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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)

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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

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 (9/6/16 thru 9/11/16 ) | Rangeley, Maine to the Kennebec River

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 through Mahoosuc Notch and into Rangeley, Maine. To see all of his journals, click here.

(previous journal)

September 6, 2016 - Saddleback Mountain
Had a great nights sleep at the Farmhouse inn. Woke up around 6 and took a shower and had a breakfast of waffles with Hazel. We got a ride to the IGA grocery store to do our resupply and then got a shuttle back to the trail. The Farmhouse Inn was amazing and the owners were so nice. I definitely would come back.

Hazel and I got on trail at about 9am. Our first climb of the day was up Saddleback Mt. We stopped at Piazza rock shelter for a snack two miles in. We then continued the climb. It was sunny and the terrain was steep but nothing we aren't used to. We stopped at Eddy Pond to have lunch and it was such a beautiful spot. Old Timer stopped and had a snack at the pond as well. We continued on and began the steep climb up Saddleback. The clouds and fogged moved on when we got close to the summit as well as the mist. Descending down the other side was tricky with the wet rocks. We went slow and began the climb up the horn. This wasn't too bad as we only descended a few 100 feet down from saddleback. On the summit of the horn the sun came out. We descended down the horn and stopped at a campsite at the bottom to fill up on water and to have a snack. Our last climb of the day was up Saddleback Junior. The climb was steep and got right to the point. At the top Flash and Wolverine caught up to us. We chatted for a bit before descending down to the shelter.

The climb down was hard with a lot of rock slabs and holding onto trees and roots. It took us some time but we made it to the shelter. The shelter was pretty full and the few campsites were taken. Our guidebook said there were more sites up on the knoll so we continued on walking and found a good spot. We set up camp, I built a fire, Hazel got water and we made dinner and roasted marshmallows. Yummy. We headed to bed and I passed out. Today was a tough day of hiking.

September 7, 2016 - Under the 200 mile mark
Today I woke up much earlier than normal. It was 4am and I said no this is not gonna work go back to bed. I did and woke up at a much reasonable 6:30. I heard Hazel say "Good morning Storm" We made breakfast, broke down camp and were on trail before 7:30. We had the best campsite on the knoll by poplar ridge lean-to.

We had a steady downhill to start our day and then a steep climb up lone mt. We stopped at Spaulding Mountain lean-to for lunch and then climbed Spaulding mountain. It was a tough climb and I was dragging big time. It feels like everyday I'm getting weaker and weaker even though I'm eating and eating. After summiting Spaulding we had a gradual descent and stayed on the ridge until we reached the view right before Sugarloaf Mt. We passed a plaque commemorating the completion of the last section of the Appalachian Trail. There was a side trail 0.70 up to the summit of Sugarloaf. We did not summit as it was getting late and we knew we had a very steep downhill from Sugarloaf.

We began the downhill and it was slow going with lots of rock slabs to make our way over. It was all in the sun and we were cooking. We both ran out of water 1/2 way down. Finally we arrived at the south branch of the Carrabassett River where we were able to filter water and drink generously. We forded the river and found a camp spot too perfect to pass up. We set up and Hazel started a fire. Flash and Wolverine joined us and are a couple. They are so cute and remind me of Jeff and I when we were in our early 20's. They set up their tent and came and made their dinner by the fire. We all chatted about our hikes and who's where that we know all together. By 8:15 we were all yawning and ready for bed. Hiker midnight is now officially 8pm.

September 8, 2016 - Crossing over the 2000 mile mark
There is nothing like sleeping near a body of running water. I had the best nights sleep ever. I got up and made breakfast with Hazel. Wolverine and Flash came over and joined us for breakfast.

We started off and began the steep climb up Crocker Mt. We hiked into the clouds and had no views. After going over South Crocker Mountain and North Crocker Mountain we began the 5 mile descent down to Maine route 27. The descent was gradual and nice. At about .90 miles from the road we crossed the 2000 mile mark. It was quite the moment and a bit emotional. We got to the road and sat and ate our lunch and took a little snooze.

We got back on trail and pushed another 6 miles to Horns Pond Lean-to. The view from the knoll overlooking horns pond was simply amazing. We walked down and arrived at the double shelter. One shelter had a couple in it that hiked up to the pond, the second one was empty. Hazel and I set up in the empty shelter. The caretaker for this site which is very popular came down to chat with us. She said it was unusually quiet. We started cooking dinner and sunshine showed up. I hadn't seen him since Shenandoah Park. We all made dinner and chatted before we all passed out at about 8:30.

