Thursday, March 2, 2017

Platte Clove Artist in Residence Program Accepting 2017 Season Applications

The Catskill Center is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Platte Clove Artist-in-Residence Program. Applications are due by Friday, March 31, 2017.

The residency, the only one in the country situated in the historic landscapes which were the inspiration for the Hudson River School, provides a tranquil and rustic workplace. A retreat for artists, working in a variety of disciplines, located in the living landscape where American art began.

The residency is open to artists who have an affinity for the natural world. The residencies run from July through September. The work produced should foster an appreciation for the environment and participants are encouraged to submit works for the biannual Platte Clove art exhibit at the Catskill Center’s Erpf Gallery.

Participants stay in a rustic cabin in the Platte Clove Preserve - 208 wild, pristine acres full of hiking trails, multi-tiered waterfalls, and old growth forests. Hiking trails to Indian Head and Overlook mountains begin near the cabin and the 60-foot Plattekill Falls is a short walk from the cabin.

Artists are selected by a jury comprised of representatives from local arts organizations as well as the Catskill Center. Artists working in all mediums are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is Friday, March 31. For more information and an application, please visit the Catskill Center web site at www.catskillcenter.org/air or contact Katie Palm at kpalm@catskillcenter.org



MORE CATSKILL PARK, HIKING, PLANNING AND VISITOR INFO


Read up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information.   We have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available.

Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills?  We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set.  These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails.  National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region that is useful for trip planning and road navigation. How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region . 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading one of the following: The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock; The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line; or The Catskills, It's History and how it changed America. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.
 

2nd Annual Taking Flight: Birding in the Catskills Conference Announced for June 2017

http://catskillcenter.org/taking-flight-about/

The Catskill Center is thrilled to announce registration is now open for its second annual birding conference, “Taking Flight: Birding in the Catskills”. Taking Flight will be held Friday, June 9th through Sunday, June 11th at the Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville, NY.

This is not your typical birding weekend! The Catskill Center has combined the best of a birding conference with a birding festival, and have invented an event that is rich with presenters you will want to hear, speaking on topics you will want to learn about.

The Friday keynote will feature Brian “Fox” Ellis. Storyteller and author Brian “Fox” Ellis, in the persona of John James Audubon, brings history, ecology, art and literature to life in this meticulously researched program that celebrates the life work of one of America’s greatest artist and naturalist! Ellis is an internationally renowned storyteller and naturalist who has been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on environmental concerns, including the International Wetlands Conservation Conference, and the North American Prairie Conservation Conference, et al. He is the author of sixteen books including the critically acclaimed Learning From the Land: Teaching Ecology Through Stories and Activities. Many of his stories are also available on one of twelve CDs. His first children’s picture book, THE WEB at Dragonfly Pond was selected as Conservation Education Book of the Year.

Our Saturday keynote speaker, Richard Crossley, is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award winning author of ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series. Crazy, wildly passionate, driven and single-minded are just a few of the words used to describe his love of birding and the outdoors.

Born in Yorkshire, UK, Richard first visited Cape May, NJ after graduating, and moved there in 1991 after falling in love with the birding and town. After 20 years of hiding in the business world while raising his family (with wife Debra, 2 kids and a dog – all blondes), Richard co-authored the successful The Shorebird Guide. He quickly became obsessed with the newfound opportunities provided by digital technology, Photoshop and book design. The Crossley ID Guide series was created.

The innovative design of his Crossley ID Guide series shows a more lifelike and complete picture, challenging many of the traditional ‘old-school’ book layouts. This allows kids and beginners a better understanding of the looks and lives of birds. Recognized with multiple awards, this series has created a movement for other wildlife guides to put more emphasis on habitat, behavior and other imagery that we can relate to in real life.

Richard is also co-founder of the global birding initiative Pledge to Fledge, Race4Birds and The Cape May Young Birders Club. He has contributed to most major birding publications, is frequently heard on radio and is a highly sought-after public speaker. He served on the board of directors at the famous Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He firmly believes that the time is right to popularize birding in the USA and other parts of the world. When recently asked why he takes on so many projects, his answer, “it beats working” sums up his passion for everything outdoors.

