The road less traveled…

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100-mile Wilderness to Katahdin

So many people were worried about the 100-mile wilderness, but there was nothing to worry about. As far as difficulty, the trail in the 100-mile wilderness was really easy-going and enjoyable. However it is 100 miles of trail that has no civilization or opportunities to re-supply along the way. For some this means bringing 10-12 days of food, for me…more like 6-7.
I was actually on a pretty tight schedule to meet up with Joe on the other side of the wilderness, and because of the rain I was a little behind. Therefore, I booked it through the wilderness like a crazy person, doing it in 5 days. There were a couple of times that I ended up night-hiking and got to a shelter after dark, but otherwise it was easy terrain and I had no problems doing 25-30 miles a day. The scenery was awesome, but to tell you the truth it just made me think of my home on Parker Pond and made me want to hike faster so I could go home.

On the North side of the wilderness you come out on a road and have to cross a bridge and there’s an amazing view of Katahdin. Joe and I stayed at the Abol Bridge campground right there on the water and had the same view from our campsite, it was quite spectacular. I “slackpacked” another 10 miles to get back to the campground so that all I had to do the next day was summit.

It was really weird thinking that I only had one more day left of hiking, and then I was done. It felt surreal. Most of my fellow thru-hikers that I knew had already summitted in the previous week, so I was gonna climb Katahdin solo.

Katahdin (August 18):
I woke with the feeling that it was Christmas morning. I was so excited to finish my hike! It was a gorgeous clear day with hardly a cloud in the sky when I started up. I didn’t get going until 8:30 and it was a Saturday so I knew that I would run into a lot of weekenders/day-hikers, but nobody could rain on my parade! I felt like I was flying up the mountain, constantly passing people and climbing over the boulders like they were nothing.

About a mile from the summit is the “tableland” where you come over a ridge and it flattens out for quite a while and you can see the top of Katahdin. It was at this point that the reality of my journey ending suddenly hit me. I think I might have stopped walking for a while, and of course I started crying. So I suddenly became the hiker that was passing everyone and wiping tears from my eyes at the same time.

It was actually very anti-climactic reaching the top of Katahdin. I got to the sign and just sat down, watching all of the people around me. My eyes were still leaking and the emotional chaos I was experiencing is honestly too difficult to describe. It was overwhelming. I took out my celebratory summit beer, popped it open, and started taking my summit pictures that I had been dreaming about for 5 months now. I spent about an hour on the summit, soaking in the fantastic view and reflecting on the crazy path I took to get there. A past thru-hiker was on the summit and congratulated me, I guess he could obviously tell I just finished my hike, maybe it was the beer…or the tears. And then I decided it was time to go home. I flew down the mountain just as fast as I climbed up it. Even after sitting on top for an hour, I still passed people on the way down that I had also passed climbing to the top, they were still trying to get to the top. I got to the parking area, celebrated with Joe over another beer, and then we drove home.

I hope that over the last few months you have enjoyed these glimpses into my journey from Georgia to Maine. I’ve met people and experienced things that have changed my life. I’ve seen complete strangers show me their sincere kindness and it has restored my faith in humanity. I can’t begin to explain the things I’ve learned or how I’ve grown while I was out in the wilderness. I’ve spoken to other hikers about this and we’ve talked about how challenging it will be when we go home, trying to describe our experiences, and not being able to do so. I believe it is something that I will always share with those I met on the trail, whether it was for a short or long period of time. It’s a completely different culture of people who can thru-hike the A.T., and I am proud to be a part of that family, even if some of them are a little on the crazy side, myself included. Thank you all for your support and prayers.
-Sketch

“True commitment begins when you reach the point of not knowing how you can possibly go on, but decide to do so anyway.” -unknown

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September 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rain = Wet EVERYTHING!

It started in the Bigelows, and it didn’t stop for days. There was so much water on the trail, there was nothing else to do except stomp through it. There was a certain level of fun splashing through the puddles, but after being soaked for hours and hours, the fun quickly wore off. I had to cross streams that went up to my waist, and balance on wooden planks that were no longer touching the ground but just floating in a large amount of water. After hiking for 20 miles one day I was just hoping to get into a dry shelter, but once I got there it was packed full of boy scouts and there were so many people tenting already, so I joined them, and I crawled into my wet sleeping bag in my wet clothes.

I’ve always told people that I don’t really make plans on the trail because they always end up changing, and here is a perfect example. My “Plan” was to keep hiking until I got to Monson, ME where I would take a day to get ready for the 100-mile wilderness. However, I was miserably wet and needed a day to dry out my gear so I decided to stop over in Caratunk in the morning.