September 9, 2016 - Trail Magic
I woke up at around 5:30 to the morning light starting. It looked nice shining around Avery Mt. We got up and made breakfast and chatted while packing up. Sunshine was planning on doing 18 or so and Hazel and I cringed. He flip flopped from Harper's Ferry and said that he's at the peak of his hike and in shape. We are at the end of our hike and our bodies are in the decline stage so big miles are just not possible. It's taking everything I got to get up the climbs and the energy level is really low. It makes sense as after 2000 miles I'm pretty tired.


We headed out on trail at around 7:30 and began the steepest 1/2 mile climb on the whole AT supposedly. It wasn't too bad and we summited Avery peak. At the top we met Otter who was a flip flipper. I had heard there was another Otter on the trail, not to be confused with my Otter from Hot Springs.

We continued in our way going up and over the horn and little Bigelow. We then had a three mile descent down to the road where we were going to meet Stephen. We got to the road and there was trail magic given by past thru hikers. It was such a nice thing to come out to. Stephen was not there yet and we had hamburgers, pasta salad, doughnuts, cake, soda, iced tea, ice cream sandwiches. It was simply amazing.

We met the guy who created the Guthook app for Thru hikers. He was part of the group doing trail magic. After about two hours and Stephen wasn't there we began to worry. I tried calling him up on the hill and got nothing. I even had home try and call him. We sat for another hour and finally he pulled up. The guidebook coordinates for the parking area sent him to a completely different parking area where he sat for four hours. He finally saw a caretaker and asked if the AT passed by here and was told it was 5 miles north. Ugh we all laughed at the ridiculousness of it. We headed to Kingfield and stayed at the Grand Hebert Hotel. We had dinner across the street and it was 9:30 when we finished so all the errands will have to wait until the morning. We headed back to the room and crashed.

September 10, 2016 - The last resupply
I woke to the sun rising on Main Street in the Grand Hebert Hotel. I slept so darn good last night. We got up about 7:30 and I showered and got dressed. We checked out of the hotel and went to do our laundry. While the clothes were washing we went and had breakfast across the street. I got a meat lovers omelette and lots of Mt Dew. We finished the laundry and Stephen drove us to Walmart in Farmington so we could do our final supply on our thru hike.

We split the food into three days to last to Monson and 7 days for the hundred mile wilderness. I can't believe this hike is almost over. We are down to the last ten days. It's so surreal that I'm almost to the end. I'm ready to go home and be with Jeff but I'm also not ready for this to be over. Hazel is feeling the same way and when I mention it she tears up. We finished up at the Walmart and headed out. Stephen drove us back to the trail head where we got off. The trail magic guys were still at. Hazel said goodbye to Stephen and we got back on trail. We will see him in Millinocket in 10 days. My brother in law Doug will be up in three days to hike with us thru the 100 mile wilderness. I'm looking forward to sometime with him.

We headed back into the woods at 3pm and planned to walk to 6. That brought us to West Carry Pond Shelter. When I got to the shelter no one was there. I think we are in the middle of an empty bubble. I arrived at the shelter first followed by iron face and then Hazel. I went down to the pond for a swim. We set up in the shelter due to the possibility of rain and made dinner. Later on in the evening Fish and two girls showed up and stopped for a rest before moving on. We settled in for bed around 8:30.

September 11, 2016 - Crossing the Kennebec
It poured at around 2am. It was so loud it woke me up in the lean-to. This lean-to has a tin roof at west carry pond so the sound of the rain was louder than normal. I fell back asleep and woke up at 6:30. Yikes so much for getting up early and having an early start. We quickly packed up and ate a fast breakfast them jumped on trail.

We had 13.6 miles to cover before 2. To cross the Kennebec River you need to use the ferry service. It only runs between 9-2 everyday. The river is too dangerous to ford. We got on trail at about 7:30 so we had about 6.5 hours to get there. The terrain didn't look too tough in the guidebook. We started out with an easy trail around west carry pond and then the trail continued to be easy to east carry pond. Then the thunderstorms rolled in at about 9:30 am. It poured and poured and we got soaked as well as the trail turned into a river. We made it to pierce pond shelter at noon. This gave us 3.6 miles to the river. The last ferry leaves at 2 and we didn't want to miss it as it would really foil our plans.

We boogied on and the rain subsided and the sun even tried to come out. We made it to the landing for the river crossing at 1:45. There were two other hikers in front of us who were being ferried across the river so we waited. The ferry guy came back and we had to fill out a waiver and wear life jackets. His name was Paul and he told us he has Ferried about 2100 hikers so far this season both north and southbounders. We were the last people to be ferried across for September 11 2016.