Richard will also host a special Sunday morning “Learning to Look” field trip to close out the weekend. The key to becoming a competent birder is learning how to understand what you are looking at. The emphasis on this mornings walk with Richard will be look at every bird like the experts do. When asked if he wanted to put all the tour guides out of business, Richards answer was 'yes!'

 
 
MORE CATSKILL PARK, HIKING, PLANNING AND VISITOR INFO


Read up on the Catskill Park at our Catskill Mountains Information Page for hikes, advice, travel and planning information.   We have a Guide to Hiking in the Catskills available.

Need a hiking map for your hikes in the Catskills?  We recommend the Trail Conference's Catskills Trails 6-Map Set.  These maps are the best available for hiking and outdoor adventures in the Catskills and the Catskill Park. The Catskill Center offers a regional map of the Catskills that provides an excellent overview of the region, it's roadways, attractions and trails.  National Geographic Trails Illustrated also produces a map for the region that is useful for trip planning and road navigation. How about a guidebook?  Both AMC and ADK publish trail guides to the Catskill Region . 

If you are looking for more information about the extensive history of the Catskill Mountains and the Catskill Park, we would suggest reading one of the following: The Catskills, From Wilderness to Woodstock; The Catskill Park, Inside the Blue Line; or The Catskills, It's History and how it changed America. For the most comprehensive natural history of the Catskill Park and the Forests of the Catskill region, we recommend reading The Catskill Forest, a History by Michael Kudish.
 
 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike (9/20/16 thru 9/21/16 ) | Abol Bridge to Mount Kathadin (completion!)

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Storm (Moe) has completed his Appalachian Trail thru-hike. He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 6, 2016 at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished on September 21, 2016. Along the way he kept a journal, which we are putting up in parts. Here's a look back at the completion of his thru hike from Abol Bridge to the summit of Mount Kathadin in Baxter State Park. To see all of his journals, click here.

(previous journal)

September 20, 2016 - Into Baxter State Park
I woke up at 3am and was like you need sleep. The realization that this is almost to the end is hitting me. This family of hikers out here have truly been amazing. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye. I fell back asleep and woke up around 6 and brought my stove over to Hazels tent to make one last hot chocolate together. This would be our last time camping together and it's bittersweet.

We packed up and headed to Abol campground store and restaurant and got breakfast. We got on trail at around 8. The plan was to walk from Abol bridge to Katahdin Stream Campground and Stephen would meet us from New Brunswick and bring us to Millinocket.

The trail was relatively flat. We passed a booth where we signed into Baxter State Park. We forded two streams which we could not rock hope and the boots came off. The water was COLD and the steam was deep.

Trip (Doug) tried to rock hope and almost made it across but slipped and fell on the last boulder. He didn't get hurt just a bit banged and bruised. We passed Big and little Niagra Falls along the way and nice pond. We crossed by a day use parking area where we sat and had a break. We continued on arriving at Katahdin Stream Campground where Stephen was waiting and headed to the ranger station where we registered.

I got my green card which I was hiker 788 to reach Katahdin who had left from Georgia. We had some trail magic from a family of a thru hiker who was waiting for her to come down and finish. We got into Stephen's car and headed to Millinocket and checked into the Katahdin inn. We went and had Chinese food and then I waited for Peter and Jeff to show up.

We went to dinner and I ate again. Dinner number 2. We got back to the motel and I crashed. Tomorrow I summit Katahdin and this journey ends. Kirk who is the son of Al Cratty (smitty the walking stick) was going to meet us in the morning and summit with me. He was going to bring his walking stick and to see his dad finish the walk. It was going to be an emotional day all around.

September 21, 2016 - The End
Today is the day I finish my thru hike. I woke up at 3:39 am and said oh this is ridiculous. I went back to sleep finally getting up and showering at 5:30. Jeff and I went down to the lobby to meet Hazel and Stephen for breakfast. When I got to the lobby Trooper was standing there waiting for me. She drove all the way from Massachusetts (5 hour drive) to wish me well and to see me on my summit day. I was in tears. It meant so much to me that she drove all that way for a half hour visit. She joined us for coffee at the motel free breakfast.

