|Rain and mist on Kathadin|
I took the hostel shuttle to Baxter State Park, pitched my tent and met the first Northbounders on their last day. It was a funny coincidence that they were friends of Skittles - a fellow Triple Crowner who had told me about them and asked me to give them his greetings in case I ran into them. Although they were quite happy to see me (and hear about Skittles) they were exhausted and wanted their hike to be over with. That was a feeling I have never had at the end of a thruhike. On the contrary: I have always been sad that the hike is over now. Baxter State Park also has an interesting policy for thruhikers: People starting their thruhike have to make an official reservation for their campsite and also pay for it whereas hikers finishing their thruhike can stay for free and without reservation in a specific thruhiker shelter hidden in the woods. I guess there is very little abuse of this policy as rangers can easily tell the dirty, smelly UL thruhikers from the squeaky clean day hikers.
|The official start photo|
I summited Kathadin in a rain/snow storm. Nobody had warned me that this was more a climb than a hike. I knew it was going to be difficult, but I didn't know how difficult. Most of the time I was sitting on my butt trying to come down some vertical rock slabs. I was already thinking of turning back, but I finally made it to the top where I even found somebody to take my photo! Back down at Kathadin Stream Campground the sun was shining... and I was starting to wonder if the trail would always be difficult like this.
I asked a ranger would they do in case of a medical emergency in this difficult terrain. "Well," she said. "we used to helicopter people out to the next hospital. But now that we are fighting a war there are no more helicopters available. I guess we now have to carry out people on a stretcher...." How this is going to work in terrain where even hiking with just a daypack is a problem she did not elaborate on.
|100 Mile Wilderness|
Right now I am in Monson, ME. The place is so small that they don't have a decent store - and I have to do resupply for one week. Which also means that I will be outside civilisation for a week and there will be no further posts... Hopefully, this will soon become a hiking trail again! I am fed up with climbing...