We made it to Monoson, ME! Tomorrow we enter the 100-mile wilderness for six days and come through it at the base of Mt. Katahdin to summit on August 10 (assuming good weather, good health, and all that stuff). This last stretch from Stratton, ME to Monson, ME has been our favorite. We climbed the Bigelow mountain range to enjoy spectacular views of Maine’s lakes, ponds, bogs, and ski areas. Then we descended the range to scurry around some of those lakes and bogs. I jumped in the water several times for a refreshing swim, and one evening we tented on the shore of Pearce Pond and watched the sunset on the opposite side. Awesome! Sadly, this is the same pond where just one month earlier a northbound through-hiker drowned when he jumped in the cold water for a late night swim and experienced debilitating cramps. Apparently, he hollered to his buddies but by the time they rushed to the shore line, he had gone under, and the dark night shrouded any chance of recovery. He was only 20 years old. A picture of him hangs in the lean-to, and we heard that his parents had spread his ashes on Mt. Katahdin.
As for us, we’re feeling strong but taking today to rest and pound some calories to prepare for the wilderness. Do you know how joyful it is to eat whatever we want, as often as we want, and NOT gain weight? But, alas, those days are coming to an end. We enjoy being thin, and we’re fearful that our appetites will not abate when we return, and we’ll end with waistlines the length of the AT.
Oh, we also saw our first moose as it splashed out of a stream across to the opposite bank. And, the most restful part of our hike has been taking the ferry across the Kennebec river in Caratunk. The ferry was actually a canoe paddled by an official ATC worker who ferrys hikers back and forth across the river. It was fun. Three days earlier, he had to rescue a hiker who attempted to ford the stream but succumbed to cramps from the cold water. We took no chances and enjoyed our little ride.
The next blog you receive from us will be after we summit Katahdin. We enter the 100-mile wilderness with seven days of food, and then we climb Katahdin which is a 4,000-foot elevation gain with some scrambling. Thank you for your prayers. We feel God’s presence with us. He has guided us and given us wisdom when we needed it. And don’t forget, August 16, 7 p.m. at Allegheny Center Alliance Church for the post-hike celebration where we’ll share our experience with you, receive your pledge commitments and enjoy some refreshments. We can’t wait to see all of you. The end is in sight.
Note: While Paula and I are out on the trail, several volunteers are helping me post content here. We thank you for the support you're expressing in the comments, although our sporadic Internet access doesn't allow us to reply immediately to everyone.