We left at 7 and drove to Baxter State Park. My stomach was full of butterflies as was Hazels. I went in the car with Stephen and Hazel and Jeff's dad Peter, Doug and Jeff went in the other car. Jeff, Stephen and Doug were going to climb up Katahdin with Hazel and I. This would be Stephen's first time climbing a mountain.

We arrived at the park at around 8 and when we got out of the car I saw several familiar faces about to head up. Cake, Haiku, Gaia, Lt. Dan, Feather and bear bait were all in the parking area. We all started up together and reached the sign in booth where Kirk was waiting. It was a moment as we hugged and he showed me the stick his dad made for him. He had a tiny camera and was going to film as we climbed the mountain and interview me about my hike. As some of you remember Kirk's dad loved the AT and wanted to Thru hike. He passed from cancer before he got a chance to and I walked his walking stick from Georgia to Maine. Kirk wanted to do a story on my hike and his dad's stick for his work at News 6 in Portland. The interview took about a mile to do while we walked.

When we reached tree line the hike got technical. The five of us Hazel, Stephen,Doug, Jeff and I had to help each other get up the boulder climbs. It was hard and kinda scary at times. As for AT climbs this was up there as one of the hardest.

I was filled with all sorts of emotions that are too hard to explain. Once we passed the boulder climbs and almost reached the table lands we started seeing familiar faces descending. Old timer, cheeks, outlaw, beast, cake, haiku, Lt. Dan one by one passed Hazel and I. We congratulated them and hugged them not sure if we would see each other again. These people were my trail family. Even though we may not have hiked everyday with them they were out there in it heading north with me. We shared moments that were specific to a shelter, town or part of the trail.

I fought back more tears as each one passed finally giving up as the tears rolled down my face. Hazel and I reached the table lands and we could see the last mile to go and the people on the top by the sign. Kirk went ahead to summit so he could film me coming up. We pushed on. The wind was howling even though it was a perfect blue bird sky day.

I looked up to the summit and saw a raven circling. This has been a symbol all along the trail that Al Cratty was there and I couldn't believe here at 5000 feet there was a raven. I had seen them all along the trail and even on my drive south to Georgia. I climbed up the last rise and saw the Katahdin sign and was afraid to walk to it.

I pushed the strength and climbed up the that little hill reaching the sign I reached for it and put my head on it and wept. I had done it. I had just walked 2189.10 miles from Georgia to Maine.

I looked and saw Hazel at the same spot I was and she said I can't do it. I said get up here and she walked reaching for the sign hugging it and weeping. I hugged here and yelled we did it. We did it. We took pictures. I helped her up on the sign to get her picture. Then I got up to get my picture with Smitty and the Raven came back and circled me landing behind me on a rock. It then took off flying around our heads and I yelled it's AL.

We had a truly epic summit and moment at the top. We spent about 30 minutes and headed down as it got cold. We split up at Abol trail down to the campground. Stephen, Hazel, Kirk and I headed down that way while Doug and Jeff headed down the AT. We were worried about getting Stephen down the AT as it was steep and tough going up it was going to be harder going down.

Doug and Jeff went down that way as to meet Peter as that was where all the cars were. They would come pick us up at the other trail head. We got out of the woods at 6:30. It took us 10.5 hours to do 10 miles.

We met Hazels sister and nephew and some friends from home and all went to dinner in Millinocket. It hasn't sunk in yet that this is really over. Tomorrow will be another tough day when I have to say goodbye to Hazel.

For now I'm enjoying this moment.

September 22, 2016 - The Day After
Woke up at 5am again!! I guess sleeping in will not happen for awhile. We headed to breakfast and checked out. Hazel, Stephen, Jeff and I headed to the Appalachian Trail Cafe to have a late breakfast/ lunch. We also went to sign the class of 2016 ceiling tile which the cafe hangs up in their dining room.

After we ate we headed out and I had to say goodbye to Hazel. This was one of the hardest things Ive had to do on the trail. Our little trail family was special to me and on most of my hike I never got too attached to a group. Yes I hiked with many but we all jumped around and would see each other from time to time. Luigi, Ompi and the Royal couple I hiked with but we split with the hopes we would see each other soon. Dragon Head and Hazel were the two I hiked the most with and that was about 5 states. When dragon head got ahead we thought we would catch up so it was more of a see you later. This was a goodbye to Hazel for now and it really sucked. We had shared so much, laughed, cried and bonded. Thank god for technology and things like FaceTime.

