Katahdin…. it needed a whole day for itself

Day 118- 7/7/17 Up Katahdin to the Finish! Total miles 2189.8! I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write this final post. Maybe the excitement, or the chaos, or maybe I’m just so happy to be it’s my family and I’m soaking it all in, maybe I’m not ready to close the book on this journey like I thought I was. 

Friday morning I couldn’t sleep I was wide awake at 4am and beyond excited to climb mount Katahdin. I had literally walked 2,184 miles to get to this point. This journey had many ups and many downs and I was literally about to tackle my last up. Everyone got up around 4:45 and began to pack our camp for the last time. 
Around 5:15 freight train and I had dropped out packs off at he ranger station and hit the trail at a blazing pace. The first mile flew by and the 2nd wasn’t slow either. The other miles were more technical miles through boulder fields with lots of rock climbing. It was awesome! I love this sort of hiking. The slow, tedious, very precise type of hiking combined with climbing. 
I was having a blast climbing up this mountain. Around 7:30 or so out of the clouds and fog I saw it. I saw the iconic finish sign on top of mount Katahdin. It was a very surreal feeling, 2,189 miles and I was just steps away from the end of this journey. Most people run across the rocks in pure excitement and adrenaline. I calmly walked to the sign knowing that one of the greatest adventures of my life was coming to an end….. 
I’m thankful. I’m thankful for this journey, this trail, this adventure, I’m thankful for where it led me, not the beautiful state of Maine or the incredible mount Katahdin, but it led me closer to God. I had days where I struggled and days where I thrived. I wasn’t not perfect I lived the best I could on the trail but I stumbled often spiritually and physically. Even when I stumbled God was there. I couldn’t count the times God provided for me on this trail. Weather it be needing something and literally within minutes a hiker would be like hey want this and it be exactly what I need, or when finances felt tight God always solved the problem. Or when I felt out numbered and alone on the trail God sent me someone to hike with and to talk to. 
 I’m thankful that a scary, crazy journey like this one isn’t so scary and crazy when I rely on God. I’m thankful for those who supported me, prayed for me, encouraged me, kept track of me, and those who just love on me from afar. I’m not listing everyone because I don’t think I could actually make the proper list but you all know who you are and I am thankful for y’all! This trip would not have been possible without you. I’m thankful for a church that supported my mission, it sounded crazy and insane and very non traditional for missions and Hull Baptist didn’t hesitate to get involved! I’m very blessed to have grown up in the church I did! 
I’m thankful for those I hiked with a long the way. Some I hiked with for minutes, others days, and few for weeks. For a while I hiked solo not really knowing how to make new hiking partners on the trail, kind of late in the trail. This was by far the hardest time I had on the trail. Being lonely in the woods for days on end broke me down and crushed me. I had to really dig deep to continue on solo. Luckily this time didn’t last long. I’m thankful for the many different, unique, crazy, and incredible people that I met. Many of you touched my life in a way you’ll never know. Thank you! 
So anyway I walked up to the sign touched it and I became a through hiker. Bright and early I touched that iconic sign first for the day and the journey was over, but it’s not. I’m still connected with so many and following the journey of other hikers I met. They say the AT becomes part of you and as I continue to wake up by 4:30 every morning I say that they are right. I might have finished but the Appalachian trail, it’s people, and culture will always be part of me. 
My last days on the trail were challenging, rewarding, and some of the best days I could have asked for. I’m gonna miss the trail life but the memories I’m taking away will last forever and I’m very happy to be back with those I love. Thank you for following my blog and keeping up with me. You’ll never know how encouraging it is to see that people care. 
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. – Psalm 34:4-5

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We’re finally here! 

Day 117- 7/6/17 Rainbow stream shelter to Katahdin Stream Campground 24.9 miles. 2184.6 Total miles Today was another productive push of a day. It was the final day of really hiking big miles. Freight train and I headed out nice and early and crushed some miles early. We made it to our goal of lunch and then had to wait around for the place to open. We had an awesome lunch as one big family! Freight train, bear, Magellan, tumbleweed, timber and myself. We had a good lunch to fuel us on to the final push of reaching the base of the mountain. 

Freight train and I were hiking along through Baxter State Park. The terrain wasn’t what we were expecting but we were cruising along. Then the normal AT happened. We aren’t allowed to have a nice beautiful last day, so we went out in typical AT style. Hiking in a down pour and 6 inches of standing water. We made it to the camp ground and checked in with the ranger station. I’m North bound thru hiker number 77! 
We then pitched in and all split a Campsite and had a great time goofing off, cooking hot dogs, and just telling stories of the trail. I can’t believe it’s about over. It’s been a crazy journey and I’m definitely ready to be on the top off this mountain! I’m very thankful for the experience, the friends, and the great times! 

and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. – 2 Corinthians 5:15

The finish is in sight 

Day 116- 7/5/17 Cooper brook lean to to rainbow stream lean to 29.6 Miles. 2159.7 Total miles. This morning Freight train and I headed out about 5:30. We took off and it was awesome! We cover a ton of ground before noon and then something got to us. My knees were killing me and it got hot out and that really slowed me down. 

We pushed each other through the slump and made our way up the challenging hill of the day. It was beating us up and once we reached the top we really needed a break. We walked out to the view point and caught our first glimpse of Katahdin, the beast of a mountain lurking in the distance. It was taunting us but also got us pretty pumped to be within sight! 

We went down the hill and after a while really needed another break so we stopped at the river to get water and soak our feet in the ice cold water. The break was really nice. After the break we knew we still had atleast 2.5 miles to go so we headed out and we’re kind of slugging and then something clicked and we pushed really hard and in 45 minutes had that 2.5 miles out of the way. We got to camp kind of early but it’s nice to have some extra rest and some time to just chill at camp. We’ve been pushing hard and it’s definitely taken a toll on our bodies. 