We stopped on the other side and sat and ate our lunch and rested. We had done 14 miles by 2pm. We continued on passing the road into Caratunk and began the small climb up to Pleasant pond. We arrived at the shelter at around 6pm. Tank and Frodo were set up in the shelter which was very crooked so Hazel and I decided to look for a tenting spot. All we could find was a spot along the path that went .20 to pleasant pond. We set up grabbed water and made dinner. It got cold quick and we were bundled up in our tents trying to eat dinner. We fell asleep before 8:30.

(next journal)

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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 (9/1/16 thru 9/5/16 ) | Mahoosuc Notch to Rangeley, Maine

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 through Mahoosuc Notch and into Rangeley, Maine. To see all of his journals, click here.

(previous journal)

September 1, 2016 - What Horrors await us!!
This is what Hazel said as she stared into her hot chocolate this morning. "What horrors await us today" I couldn't help but laugh. I woke up around 6:30 to only a little bit of water in my tent. I was worried where we didn't have our rain flies pulled tight that we would leak. It was a foggy morning and cool and neither of us wanted to move.

Yesterday was a really hard day and we only went a little under ten miles. You never know how hard the terrain is going to be by looking at the elevation profile. We made breakfast at our tents and talked about the plan for the day. Hazel said oh I wonder what horrors await us today. I laughed as Mahoosuc Notch is coming and just like yesterday it looks like we will be dealing with wet rocks. The shelter area was packed. I would guess there was 40 people crammed in everywhere. The shelter was full, all the tent pads were full and people were camped wherever they could fit.

Yesterday people zeroed at the shelter as they didn't want to do the notch in the rain. Then all the people from the shelter we stayed at including us came, a few southbounders, and finally a few backpackers made for a full site.

Hazel and I finally got packed up and on the trail by 8am. We were one of the first people to leave and I think everyone was waiting for drier weather. Our first climb of the day was Fulling Mill Mountain. The climb was not to bad but the descent down to the notch was steep and with wet rocks very difficult. We reached the beginning of the notch and started in. The notch itself is only a mile long and it took us 3 hours to traverse through.

We had to climb, hop, crawl under, fling ourselves from rocks, under rocks. Then you add in wet rocks and it makes for an interesting time. The rocks in the notch had fallen from the cliffs above which created a jumble of them. You would climb over one rock to have a drop off on the other side, you would have to hold on to the Rock and slide your body off trying to get s foothold on another rock. Some moments were scary as if you slipped you would be really hurt. We finally made it through the notched a bit scratched, bruised and sore but everything still attached.

After the notch we had a climb up Mahoosuc Arm. When we got to the summit we texted Emily (Prime and Grey). They are hikers Hazel met on the trail in the south. They flipped from Harper's Ferry to Katahdin and started hiking south. They had kept in contact via email and were taking a week off to explore Maine and New Hampshire. They wanted to take us out to dinner. We were soooo excited. We agreed to text when we were descending. We descended down to Speck Pond and then began to climb up Old Speck Mt. Hazel had a slip on the rock face and banged her knee, elbow, ribs and hip pretty good. I was a bit ahead but crash and red came to her rescue and took her pack so she could get up that stretch easier. She is ok but sore and a bit bloody. We made it to the summit and had a fantastic view of the valley below.

We texted Emily and began our descent down. 3.5 miles and it was loooooooong descent. The trail was nice and not too steep which made for a long way down. We arrived close to 7 and Prime and grey were waiting for us. They brought us Gatorade which we were so thankful for. We got into the car and headed to dinner. I was so grateful for their generosity and they told us about the trail ahead. They mentioned there will be a rope. Yes a rope to go over the edge. Dinner was great. I had steak and cheese sandwich, Hazel got pulled pork. We had a great time and they stopped at a gas station on the way back for us to get some snacks. We got back to Grafton Notch and set up our tents by some picnic tables on the path to the privy. It was gonna be a cold night. I looked at my watch as I was laying down and it was 10:56. 10:56!!!!!

September 2, 2016 - And there was rope!
Well I have never slept on a privy walkway before but last night was a first. Before you go ewwww it was well away from the privy.

I woke up and got up around 7:30 to a cloudy day. There were some day hikers who had slept in their car having breakfast at the picnic table as well as another 4 thru hikers who were also camped there. Hazel and I joined in for breakfast at the picnic tables and talked about the plan for the day. We decided it would be good to try and get into the hostel in Andover to shower and so Hazel could clean up her cut.