So the next day I hiked about 4 miles to the Kennebec River and waited for the ferry service (a guy in a canoe) to bring me across as the Kennebec is too dangerous for hikers to ford. Once across I was basically in Caratunk, ME…which literally consists of a Post Office and a couple of different lodging places. The only reason that there are a few lodging places is because a little farther north is a rafting business.

I luckily managed to grab the last room at a B&B type place called the Sterling Inn. I ran into a couple of hikers there that I had not seen since Pennsylvania and we had a relaxing afternoon spent in front of the T.V. while putting together a puzzle. It was a time when I most needed a place to stay and recuperate from the storms of the last few days. It felt great to be dry and warm!

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September 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My ‘ol stomping grounds…

I’ve been living in Maine for about 2 years now and I’ve done a lot of hiking in the area. It was fun to be back in the Mountains that I recognized and the section of trail that I’ve already hiked. So I quickly zoomed through Saddleback, Sugarloaf, North and South Crocker Mountains, and tackled the Bigelow Range. The Bigelows were pretty much the last major challenge before reaching Katahdin as the trail really started to level out and go around ponds and through bogs. Enjoy the photos:

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September 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Few Pictures

Here are a few pictures that missed the previous post: Sketch almost dies, Back Door saves her life…but not her hair.

Minutes after Back Door saved my life and tore out some hair…happy to be alive!

More interesting sections of the trail.

Reaching the state line of the final state in my journey, MAINE!

September 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sketch and another Emergency

When Kat left and I got back to the trail, there was a sense of loneliness that came over me. I was so used to hiking with Kat for so long that it was weird being on my own again. Even when I was in the Whites I was hiking with other people, but everyone else I had ever hiked with was way further on the trail since I had taken so many shorter/slower days.
My first day back proved to be difficult as I got stung by a yellow jacket. Nothing happened except my leg obviously hurt where I was stung, and I took a Benadryl right away. Later that evening after I had set up camp and was eating dinner, I noticed that I was getting a rash. After I finished dinner I started itching other places too. My back, my thighs, my stomach…I started checking and my entire body was starting to turn red and splotchy. I was having some sort of delayed reaction to the sting and was starting to freak out. I ended up taking more Benadryl and called my stepmom for advice. She kept calling every 2 hours to check on me, but bottom line was if it kept getting worse I would need to night hike to a road and try to get to an emergency room.

Now remember I am in the middle of the Maine wilderness, so not an easy thing to do. Also, I’m in the part of Maine that has a bunch of little small towns so the nearest E.R. was still a good hour away from any road I would come upon. It was indeed a scary situation. I was just happy that I had cell reception so I could contact anybody at all. I made a mud pack to put on the part that I was stung and waited until I could take more Benadryl. Obviously I finally fell asleep since I was poppin’ Benadryls left and right, but my stepmom called and checked on me and thank God the rash stopped spreading and by the morning it was all gone except where I was originally stung. Quite the way to get back on the trail…

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a comment

Parker Pond Pig Roast – July 21ish

The weekend of the Pig Roast and the days following were fantastic. I was able to see family and friends, have good food, relax in the sunshine, and not hike a single mile! A couple of other thru-hikers were able to come hang out for a bit, a large group of us went “tubing” down the Sandy River one day, and we had a great “Girls Night” out in Augusta before I eventually made it back to the trail.

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September 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AMC Lodges, the good, the bad, and the free food for thru-hikers.

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) lodges are located throughout the Whites for people to stay in. They cost approximately $100/night/person and include dinner and breakfast. This is obviously out of most thru-hikers budgets, but they do cater to us in other ways. All of their leftovers need to be packed out at the end of the week, so when thru-hikers stop in during the day they are sometimes lucky enough to get whatever was not eaten the night before, therefore making it less food that the “AMC crew” needs to pack out. At Galehead Hut I arrived around lunchtime with some other thru-hikers and they gave us some leftover teriyaki chicken and bread. Some other day hikers also gave us some tootsie pops as trail magic. The lodges also offer work-for-stay for thru-hikers. This is sometimes very competitive as most lodges only have 2 slots available and you have to arrive around the right time of day to get one of the slots before they are either filled or the crew turns you away because it is too early. Blue Fox and I tried to get to Zealand Falls Hut to do a work-for-stay, but we knew it was going to be close. When we arrived there was only one slot available and we knew that there were 2 more thru-hikers behind us. However the AMC crew was really generous and let all 5 of us do work-for-stay. My “work” consisted of hanging outside after dinner and talking to all of the guests about my thru-hike. It was basically a little Q&A session. Other chores are doing the dishes, cleaning out bunk rooms, cleaning the kitchen, helping put food away, or whatever task needs done around the hut. It is usually pretty simply work, they know that we have been hiking all day and are usually exhausted.