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:30

Happy 4th of July! 

Day 115- 7/4/17 stealth site to Cooper Brook shelter 33 miles. 2130.3 Total miles. 
Happy Fourth of July!! I celebrated by doing a ton of miles through a rough section with Freight train. He happens to be and Iraq veteran. I thought it was really cool to be able to hike with a veteran on the Fourth of July and hear all his stories. 

Today we pushed through all he Main mountains we had left in the 100 mile wilderness. Now we’re focused and ready to summit Katahadin in a few days. We’re a little beat up and a little worn out but we keep telling each other that it’s almost over. 
It’s been an incredible journey but I’m so excited to see my loved ones and hug micaela! It’s worth every grueling step we have to take with aching joints and sore legs just to see everyone soon! I hope you all had a great Fourth! See y’all soon! 
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. 

Day 114- 7/3/17 Monson to stealth site 22 miles. 2097.3 Total miles. 
Today I got a late start because I want to try the trail famous breakfast at Shaw’s. It was really great actually so I wasn’t as upset about a late start. I hit the trail around 9 and couldn’t get my pace going. 

Freight train caught me and we had met at breakfast. So we hiked together and it was really cool. We talked a lot and he has a good pace so we were moving at a pretty good speed. We stopped early so that we can get up early tomorrow and make a better start. 

“No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s a small world on the trail

Day 113- 7/2/17 Bald mountain lean to to Shaw’s hiker hostel in Monson Maine 22 miles. 2075.3 Total miles. 
I got another debentures start this morning and started my hike towards the 100 mile wilderness. It was a very wet day on the trail. The weather was beautiful but the rain last night left the trail a wet mess. So I trudged through water and mud a lot of the day. 

I didn’t realize how much it rained until I saw the trail was a stream rushing towards me. It was filled with frogs and fish and everything. There were a few river crossings that were nearly waist deep. 
I managed to hike my 22 miles early and get to the town of monson Maine. I met a section h2iker right before I got to town and he was from Athens, GA! He gave me a ride to the hostel and everything. I hung out and ate and refueled and I’m getting a good nights sleep before I tackle the last few days of the trail. The end is near and I’m excited to be getting there! 
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Milkshake mania! 

Day 112- 7/1/17 west Cary pond lean to to bald mountain lean to 28.7 miles. 2053.3 Total miles.
What a day! This morning I got on the trail at 5:10! I was ready to go and knocked out my first 14 miles before 11am! I made it to the Kennebec river where I was shuttled across in a canoe and stopped by the cars rink house B&B for lunch. There I had a huge pulled pork sandwhich and a very large milkshake! 

I got back on the trail around 1 and after a while my knee began to really bother me. I took breaks and slowed down and made it just fine. 

This evening it began to rain so I hiked soaking wet and still had to fight off the attack of the mosquitos. I didn’t think mosquitoes liked rain but nothing stops the mosquitos up here. I got to the shelter, got settled in, had dinner, and now I’m listening to the monsoon of rain beat on the tin roof of the shelter. Gonna be another early morning tomorrow I hope! 

‬‬“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:16-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Bye bye Bigalows! 

Day 111- 6/30/17 Stratton Motel to West carry pond shelter 23.4 miles. 2024.5 Total miles.
Today I was in a much better mindset! I tackled the bigelows with a mission and before I knew it I was done with them. They were my last tough set of mountains other than mount Katahdin! I’m on the home stretch and couldn’t be more excited! 

Towards the end of the day my knees began to ache but nothing too bad. I got to camp and the shelter only had room for 1, so I let Timber take that spot and I’m sleeping on the floor of the shelter. Nothing could slow me down! I have Katahdin tunnel vision so I’m willing to sleep anywhere! 

Some rest before the big push! 

Day 110- 6/29/17 Spaulding mountain lean to to The Stratton Motel 13.5 miles. 2001.6 Total miles. 
Today was more tough terrain but I got up early hit the trail and made it happen. I finished up at a pretty reasonable time and had some time in town. 

I met a couple on the trail today and they are hiking with their baby. They hiked from daleville Virginia to springer mtn in Ga and now from Katahdin to daleville. They were the nicer couple and the baby was so happy. I stopped and talked to them for a while and they were super nice and just talked to me as long as I talked. 
I hiked on into town crossing the 2000 mile mark and called the shuttle into the Stratton motel. Nice place and nice people. I went to the grocery store to resupply for the next few days and then went to the White wolf inn and restaurant. I was told they had a good burger and I was not let down. I crushed the meal and got a t shirt for a very discounted price for doing so. 
Afterwards we walked back to the hostel and hung out with a bunch of south bound hikers and talked about what we had done. One hiker was super amazed and interested and told me that North bound hikers are his heroes. Because they were almost done with the hike and that’s his dream. It was pretty cool and encouraging.  
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Maine is kicking my butt

Day 109- 6/28/17 ME 4 to Spaulding mountain shelter 18.4 miles. 1988.1 Total miles. 
Today was a tough day. I slept in a little bit this morning and got a late start. The trail was tough and the weather was bad. We hiked over saddleback mountain range. It was really tough. I didn’t expect southern Maine to be such a butt kicker. 

Around noon timber and I stopped on saddle back mountain for a break. Then we saw a rain storm coming towards us. We tried to out hike it but it didn’t really work. The weather was on and off a lot and a real struggle. 

I almost broke today. I was really struggling a lot and didn’t know what to do. After a lot of prayer and a break I got my act together and got going! I made it to the shelter before 8, gathered water, had diner and now I’m in bed early in a shelter full of cheery south bound hikers. 

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7