We all got into our separate cars and drove in opposite directions. It was very sad. Jeff and I were heading to Vermont to go to Homecoming and Alumni Council Meeting which we were members of at our college. Hazel and Stephen were headed to New Brunswick to head home. It's not going to sink in that this is over till I get back home to the Catskills.

I am grateful for where I live because I can be in the woods in a matter of minutes if I miss the trail too much. I will still be connected to the trail by maintaining pieces of it in New Jersey and New York through the New York New Jersey Trail Conference. I also look forward to volunteering my time at a few hostels possibly next season to support the class of 2017.

I also hope I will be able to represent the trail conference at next years trail fest. I never fully understood the Appalachian Trail until I got on it. The trail is so much bigger than I ever imagined. The community is amazing and I have learned so much from them and it. The people out there became my family and some of them I only shared a meal, shelter or a few moments with, memories were created all along the trail in those moments. Specific locations on the trail were captured in time with those around me.

The following people will forever hold a special place in my heart. Trooper, Blue Butterfly, Olive's Human, Bug Juice, Grandma, Cinderella, Holy Diver, Ghost, Gaia, Cake, Ompi, Lightning, Timber+ Dexter, Littlefoot, OSHA, Otter, Little Joe, Karma, Luigi, Freefall, Tranquillity, Margarita, The Librarian, Luigi, The Royal Couple (slosh+scavenger), Bowjangels, Waterfall, Mudslide, Gasket, Charlie and company, Hiker John, Sleeping Bear, Smeagel, Snitzel, Crocamole, Lt. Dan, The Dude, C#, Paisley, Dragon Head, Hazel, Wallet, Eagle, Jackrabbit, Breakneck, Avalon, Gretel, Daddy long legs, David, Lazerus, Lumberjack and Ninja Geisha, Red, Crash, Old Timer, Rambler, Feather, Mayfly, Cheeks, Wolverine, Flash, Sneaky Pete, Sage, Quasibird, Spam and Sniper. You all helped create my own hike and I thank you all for that. I will never forget you.

For all of you who have read my daily journal and offered words of encouragement I thank you. Knowing that all of you were out there waiting for my next journal entry was a good motivator for me to keep going. Especially on those days where it took every thing I had to move forward. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Part of my hike which I did not mention much before on here was to raise money for the Catskill Center. This is an organization (non profit) in the Catskill Park which I am a member of that works to preserve the natural beauty and resources of the Catskill Park. I deeply love the Catskill mountains of New York and they were instrumental in prepping me for this thru hike. I wanted to give back to what had helped me so much in training for this. Many have privately messaged me asking how they can give back for taking them on this incredible journey with me. One way is to support my Go-fund campaign to raise money that will directly go back to help preserve the park I love so much. Here is the link www.gofundme.com/moehikestheAT. Any amount you could contribute would be greatly appreciated. Please do not feel pressure to do so but I wanted to give those who wanted to an opportunity.

For those of you planning on hiking in 2017 and beyond I am an open book. Feel free to email me and pick my brain. If I can offer any assistance I will be more than happy to. If I can help others experience what I did on the AT I will be more than glad to offer assistance. The AT is truly an amazing special thing and it has forever changed my life.

October 17, 2016 - Smitty the walking stick and I were on TV!
It's now been three weeks since I've been home. It has been a weird adjustment and I miss the trail more than ever.

This weekend I got back out into the woods for a ten mile hike and it was wonderful. I met six slash here in the Catskills who Thru hiked in 2014. He was hiking with 2 friends and we chatted for a bit. I was offered an apple from a woman hiking at the summit of Hunter Mountain. I felt like I was back on the AT with dry springs and butt slides to boot. It was exactly what I needed to fill the longing for the trail.

For those of you who were following me the story about the walking stick was finally finished and aired this past Saturday on Bill Green's Maine. Here is a link to that story. It came out so well and it was an honor to do.




(previous journal)

-------- 

Storm posted regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal

You can also follow him on his Facebook Page, Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Read all of Storm's posts on Adventures in the Outdoors.