A bonus of staying at the hut is that once the guests are done with dinner, we get to eat with the crew and have whatever leftovers there are. GOOD home cooked meals are definitely worth waiting for. After eating and doing the chores we just had to wait until 9:30 lights out and we could spread our sleeping mats in the common room and have a nice place indoors to sleep. We were also welcome to stay and help with breakfast in the morning and get any leftovers from another meal, but I never ended up doing this as I liked to get going fairly early and staying would mean not hiking until around 10 a.m. That was just too late of a start for me.

I only ended up doing work-for-stay at 2 of the huts. Zealand Falls Hut and the Lake of the Clouds Hut. The Lake of the Clouds Hut is located very near the top of Mt. Washington so it was the busiest hut with the most people. I was able to get to the top of Mt. Washington fairly early with some other hikers and hang out at the visitors center watching the Cog Trains come up the mountain and all the tourists coming and going. The clouds parted enough while I was there to see the fantastic view and continued clearing off and on throughout the day.

Weather is known to change quickly and drastically in the Whites and it definitely happened to me as I got to Mt. Madison. Suddenly I was hiking in a rain cloud on slippery rocks and trying to see one cairn (rock piles to show where the trail goes above treeline) and then the next cairn so that I wouldn’t lose the trial. It was a low point of my day. When I got to Madison Hut for a break, the crew gave me and 3 other hikers a chocolate cake that they couldn’t serve the guests and we all ate more then a normal serving of cake should be. Quite the healthy snack break if I do say so myself.

So far in the Whites I was blessed with more then decent weather, but that came to an end as I left Pinkham Notch and started climbing the Wildcat Range. It poured rain the entire day. It was slippery and scary and more then once I had moments where I could have been seriously injured. But I kept on trekking, one foot after another, I had a Pig Roast I had to get to. Sometimes I wonder where I got the mental strength to get through the days that completely left me drained and miserable, but I kept going. Because of the crappy weather and the terrain I gave up hope on trying to find a good stealth site to pitch my tent, so I headed to the shelter for the night and decided to just pay the $8 fee that I had been avoiding. It was great getting out of the rain and there was only one other hiker there, who was a girl. Girls night in a shelter, that was a first. 😉 Usually there’s a ridiculous amount of testosterone, it was a nice reprieve. An added bonus was the caretaker had thru-hiked in the past and was really easy-going so he only wrote us down as 1 hiker, meaning I only paid $4 for the entirety of the Whites. I was pretty impressed with that.

By the next morning after hiking a few miles, the bottomless pit of mental energy that I thought I had, was completely gone. The strain of getting through the Whites on such a quick timetable had finally caught up with me and I knew that I had to change my plans. So instead of hiking another couple of days at an insane pace hoping to get where I needed to be, I stopped at the next highway which was my last chance to get off the trail for a while, and headed to Gorham, NH.
I made a few calls and one of my bestest friends from Maine drove 2 hours to come get me and bring me home. I surprised Joe by being home a couple days earlier then planned and then we went out to my favorite restaurant, met up with some other friends and had a fantastic reunion. My mental happiness was quickly returning! Normally when people hike through the Whites they do slower days, 8-13 miles a day. I was hiking anywhere from 14-19 miles a day, which explains why I almost had a serious mental breakdown. The Pig Roast was only a couple days away and I was happy to take those 2 days to relax before the craziness began. Here comes my next vacation from the trail!

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August 31, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goodbye Kat, hello to the Whites.

Kat decided that the Whites were something she didn’t really care to hike at this point, especially after the last 911 situation. So while I geared up for a fast hike through one of the most difficult parts of the A.T., Kat headed off to Dover, NH to stay with a friend and do some other hiking/rock-climbing activities that were better suited to her liking.

 
The reason I had to get through the Whites fairly quickly was because I needed to get as close to Maine as possible for the Parker Pond Pig Roast that is held every summer at my home in Maine. It was simply an event that I refused to miss.

 
The first major climb of the Whites is Mt. Moosilauke, 4,802 ft in elevation. It was a gorgeous day with amazing views and a great jump-start in the Whites. The descent on the other side was a little more challenging then usual and was indeed a good glimpse at what I would be seeing the rest of the week. Steep rock with steps built into the sides or ladders to negotiate my way through the trail…it’s going to be interesting.

