The road less traveled…

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Sketch almost dies, Back Door saves her life…but not her hair.

When Kat and I finally got back to the trail, we only had about a week before Kat had to get to Portland, ME to fly back home. Her vacation was quickly coming to an end so we decided to take it easy and just hike day by day and see where we got. Ironically enough this was actually during a really difficult part of the trail where even seasoned thru-hikers can barely hike one mile per hour, so needless to say, it was slow going.

We hiked anywhere from 5-12 miles a day, set up camp, played a huge amount of Phase 10 (I’m still undefeated, much to Kat’s dismay), and just had fun hanging out together. It was good we were going slow because my water filter also decided to stop filtering. It would still filter a little bit….but VERY SLOWLY. And water was scarce during parts so it made it even more difficult trying to get anywhere very quickly. One day we waited for over an hour just to get 3 liters of water filtered. Not cool. We scrambled through Mahoosic Notch, which is a mile of trail that is packed with boulders that are the size of cars and houses. Many hikers have complained so much about this section of trail, but we found it most enjoyable. It was like a playground for adults, just crawling over everything and jumping around on big rocks. After that we tackled “the arm” which is simply a really really steep climb on practically smooth rock making it difficult to get a grip with your boots, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying either. At one point I was scrambling over a rock and almost slipped and Kat literally saved me from falling to a sever injury by grabbing the back of my pack, somehow pulling out a chunk of hair in the process and eventually laying on my back in a crevice with both of us laughing at the scary situation.

I’m sure you can tell there was some serious hiking/climbing in this section of the trail and any one thing could have gone wrong to completely end my journey. Thankfully I had Kat there to keep me in good spirits and save my life once or twice.
Eventually we got to a road outside of Bethel, ME (it was really like 30 miles away) and our original plan was to hike another couple of days and then Joe was going to pick us up and Kat was flying home the day afterwards. But when we got to this road after 5 days of intense hiking, I could tell that Kat was exhausted so I told her we could just go home. I knew where we were and could easily hitch back to Farmington. It did not take much convincing at all and we were filled with a sense of relief once the decision was made. The high chances of rain might have helped a little bit too. So we successfully hitched back, an adventure in itself with 3 different hitches and 3 very different kinds of people, and we enjoyed a fajita feast to celebrate our homecoming.

Our new plan was to just hang out on the lake for a couple of days before Kat had to go home. That plan did not happen. What did happen was the “Andover Bug”. The infamous sickness that so many hikers were complaining about getting at the part of the trail that we had just left finally caught up to us. I woke the next morning sick as ever and barely left the couch, the next day I felt 100% and Kat was the one on the couch. Ours was thankfully only a 24-hour bug, (other hikers were not so lucky), and again we were happy to be sick at home rather then sick in our tent on the trail, so we couldn’t really complain too much, it could have been much much much worse.

The next morning Joe and I took Kat to the airport and we said our farewells. I am truly blessed to have a friend like Kat who gave up the majority of her summer vacation to come wander around in the wilderness with me. It was a great chapter in my epic journey and I’m so happy that she is a part of my life. Kilimanjaro is totally on the bucket list for both of us in the future.

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September 4, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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