Climb (almost) every mountain

The “holy” mountain, Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.

Three years ago this week, I made it to Mount Katahdin….sort of. I’d planned to walk all the way there from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Maine along the Appalachian Trail. I only made it 1,405 miles to a road crossing (and convenience store with decent pizza) in New York. My feet had been in pain for more than a month. Every step hurt. I couldn’t make my daily mileage and I certainly had stopped having any fun. Sitting there, eating my pizza, I knew I had to get off the trail. A friend who lived in the area took me to her house and got me to a doctor. Prognosis: The bones in my feet were breaking down. My hike was over, unless I wanted to suffer permanent damage.

I cried like a little girl for a whole day. Then I began making a new plan.
 
As part of that plan, for a month, I worked at a Maine hostel at the nearest city to the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. I did it mostly to stay near the trail for a little bit longer. While I didn’t hike Mount Katahdin, I did get to see it as I shuttled hikers to and from the trail.
I’m at peace with my hike and (surprisingly) have no desire to finish the last 800 miles. I may never climb this mountain and that’s OK. Plans have to change sometimes.
 
And now, it seems, my plans are changing again. I’d hoped to stay in Peru for 6 months. The vagaries of visas and less-than-professional English schools have helped me move along a bit faster. Don’t worry, I won’t leave Peru without seeing a bit more of it.
And I have an interesting hike that’s developing for the near future. Stay tuned!

Still looking for Moose

I’m still here in Millinocket, Maine…..

....considered the gateway to the Maine North Woods and located almost in the shadow of Mt Katahdin.
….considered the gateway to the Maine North Woods and located almost in the shadow of Mt Katahdin.
Yesterday I went in a moose watching tour through the North East Outdoor Center, located just outside Baxter State Park.
Yesterday I went in a moose watching tour through the North East Outdoor Center, located just outside Baxter State Park. We didn’t manage to find moose, but it was still a lovely day.
It started on Millinocket Lake, which also have a magnificent Viet of Mt Katahdin. For those who haven't figured it it, this is both the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and the "holy mountain" for northbound AT hikers.
It started on Millinocket Lake, which also have a magnificent Viet of Mt Katahdin. For those who haven’t figured it it, this is both the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and the “holy mountain” for northbound AT hikers.
Our boat captain and tour guide was a young local woman who has just graduated from college with a degree in outdoor recreation. She expect to guide ice fisherman and snowmobiles this winter. Danielle's family has been here for a few generations and she found this mostly sunny, 80f day a bit warm for her tastes.
Our boat captain and tour guide was a young local woman who has just graduated from college with a degree in outdoor recreation. She expect to guide ice fisherman and snowmobiles this winter. Danielle’s family has been here for a few generations and she found this mostly sunny, 80f day a bit warm for her taste.
The water was calm and we searched the shallows for moose.
The water was calm and we searched the shallows for moose.
We saw this Bald Eagle...
We saw this Bald Eagle…
...and several loons.
…and several loons.
Millinocket Lake is 8 miles by 6 miles and at its deepest spot is 100feet. The fishing is good particularly near these islands, some of which are large enough for cabins.
Millinocket Lake is 8 miles by 6 miles and at its deepest spot is 100feet. The fishing is good particularly near these islands, some of which are large enough for cabins.

 

 

Observations

It’s a busy place here at the Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket, Maine. I get one day off a week. If I’m lucky. There are a lot of 12+ hour days. I work in the gear shop, scrub toilets, drive shuttles, clean & sweep, answer the same 6 questions on the phone and do a pile of laundry each day the size of Mt Katahdin.

I do this much laundry every day!
I do this much laundry every day!

Here are a few fleeting observations:

Hikers have forgotten how to flush. Seriously. And I can’t decided if they need to eat more fiber or less, but the toilet need plunging once or twice a week.

Hikers have a very distinctive smell. It’s part body funk with ground in dirt, a heaping helping of sweaty socks, and a a hint of rotten egg. Delicious! We ask them to leave their backpacks on the porch and wash themselves and their clothes as soon as reasonable.

These are Penobscot Fries and they are VERY popular among the locals. It s French fries with gravy and cheese. Yum!
These are Penobscot Fries and they are VERY popular among the locals. It s French fries with gravy and cheese. Yum!
This is a lobster roll with fries. The roll is made much like tuna salad except you use lobster. Especially tasty with house made mayo!
This is a lobster roll with fries. The roll is made much like tuna salad except you use lobster. Especially tasty with house made mayo!

 

Maine, the way life should be

…..or at least that’s what they tell me! It’s the state slogan. I can say for sure the place is beautiful. Here are photos I’ve snapped the last few days.

This is just before you enter Baxter State Park
This is just before you enter Baxter State Park
My first view of Katahdin, driving down the Golden Road, a logging road.
My first view of Katahdin, driving down the Golden Road, a logging road.
Abol campground
Abol campground
For an Appalachian Trail hiker, this is the holy mountain, Mt Katahdin. From Abol Bridge.
For an Appalachian Trail hiker, this is the holy mountain, Mt Katahdin. From Abol Bridge.