The first hint that the Whites might me a little bit challenging…

The “trail”

More of the “trail”

Blue Fox and Sketch, on top of some mountain…

Sketch – Somewhere on top of Mt Moosilauke

More Mt Moosilauke

Sketch, Inchworm, Scout, and another stranger taking a break on top of Mt Mousilauke

Summit of Mt. Moosilauke

One day I realized that I actually didn’t have enough food to get through the Whites and I needed to head into Lincoln, NH to get some supplies before I headed on. Blue Fox asked to be my “town buddy”. Basically he was using me to get a hitch to town since its easier getting a hitch since I’m a girl. But I was okay being used. He did help me search for Kat. Sadly, hitching with Blue Fox was the one and only time that I failed to get a hitch. It was extremely disappointing. We actually had to go to the nearby visitors center and call a shuttle. It was only $5/person for the shuttle, but still, it broke my perfect record. And to this day I will always blame Blue Fox. 😉

 

 
We did the basic re-supply and were just chilling at an ice cream shop relaxing in town and I was chatting to a bunch of people in the little shop while Blue Fox was on the phone with his mom. There was a family sitting next to us who were fascinated with us hiking the whole A.T. and were asking me the usual million and two questions, but I was okay with it, I was in a great mood and had just devoured a huge brownie sundea, so bring on the questions. The family eventually left and we were getting ready to leave as well when the 2 girls in the family came over to our table and said they wanted to help us with the rest of our trip and handed me a $100 bill. Blue Fox and I were both visibly shocked with our mouths hanging open. We walked outside and thanked the rest of the family profusely! Precious trail magic that was so unexpected and wonderful. People are awesome. We were especially thankful for the extra cash because in the Whites the shelters/campsites cost money for thru-hikers to stay in. The only way we could stay somewhere without paying is by stealth-camping somewhere or getting a work-for-stay in one of the AMC lodges along the way, which is sometimes difficult. So it is a little stressful trying to plan your trip through the Whites, especially on a tight budget.

The great ice cream stop in Lincoln, NH

Blue Fox and I finally got back out on the trail and hiked up to the Franconia Ridge. We found an amazing stealth site that was just barely below treeline and were able to watch an amazing sunrise the next morning. Being so close to the treeline, our morning begin with hiking along the Ridge with amazing views all around. It was truly one of my favorite mornings and we took our time hiking, soaking it all in.

View from the ridge where Blue Fox and I stealth camped

Our stealth Site

Blue Fox, moving a sign that said we couldn’t camp there, we had no other options. Don’t tell on us.

Sunrise from the ridge where we camped

Morning hike on Franconia Ridge

Blue Fox, Franconia Ridge

View of Franconia Ridgeline

 

 

 

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

911. To call or not to call… – July 10ish

This story is one best told by Kat, as she is the one that truly experienced the difficulties of the day. However I will share with you my side of the story so you can have a small insight into my emotional roller-coaster of the day.

The day began simple enough, even had some trail magic ice cream in the morning. Our plan was to make it as far as we could that day, and Kat was going to Blue-blaze up the big mountain, meaning she was going to take the shorter easier trail instead of the A.T. I told her that I would wait for her on top of the mountain, which had a fire wardens cabin and fire tower. When I got to the top of the mountain, I knew that I would probably be waiting for Kat for at least an hour or two because I am faster than her at climbing. So I had some lunch with other hikers who were there and once they left I decided I was going to lay out my sleeping mat and take a little siesta.

When I woke, Kat had still not arrived. I was not yet worried at this point because I figured she stopped somewhere and had lunch halfway up the mountain. So I finally motivated myself to filter some water, which was a really long walk away and required scooping little by little out of tiny puddles. Lets just say it wasn’t the best water source on the trail, but I figured Kat would need some by the time she got there. Another hour passed, and then another. I kept asking all the NOBO hikers if they had seen her, and they hadn’t, so I figured she was still on the blue-blazed trail. And then I started thinking that maybe she completely passed by the cabin while I was sleeping. But when I asked the SOBOs (southbounders) if they had seen her, they hadn’t. It got to the point that every time I heard someone walking up the trail I jumped up to see if it was Kat. This is how I met Blue Fox.

I explained to Blue Fox what was going on and told him I was at the point of worrying. He offered to hike back to the blue trail with me and see if we could find her, thinking that maybe she fell and hurt herself on this random trail that not many people use daily. We ran into another hiker on the way down and he joined us on our search and rescue mission as well. We walked all the way back down the mountain on this blue-blazed trail and found nothing. Blue Fox and I turned around and took the blue trail back up while the other hiker, Inchworm, circled back and took the A.T. back up, just to make sure we didn’t miss her.

