike at 2 am in an attempt to catch sunrise, and hid in a protected area to wait for the wind to settle. When Snarf hiked by we all decided to begin climbing again. We had a section of technical climbing with rebars and rock climbing then a large flat section called The Tableland before beginning our final ascent to the summit. We were in the clouds with no view when we entered The Tablelands but the skies opened up when we approached our final climb and we had beautiful views of the summit! We reached the summit with Hot Sauce and Snarf and celebrated with cheers, photos and champagne. We sat on the summit for hours while we waited for the rest of our group to summit. There were 11 of us that summited together. We experienced so many emotions, many of which we can’t put into words properly. Elated, proud, sad, thankful, excited. Utterly bittersweet.

7/24 Day 129

We woke up early and headed to Abol Bridge Campstore to buy treats for our last night and summit day. Nearly everyone in the group of hikers headed to our shelter bought hot dogs or bratwurst and Hot Sauce bought bacon to wrap his bratwurst in. After the store we crossed into Baxter State Park and signed in for a spot at The Birches, a shelter and tenting area reserved for long distance hikers (those who have hiked at least through the 100 mile wilderness). We forded the Nesowadnehunk Stream, passed Big Niagara Falls and signed in at the ranger station in Katahdin Stream Campground at the base of Katahdin and home to The Birches. Kathleen signed in as #84 thru hiker for 2012 and Joe signed in as #85. A huge group of thru hikers showed up by the end of the night, nearly everyone we’d hiked with for an extended amount of time. We spent the night around a fire, eating and sharing stories. We hiked 13.4 miles today.

7/23 Day 128

We had our last big climb of our thru hike today up Nesuntabunt Mountain. From the summit we had a 16 mile line-of-sight view of Katahdin (36 hiking miles away). We hiked past Cresent Pond, Pollywog Gorge, Rainbow Stream, Rainbow Lake and hiked up to Rainbow Ledges for a great view of Katahdin. We hiked 20 miles today and stayed the night at Hurd Brook shelter. We all got to the shelter early and got into our tents early because of the swarms of mosquitoes.

7/22 Day 127

Today was filled with flat, fast hiking. We stopped at Potaywadjo Spring Shelter for lunch and a break. We hiked along a river for miles in the afternoon and saw two moose! They were eating and swimming in the middle of a wide, quiet section of the river and swam off after they heard us on the other side of the bank. We hiked 21.4 miles today and found a primitive camping site on a hidden beach on the Nahmakanta Lake. We stayed with three other hikers and spent the night making a bonfire on the  beach.

New Hampshire Reflection

Favorite part
Joe and Kathleen- White Mountains!
Least favorite part
Joe- breaking my trekking poles
Kathleen- extremely steep downhills in Whites
Overall reflection

The trail in New Hampshire was more than just the trail in The White Mountains even though this section was one of our most highly anticipated. The Whites offered some of the most dramatic and breathtaking views on the trail with some of the steepest inclines and declines hiked on the entire trail. New

Hampshire was also home to one of our favorite trail towns, Hanover.
 Miles hiked in state: 160.9 miles
Days spent in state: 13 miles
Money found on trail: $.26

7/21 Day 126

We started our morning with a climb up Gulf Hagas Mountain. We then hiked up West Peak, Hay Mountain and Whitecap Mountain. On the northern side of Whitecap Mountain we got our first view of Katahdin! Our final peak was still 70+ miles away but just seeing it was exhilarating. We arrived at the Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to early and took a swim at the falls before dinner. We hiked 18.9 miles total for the day.

Vermont Reflection

Favorite part
Joe- Killington and trip to Long Trail Brewing and Inn at Long Trail
Kathleen- Mt. Killington climb and summit
Least favorite part
Joe- Mosquitos
Kathleen- rainy day outside of Hanover with flooded river crossings and calf deep mud
Overall reflection
Vermont returned us higher into the mountains and took us up and over many peaks. The trail turned to dense pine and we saw many sweeping views with the steep incline and declines. The mosquitos and flies hit an all time high both in camp and while we hiked.

Miles hiked in state: 149.8 miles

Days spent in state: 9 days
Money found on trail: $.01

7/20 Day 125

Our first hike of the day was up to Barren Ledges and Barren Mountain. The summit of Barren Mountain had an old lookout tower that we climbed in hopes of seeing Katahdin but Whitecap Mountain blocked our view. We walked on planks across Fourth Mountain Bog, climbed Fourth Mountain, Third Mountain, Columbus Mountain and Chairback Mountain. We stayed at Carl A. Newhal Lean-to for the night and hiked 20.8 miles for the day. Our day took longer than we expected but we could see the end in sight with only a few days left of hiking.

Massachusetts Reflection

Favorite part
Joe- Mt. Greylock
Kathleen- Upper Goose Pond
Least favorite part
Joe- giant fall on Mt. Greylock, tripped and hit neck on a stump
Kathleen- Mosquitos, gnats and black flies started to become a bigger problem
Overall reflection
Massachusetts was beautiful and was an exciting state because we felt we had returned to the mountains. The state was filled with lakes, mountains, ridge walking and deep green forests. We met back up with a fun group of hikers we had hiked with previously and we met some of the most generous trail angels of our trip here. We loved our time in MA and had a hard time finding anything we disliked about our time in the state.
Miles hiked in state- 90 miles
Days spent in state- 6 days
Money found on trail- $.01