For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.



Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike (9/12/16 thru 9/19/16 ) | Kennebec River, Maine to Abol Bridge (100 Mile Wilderness)

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Storm (Moe) has completed his Appalachian Trail thru-hike. He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 6, 2016 at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished on September 21, 2016. Along the way he kept a journal, which we are putting up in parts. Here's a look back at his hike from the Kennebec River in Maine through the 100 Mile Wilderness up to Abol Bridge just before Baxter State Park and Mount Kathadin. To see all of his journals, click here.

(previous journal)

September 12, 2016 - A picture perfect day
I woke up at 3 am to the sound of Hazel getting back into her tent. Is it time to go I asked her. Not yet she said. I fell back asleep and woke up around 7 and it was freezing. We did not want to move. It was the coldest morning since Georgia. We made hot cocoa and ate breakfast. We walked down to Pleasant Pond to filter water and enjoyed the morning sun on the pond. It was pretty magical.


We packed up and got underway at about 8. Our first climb of the day was Pleasant Pond Mountain. It was about a 1000 foot climb and it's been a few days since we climbed like that. The climb got right to the point and we were on the summit in no time. The way down was long and steep and it took a bit to get down. We crossed over the south end of moxie pond and stopped at a shelter for lunch. After lunch we had another 1000 foot climb up Moxie bald which had fantastic 360 views on top. The descent was fairly easy and a good trail.

We made it to Moxie Bald shelter and decided to push on another 2 miles. We found a nice campsite near a stream and set up shop. The moon was rising as we ate our dinners and it could not have been more perfect. This would be our last night just Hazel and I as my brother in law will be up tomorrow to join us in the last 115 miles of the journey. It will be nice to be three.

September 13, 2016 - Pre-100 Mile Wilderness prep
Woke up at 5am and got our food bags down. Hazel asked are you making breakfast it's 3am. I said its 5 and she was like oh ok I'll get up. We made breakfast and while we were packing up the chipmunks waged war against us. They were pulling off sticks and pine cones and tossing them down onto us. Possibly getting their breakfast but it seemed like they were waging war on us.

We got on trail and headed for Monson. We had two rivers to ford but the trail was a steady downhill. We bumped into Cake and Haiku and I hiked with Cake for awhile. We made the 13.6 miles in no time. We were staying at Shaw's as well as Cake and Haiku. We called for a pick up at the parking area. We got to shaws checked in and headed to pre-register at the visitor center. We then got lunch at Pete's place and headed back to Shaw's for laundry and showers. Had a nice relaxing night before we trek into the 100 mile wilderness. Won't have service for 7 days so there may be a delay on updates of these.

September 14, 2016 - Into the 100 Mile Wilderness - day 1
Day 1 of the 100 mile wilderness: I had a hard time sleeping last night. I think I was nervous going into the 100 mile wilderness with all the food. The weight was my biggest concern on my feet. There were options like a food drop for 80 dollars but I made it through the Smokies why not this.

The other thing starting to get me is this is almost over. The hardest part is going to be the people aspect. Hikers I've hiked with many miles ago are either ahead or behind me. Dragon Head for instance will be summiting on Friday as he is about 5 days ahead. Other familiar faces who you may not have hiked with but have been at shelters or passed you back and forth since Virginia are now summiting. When a familiar passes you think is this the last time I'll see them. Cheeks and Old Timer just got into the shuttle to be dropped off and Hazel said that may be the last time we see those two. It's weird how these people out here become your family. On the AT if you have the guts and the determination to be out here there is a respect among hikers. We have lived it and know what you've just faced. It's gonna be hard to say goodbye.Cake and Haiku were at the hostel last night and are taking a zero today. Hazel and I are just about ready to head out so I just said goodbye to cake and haiku on the off chance we don't see them in the 100 mile. They should catch up but you just don't know at this point. Maybe it will be easier to say you'll catch up and not say goodbye.

As for updates to names you all know, Luigi and her crew have come into New Hampshire and should just be about to come into the Whites. The royal couple are about 3 days behind me and should be neat Stratton, ME. Dragon head and ninja geisha will summit on Friday. I will start posting summit pictures of those you have heard about on this journey.

