The End Game

114.4 miles. Eight days. Enough toothpaste, toilet paper, fuel, and peanut butter to get us to Katahdin. Probably very little cell service, though, so this is likely our last post from the field.

While we had begun to feel that we were in the final stages upon entering Maine, our arrival in the town of Monson brings us to the true End Game. The whole hike has required a good bit of generalized planning–gear, dog issues, unemployment–but once we started, we spent the bulk of our time focused on logistics for seemingly tiny components. “Getting to Hanover in four days requires hiking 16.7, 18.9, 18.1, and 10.2 miles. We must carry three breakfasts, four lunches, three dinners.” We have about forty of those little plans, building blocks of the hike.

At each town we passed through, another block was revised and fine tuned. The ultimate goal, a lovely day hike up Katahdin, was always in the back of our minds but rarely a primary focus. No longer. There are no more towns to work back from.

We’re heading into the 100-Mile Wilderness, a stretch of trail with minimal road access and no nearby towns to speak of. When we emerge, we will be at the southern end of Baxter State Park. From there, it’s a short day’s hike to the base of Katahdin. Assuming everything has gone to plan (which it rarely does, but we’re optimistic this time), we’ll meet my mom the next morning, sally forth up the mountain, and return to civilization. No sweat.

Enough of that–on to the photos!

Horn Pond with the Bigelows behind.

A gray day on West Carry Pond.


I believe this is East Carry Pond. Also the location from which “The Simpsons” found their opening credits cloud inspiration.

Although the trail in Maine is renowned for ruggedness, not all of it is rocky and root-covered.

Tired dog + strategy session.

Willett found an alternative to this bridge…

Crossing the Kennebec requires taking a ferry (also known as a red canoe). Fording can be dangerous so the official AT route is to have the ferryman paddle you across.

The only part of the trail requiring a waiver.

The blaze makes it official.

Flying squirrel!

Could you imagine a happier sight?

There’s a rope to help you cross this pile of sticks…

It’s an emergency!!!



After five months of Snickers Bars and couscous, eating all the meat and vegetables I can get my hands on...
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5 Responses to The End Game

  1. Battleax says:

    To do some of the miles you do, oh to be young again. Great job guys.

    semper fi


  2. Texas says:

    It’s with sadness that I read this last trail entry, but I’m so happy that your thruhike was successful. Kudos to you both for your strength, determination, and careful planning. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Alison says:

    Good luck on Katahdin! Hope the weather holds up for a gorgeous & memorable final chapter.

  4. Kassi says:

    Wait, how did Willet cross that bridge??

  5. Jamie says:

    Go Willet Go!! Great job! I loved reading this. Gives me inspiration to wish I could it!

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