We started off about 8:30 and began the climb up Baldplate Mt. It was three miles up and the trail was nice. The last mile was steep and had lots of stone steps. We rested on the west peak and I called the hostel and made a reservation. We descended and then ascended Baldpate east peak. This peak was a treeless soil less dome. We rock scrambled up to the summit and it was a bit hairy at times but we made do. We descended down to Frye Notch lean-to and ate lunch. We had a small ascent and called the hostel to arrange a shuttle to get into town. The descent down was an easy 4 miles. We arrived at East Hill road with ten minutes to spare. The shuttle guy was called Sherlock who thru hiked in 2002. We got to the hostel and checked in, took showers and headed to the red hen diner for prime rib special. It was delicious and we wolfed it down in no time. We ran across the street to the general store for super expensive resupply. We headed back to the hostel to put in our laundry and to relax. We are taking the 9:30 shuttle back to the trail.

September 3, 2016 - The Fleas
I slept pretty good in the bunkhouse but for hostels this one was not high up on my list. Hazel was already up and inside the main house having hot chocolate. I joined her with a cup of coffee. We headed into town for breakfast at the red hen then went to the general store for some short term resupply. This town was crazy expensive on resupply items. We bought the bare minimum as we didn't want to spend a fortune. We headed back to the house and packed up and waited for the 10am shuttle.

We were back on trail the first climb of the day was a long but easy ascent up Wyman Mt. Half way up we passed surplus pond which was really pretty. We stopped at Hall Mt. lean-to which was on the summit of our next climb. We descended steeply down to sawyer notch and then immediately began the climb up Moody Mt which was an unforgiving trail. Straight up for .90 miles and 1600 feet in elevation gain. We rested on the top at a view point and climbed down the other side with the trail being gradual to the bottom. We found a really nice camp spot by the river and set up. There was even a new privy close by with a porch. While setting up Hazel was getting bite by little black insects and then I started to. We got out gear inside our tents and realized they were fleas. They were all over our netting and some were managing to get in our tent. Aaaaaahhhhh.

We decided to abort the campsite and Hazel ran over to another area to see if they were over there. No fleas but this spot had a huge wasps nest and lots of wasps flying around. We broke down the tents while being attacked by fleas and headed across the road hoping something would be on the other side. The other side of the road immediately went steeply up and nowhere to camp. I walked down the road a little bit and saw a campsite in the woods that is not supposed to be used but at this point we didn't have a choice. We set up in the dark and made dinner. I immediately fell asleep around 8.

September 4, 2016 - Another day on the trail
Woke up in the flea-less campsite around 6:30. I slept really good even though it got down into the 40's. I went and filtered water, took the bear bag down and the laundry line down. We made breakfast and got on trail around 7:30.


Our first climb of the day was up old blue mt. I played the soundtrack of Wicked for Hazel who had never heard it. The music gave us a nice break to the hike and we were on the summit in no time. We stopped for a snack and the view was wonderful. We followed the trail along the ridge line and summitted Bemis Mt and Bemis second peak. The trail was really nice today. We hiked with and leapfrogged old timer, red, crash and nacho. We descended down to a dirt road and camped near Bemis stream.

The weather today was just perfect for hiking. Hazel bumped her knee again and tore off the scab. We need to wrap it with heavy layering to keep it safe. We made dinner, hung the bear bag and I think by 7:45 I was drifting off to sleep. Dragon head and Ninja are about 61 miles ahead of us. They just recently left Stratton, Maine.

September 5, 2016 - An easy day on the trail
The trail has been so nice here in Maine. The stonework and effort is so appreciated. We got up and made breakfast at the campsite. We pushed off around 6:30. We wanted to make it to route 4 early.


We climbed the hill up to route 17 which offered a fantastic view of Mt Bemis and surrounding areas. We continued on the hill after crossing the street and the trail leveled out. The rest of the day would be gradual ups and gradual downs. We stopped at the sabbath day shelter and had a snack. I had called farmhouse inn yesterday to say we would be coming in. Kirk had told me when I got to Rangeley he would pay for my stay at the inn. They told me before I descended the hill to call them to set up a pick up from the trailhead.

We moved on from the shelter making great time and stopped for lunch at a campsite on a pond. It was such a nice scenic spot. We were able to fill up on water and carried on. I called the inn to let them know that we would be there at 3 to the trailhead. The girl at the inn said everyone was doing runs and that she would try and get us a ride but if no one was there by 3:30 to try and hitch. We continued on our way with a slow decent to the road. It was such a nice trail today and a nice walk. We arrived at route 4 and rested in the parking area. A couple pulled into the parking area and offered to take us into town. We said yes please and they drove us to the farmhouse inn. We checked in and got "The Nest" it had two beds and another bed area in the front room. It was just perfect.

We took showers, put our laundry in and washed our cook ware. We took the dinner shuttle into town and went to Parkside for dinner. After dinner we stopped and got an ice cream and then got dropped off at the grocery store for resupply. The grocery store had new hours starting tonight, they now close at 8. We waited outside until the shuttle came back and will get brought in the morning. We headed back to the farmhouse and settled in for the night.

(next 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.