MAINE!

Yes, the title says it all. We have reached Maine. For the last four and a half months we have been sustaining our quest with the daily refrain “Gotta get to Maine.” Crossing the final border was a truly charged and joyous moment. For a couple days the glow remained, heightened by glorious weather and outstanding scenery. We then realized that our mantra had been inadequate. There are about two hundred eighty miles of rugged trail in the final state, which means we still have several weeks of hiking remaining before we reach the end of our adventure. To bolster our resolve, we now say to each other what was previously implied: “Gotta get to Katahdin.”

As we close in on the ultimate peak, we are beginning to experience a strong yearning for the end. Many of our fellow hikers have expressed similar sentiments, although there is a sensation of impending loss as well. Completion of the trail is the obvious intent of everyone who starts a thruhike, but the destination marks the end of a once in a lifetime experience, nostalgia for which we are already beginning to feel.

This post comes from Kingfield, ME, where we have been generously escorted and indulged by Anne’s parents. They also facilitated a happy reunion with Willett, who will now rejoin the hiking party for the final leg (of course, with the sad exception of Katahdin itself, where dogs are forbidden.) We are immensely grateful to David for caring for Willett for the last few weeks. Although we missed our loyal sidekick, we agree that the traverse of the Whites and southern Maine would have been much more challenging and potentially perilous had he been along.

And now, without further ado, please enjoy this photographic evidence of our arrival in Vacationland:


Our highfive at the border was so epic that it didn’t fit in one photograph, so we had to splice two together to capture the moment 😉


Maine greeted us immediately with some very challenging terrain. The trail clubs here have done an amazing job providing ladders and other assists for difficult sections.


The vistas were as rewarding as the mountains were tough.


Mahoosuc Notch is notoriously the slowest mile on the AT. It is kind of the gatekeeper of Maine, and is described accurately by our guidebook as a “jumbled pit of boulders”.


Sheer cliffs line the narrow passage. As soon as we entered the notch, the temperature dropped at least ten degrees, as the sun barely reaches the bottom for much of the day. Ice was still unmelted from winter in the crevasses of some boulders.


It took us over ninety minutes to navigate the 1.3 miles, which required us at some points to remove our packs and push them ahead through narrow crawlways underneath towering rocks.


Subsequent days brought us over several magnificent peaks, such as Baldpate. This shot is from the south peak as we walk towards a smooth, rocky saddle before ascending the north peak.


Anne almost at the summit of North Baldpate. I think this might be my favorite mountain on the whole trip thus far. The exposed ridge is incredible and the trail maintainers have built an unbelievable set of stone steps to help in the ascent from the south. We took a panoramic photo from near the top that we will try to get online soon, along with some others.


The next couple days brought us to the popular Saddleback Mountain. This shot is from the long ascent over windswept grasses above treeline.


The view looking back on Saddleback from “The Horn.” Unfortunately, hot, hazy weather obstructed our views starting on this day. We hear there is a heat wave in much of the country. We are counting our blessings for the northern latitude!

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About real.pretty.food

After five months of Snickers Bars and couscous, eating all the meat and vegetables I can get my hands on...
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4 Responses to MAINE!

  1. lynne says:

    i’m enjoying your story. i used to camp and backpack with my german sheppard up on skyline drive years ago. reading your blog has brought back some great memories. thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. Kimber & Chuck says:

    Anne & Travis,
    Congratulations on your arrival in Maine!! Ever since seeing your link on CNN, we’ve been following your blog as thru-hikers. We just returned from a visit to Acadia National Park and the beautiful state of Maine. Last year we hiked Katahdin and were so pleased with the summit and awesome views. There were a number of thru-hikers finishing their journey that day and it was inspiring to witness them at the summit. We wish you the best on completing your journey. It may soon be over, however the adventure and experience will never leave you…
    Best Regards,
    Kimber & Chuck
    New York

  3. Kassi says:

    A&T You’ve made it! Well, almost… HOORAY! So excited for you two to come back so I can make fun of your farmer tans 🙂

  4. Jean says:

    What a wonderful journey you’ve been on. Thanks for sharing. I’ve enjoyed reading about it. Thru hiking the AT is something that I’ve always dreamed about.

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