For now back to the day. After not sleeping much I jumped into the shower and we headed down to breakfast. It was wonderful with eggs made the way you like them, bacon, OJ, hash browns, and all you can eat blueberry pancakes. Fantastic. After breakfast we packed our bags and the food didn't fit quite all in the food bag. My pack is so heavy the first two days in the hundred miles are gonna be awful on the weight.

We got picked up by the family who came up to bring me new boots and some other items and to take home some other items. We slack packed 3.5 miles from the first Monson exit to the second. Then we loaded everything up and said goodbye and headed into the woods. Heave heavy heavy packs ugh. There was a sign warning do not enter u less you have enough supplies for ten days.

We began walking and ten minutes in it began to rain. Yay welcome to the 100 mile wilderness lets start you off wet. We stopped at a pond to have a snack and rest. I think the first two days will be lots of little breaks. We chugged on and the trail had a lot of little ups and downs. Nothing too hard but heavy packs and wet roots and rocks made it a bit tough. We stopped at Leeman Brook lean-to for break #2 and rested for a bit. We pushed on and went another 5 miles and stopped at little Wilson stream for camp. Someone had made a sofa out of rocks and it was quite handy. We slept with our food as it all didn't fit in our food bags so why hang some while sleeping with the rest. I passed out about 8:30.

September 15, 2016 - Day 2 of 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 2 of the 100 mile wilderness. I woke up dreaming about blueberry muffins and hearing trooper saying they were the worst tasting blueberry muffins ever. Ok!?! of all food items to dream about blueberry muffins, really!! I fell back asleep and woke up to Hazel saying "good morning storm". Coffee and hot cocoa were had. This is my new favorite thing. Mix the two together. Ate a few pumpkin pie pop tarts and we packed up.

We hit the trail at 7:30 and had more small ups and downs. We had to ford the Big Wilson stream which was mid thigh and had a current. It was a little intense but fun. We had to take our boots and soaks off and wear our camp shoes. We climbed up another hill and crossed railroad tracks before reaching Wilson Valley lean-to where we had a late morning snack. We continued on crossing several brooks and streams. We forded long pond stream before getting to Long Pond Stream shelter for lunch. We rested and ate for about 30 minutes and then began the climb up Barren Mt. We reached Barren slide and Barren ledges and had a spectacular view. It's probably one of my favorites on the whole trail.

We continued on climbing up to the remnants of a fire tower with more spectacular views. We had a slight down and continued on to the side trail to the shelter. It was .40 off trail ugh!!! We needed to get water so we had to go. The terrain today was super tough. We only managed to go 12.3 and it took all day. It was pretty defeating as we don't have food for ten days. We walked the .40 to the shelter and came upon the most beautiful campsite ever. It was on a small bluff overlooking cloud pond. It was magical and one of my favorite tenting spots to date. We talked about the list of lasts. The last resupply, the last hostel. Ugh it's so sad to think this is coming to an end but it must. There are people at home anxiously awaiting our return.

September 16, 2016 - Day 3 of 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 3 of the 100 mile wilderness. We woke up super cold. We had a frost warning for last night and it was close. I didn't want to move from my tent this morning. I fired up the stove and made hot cocoa and coffee mix. It's so good I think it's my new favorite thing. We packed up and got on trail at 7:30.

The terrain looked like it was gonna kick our buts again and I wasted no time. The descent off of Barren Mt. was steep and slow going. At the bottom we crossed fourth bog and ascended fourth mountain and then had an even worse descent than off of Barren Mt. We then had to climb Mt three and a half which gave some nice views from the ledges at the summit. We then descended and climbed up third mountain which had a great view from the cliffs. Next we descended and climbed up Columbus Mt and stopped at chair back shelter.

At this point it was 1:30 and we had only done 6.9 miles for the day. We were kind of discouraged that our pace was not where we expected it to be. We carried on climbing up chair back mountain to a great view of the mountain chain east of us. Then we had the climb down the chair back. A straight shot down a cliff in essence. If you look at the profile of the mountain it looks like a chair. That took awhile to successfully climb down without killing ourselves.