At this point of the day I am completely freaked out and seconds away from tears. I have lost my friend. And it made no sense as to where she could be. When we got back to the top of the mountain, walking an additional 9 miles in less then 3 hours, Blue Fox and I grabbed our cell phones and climbed the fire tower, hoping to get some sort of signal from up there. If we weren’t able to reach her by phone, then ultimately we would need to report her missing. And if we weren’t able to get any signal we were going to grab our gear and hike down the mountain in the dark to get help. Signal was going in and out on our phones and we were not able to get a call to go thru. There was another hiker up there and he started trying with his phone as well. So three of us have our cell phones and are continuously hitting redial for about 20-30 minutes when finally one of them got the beautiful sounds of a phone dialing, and Kat answered!!

She’s ALIVE! Those were my first thoughts. The first words out of my mouth however were “WHERE ARE YOU”?!! She had just reached a campsite area farther north on the trail and was safe and sound, so before I lost cell signal I told her not to move a muscle and I would get to her the following day. The relief I felt was overpowering. I was so emotionally/physically drained from the events of the day that I was hardly able to eat before I fell into an exhausted sleep.

The next day I quickly hiked the 12 miles north on the A.T. to get to Kat, and this is when I heard her side of the story, which is so crazy, long and complicated that I will try to simplify it the best I can. If Kat wants to add any comments, she can.

KAT’s STORY:
So apparently Kat did take the blue-blaze trail, but it was poorly marked so she did a lot of backtracking to make sure that she was indeed on the right trail still. She made it at least halfway on the trail when the blazes completely stopped and she was not feeling comfortable. So she turned around and went back to the road where the A.T. and this blue-blazed trail started to climb the mountain. At this point she was most likely a couple of hours behind me and did not count on me waiting for her at the top of the mountain, (even though I told her I would) so she decided to just meet me at the campsite that we were planning on staying at that evening. I had given her my map so she used that to figure out how to yellow-blaze around the mountain. Yellow-blazing is taking the roads.
So she had this map and followed this road, pretty sure it was called Dorchester road. 😉 Basically she was going to keep walking this road, maybe hitch a little, and get to a spot where she could just hike a couple miles south to meet up with me. This whole plan was based on getting a message to me, which she did manage to finally send from her phone at one point, but my phone was getting a typical ‘fire tower’ signal, meaning it wasn’t getting anything at all.
Some people in a truck said she was going the right way, and then she came to a dead end. So she started walking up to all these houses, with really long driveways, to ask for directions. Most of these houses were empty summer houses, until she finally found one with vehicles parked outside. She knocked on the door and dealt with, hmm, I don’t really know the right adjectives to describe the people she spoke with. But one of them was making a bacon sandwich, and one of them was practically passed out on the couch, but apparently looked like Zac Effron, so that was a bonus. It was obvious that they were recuperating from a rough evening of drinking and were not going to offer Kat a ride anywhere.

One of them took a look at her map and talked her through where she needed to go, which involved taking the road that was “closed” and walking on that for a while, and going over a fence, and through the woods to Grandmothers house…. So she left and followed his directions. At this point in her journey she still had not had signal on her phone to send a message to me, so she kept checking her phone for signal and kept walking. Miraculously hours later she found signal and was able to send a message, which turned out being useless to me as I didn’t receive it for another 3-4 days.
Now remember that during all of this I am on a search and rescue mission on a mountain that Kat isn’t remotely close to anymore, completely freaking out and thinking that my friend is dead.

So Kat is standing there, with signal on her phone, realizing that she is never going to make it to the campsite she needs to be at, not even sure where she is, so she calls 911. Eventually after patching her through to Forest Parks & Service she is able to describe how she got to where she was standing and the Park Ranger said he would be there in an hour to get her. Turns out she was on a HUGE chunk of private property that is completely void of any houses or people and she would have been walking for a VERY long time to get to the road she needed to get to.

So this Park Ranger guy took her to a convenience store so she could get some water and then dropped her off at the A.T. trailhead that was farthur north. All she had to do was hike 2 miles to the campsite and this is when I called her from the fire tower and she told me where she was. Alive and well, and no longer walking on this so-called Dorchester rd. THE END.

This is a VERY simplified version of the story, trust me, the full version could possibly be made into a novel. But truthfully it was my WORST day on the trail because I was completely sick with worry. Thankfully everything worked out and I’m so happy Kat would never hesitate to call 911, (not her first time needing to do so, but thats another story). Our reunion was bittersweet and I refused to let her out of my sight again while we were hiking. I’m so thankful for Blue Fox and Inchworm for helping me on Smarts Mountain. Not only with the searching and hiking an additional 9 miles that day, but also for the emotional support and helping me to stay calm when on the inside I was a basket case. So on a good note, I gained some great friends through the experience.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment