Twig Adventures

AT Day 7: SOBO Friends

Saturday July 31st, 2021, 0900-1640Rt 15 to Bald Mtn Pond Leanto, SOBO AT mm 132.418 miles2631 gain, 2621 loss I got a little chilly overnight and had to stay bundled in all my clothes through breakfast. It was the coldest it’s been yet. I opted for Shaw’s famous AYCE pancakes, which also come with home fries, eggs and bacon but just one plate of the latter. It was A LOT of food and I gulped it all down like a pro. Hiker hunger may be starting to kick in already or maybe it’s just stomach memory. I bought a few snack items in the store, which had a pretty amazing selection of all the typical things hikers like. It’s probably[…]

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AT Day 6: Monson

Friday July 30th, 2021, 0600-1200 Vaughn Stream to Rt 15, then ride to Monson, SOBO AT mm 114.5 13.7 miles 3576 gain, loss 2982 Steady would be the name given to the rain, all night long. The sound of it put me to sleep early but I woke around 1 am, wondering if my fortress was holding. It was not. Nothing more fun than finding puddles in the middle of the night. Because I was slightly on an incline, my pad had slipped down, pressing on my bathtub floor and allowing water from my canopy to drain into the floor. I just needed to mop up the water and make some adjustments but it took awhile. My rain jacket was[…]

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AT Day 5: The First 100

Thursday July 29th, 2021, 0600-1700 Gulf Hagas Brook to Vaughn Stream, SOBO AT mm 100.8 20.5 miles 5095 gain, 5870 loss What a pud-alicious day it was! The Chairbacks did not disappoint in their pud-ishment. But first I got to enjoy a leisurely hike down into a pretty valley, where I forded the Pleasant River. It did not please me to get wet shoes (which have been dry since the the first 2 days) so I changed into my camp shoes. My bungee laces make shoe changes quick and efficient. The ford was also easy. Then came the first of many climbs, this being the biggest to get out of the valley. One small spell involved a talus field of[…]

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AT Day 4: Hump Day

Wednesday July 28th, 2021, 0540-1910 Antlers campsite to Gulf Hagas Brook, SOBO AT mm 79.8 28.6 miles 6037 gain, loss 5180 I called this hump day because it’s a Wednesday but also because I would be more than halfway done with the 100mw by the end of the day. And boy howdy did I exceed that, going much further than planned for my longest day yet on this trail. To start things off, I visited the privy. It was labeled as ‘Fort Relief’ and had 2 seats side by side. I guess if you want to poop next to a friend or significant other, this is the place. Kind of odd. Then I hit the trail for one of the[…]

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AT Day 3: Streams & Lakes

Tuesday July 27th, 2021, 0600-1650 Rainbow Lake Dam to Antlers Campsite, SOBO AT mm 51.7 23.7 miles 3140 gain, loss 3700 The bullfrogs sang all night, chanting me to sleep. It was so peaceful and quiet. There was surprisingly little condensation in the morning, a big plus considering my proximity to the lake. Then the most amazing thing happened…the sun rose right behind Katahdin, making it appear as though it was a volcano erupting. I’ve seen a lot of mountains and sunset\sunrises but this had to be in my top ten best of all time. I even woke up the 2 other ladies because I didn’t think they would want to miss it. It was at 5:30 am. So I[…]

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AT Day 2: Rainbows

Monday July 26th, 2021, 0530-1600 Katahdin Stream Campground to Rainbow Lake Dam, SOBO AT mm 28.2 23 miles 2726 gain, loss 2726 It was a very restful night, thank goodness. I heard Avery packing and out the gate by 1 am, but the event barely registered. The sound of Katahdin Stream and my weariness from the big climb ensured that I was out most of the night. This time of year and this far north, it starts getting light around 4:30 am. I usually wake with the light so I was on the trail by 5:30 am…earlier than planned but it felt good to get such a head start on the day. Even my fully loaded pack didn’t feel too[…]

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AT Day 1: The Greatest Mountain

Sunday July 25th, 2021, 0730-1300 Katahdin Stream Campground north to Katahdin Summit, back down, SOBO AT mm 5.3 10.6 miles 4226 gain, 4226 loss I slept horribly all night. I was just so anxious about all the little things of no importance, worried about the hike and bad weather forecast. I just laid awake for hours. The more I tell myself that I need the sleep for a big performance, the more it evades me. Finally 5 am rolled around and I had an excuse to get up. I knew everything would be fine once I was on the trail. Old Man (his trailname), who owns and operates the AT Lodge, was up bright and early to shuttle us to[…]

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AT Day 0: Hello Again Maine!

Phase 1 of my AT journey was getting from one of the most southern locations in the US to one of the most remote of northern locations…all in only one day! This involved a direct flight from Miami to Bangor, a commuter bus ride from Bangor to Medway, and finally a shuttle to the AT Lodge in Millinocket, ME. The Lodge offers a great SOBO special, which includes the shuttle from Medway, 1 night in a bunk room, and a shuttle to Katahdin Stream Campground Ranger Station early the next morning. If a hiker opts for a second night (wise time spent acclimating), the staff will even help with a pack evaluation and shake-down. Millinocket is the closest town to[…]

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Southbound on the AT…the right way

Everyone knows that a long-distance trail is one-directional, from north to south, right? WRONG! Where and when this concept took root, I can’t say. I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve been informed by well-meaning northbounders (NOBOs) that I was hiking the ‘wrong way’ or ‘backwards’.  That’s all fine with me, as I’ve always had a penchant for being different and ‘going against the grain.’ Besides, southbounding the 3 Triple Crown trails has many advantages, namely fewer crowds and less competition for trail town resources. SOBOs also just rock. I didn’t start out going the wrong way on my first 2 trails, the Colorado Trail and Te Araroa. Both have some valid reasons for having a ‘more easier’[…]

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The Backwards Triple Crown

First, let’s get the “What’s the Triple Crown of Hiking?” question out of the way. Borrowed from the horse racing world, this Triple Crown is an informal recognition of those that have hiked all 3 of the longest American trails end-to-end. The 3 trails are the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), and the Appalachian Trail (AT). According to the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s 2020 records (ALDHA-West), a total of 482 Triple Crown of Hiking Award recipients have so far been recognized. That means more people have been to space than have hiked all 3 of these trails! Chew on that Jeff Bezos! Money can buy just about anything but it takes some real blood, sweat,[…]

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