We then descended down to Katahdin Ironworks gravel road where we were able to fill up on water as we were out. We carried on fording the west branch of pleasant river and then began the climb up Gulf Hagas Mountain. We met a ridge runner who told us that after the two mile restriction of no camping we could camp by the creek in a nice stealth spot. We found the spot set up camp.

Made a quick dinner and got ready for bed. Another tough day with low miles. Only 13.3 today. On another note Holy Diver summited today and he posted his picture and it's becoming more real. I hadn't seen him since Erwin,TN. Dragon Head and Ninja Geisha should also be summiting today but haven't got confirmation yet as no cell service. Wow it's becoming more real that I actually am close to finishing this thing.

September 17, 2016 - Day 4 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 4 of the 100 mile wilderness. The cold woke me up at 5am. I was like well I'm getting up, grabbed the food bag and made a huge cup of coffee. Hazel stirred shortly thereafter. The moon was so bright it was like a spotlight on us through the night. I started packing up and she did the same. Ms. Elizabeth was camped a bit of the way down from us. She is so inspiring as she is out here alone hiking this trail in her 70's. Wow!

We got on trail at 6:30 which was a record for us. We had a nice trail up gulf Hagas Mountain. Cake and Haiku caught up to us and we all stopped at the Carl A Newhall shelter for a second breakfast. We all moved on and summitted Mt Hagas. Cake and Haiku got ahead of us and we went up and over West Peak and Hay Mt. We then headed up White Cap Mt which had fantastic views from the summit. The wind was blowing and the sun was shining. On the north side of the mountain there was Katahdin in the distance, looking as majestic as ever. Wow we have been headed toward this thing for 2100+ miles and there she was a site to see.

Afterward we headed down white cap and stopped at Logan Brook shelter for lunch. We then boggied to hike till 6pm to see where we got to. We passed East Branch lean-to and made it 2 miles further north to a pond where we camped on the edge of mountain view pond. It was a fantastic spot. We made dinner and got into bed by 8:30.

September 18, 2016 - Day 5 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 5 of the 100 mile wilderness. Well a mental note for future hikers. Do not eat chili Mac at the dead center of the 100 mile wilderness for dinner. Oh my!!!

We got up and packed up by 6:30. The rain early morning wasn't as bad as it was supposed to be so that was a big bonus. We started on trail and climbed over Little boardman mt and then descended. The trail leveled off and we boogied. We stopped at Copper Brook Falls lean-to for a snack and continued on. We passed Jo-Mary road and had a great trail. We had lunch at Antlers Campground. We continued on climbing up and over Potaywadjo bump as I called it.

The trail leveled off and we hiked into the night as the headlamps came out. We camped by a gravel road in a gravel parking area and did an impressive 24.7 mile day.

September 19, 2016 - Day 6 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 6 of the 100 mile wilderness. The night in the parking area was fun. We had fun trying to get down to the water in the dark after being exhausted from our 24 mile walk. We laughed and laughed. There should not be precipitous drop off while getting water Hazel said. We made dinner and got ready for bed at 10 which for me was staying up all night. We got up and packed and headed on trail at about 7 and were determined to do 25 to exit the 100 mile wilderness. We were hungry, tired and weak and wanted to recharge and the key was to get out of the 100 mile wilderness.

The trail started out flat and we made some good time. We then had climbs up Nesuntabunt Mt. We met up with Outlaw and Beast and hiked many miles with them. We made the descent and stopped and had lunch at pollywog stream. We hiked on refilling water at Rainbow Stream lean-to. The trail leveled off and became root free and we were able to move. We passed rainbow lake which was simply beautiful and climbed up Rainbow Ledges which gave us a partial cloudy view of Katahdin. We descended down off of the ledges and headed for Hurd Brook lean-to for a break.

We moved on with only 3.1 miles to golden road which is the outlying road by the 100 mile wilderness. It got dark so the headlamps came out. The terrain became rooted and muddy we carried on exiting the 100 mile at 8:30. We headed to Abol Pines and got a lean-to and had dinner. We didn't settle down for bed until about 11:30. Tomorrow we walk the 10 miles into Baxter State Park to Katahdin Stream campground. My emotions are all over the place and I can't believe I have walked here from Georgia.

(next journal)

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Storm posted regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal

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For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.