Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Storm (Moe) has completed his Appalachian Trail thru-hike. He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 6, 2016 at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished on September 21, 2016. Along the way he kept a journal, which we are putting up in parts. Here’s a look back at his hike from the Kennebec River in Maine through the 100 Mile Wilderness up to Abol Bridge just before Baxter State Park and Mount Kathadin. To see all of his journals, click here.
September 12, 2016 – A picture perfect day
I woke up at 3 am to the sound of Hazel getting back into her tent. Is it time to go I asked her. Not yet she said. I fell back asleep and woke up around 7 and it was freezing. We did not want to move. It was the coldest morning since Georgia. We made hot cocoa and ate breakfast. We walked down to Pleasant Pond to filter water and enjoyed the morning sun on the pond. It was pretty magical.
We packed up and got underway at about 8. Our first climb of the day was Pleasant Pond Mountain. It was about a 1000 foot climb and it’s been a few days since we climbed like that. The climb got right to the point and we were on the summit in no time. The way down was long and steep and it took a bit to get down. We crossed over the south end of moxie pond and stopped at a shelter for lunch. After lunch we had another 1000 foot climb up Moxie bald which had fantastic 360 views on top. The descent was fairly easy and a good trail.
We made it to Moxie Bald shelter and decided to push on another 2 miles. We found a nice campsite near a stream and set up shop. The moon was rising as we ate our dinners and it could not have been more perfect. This would be our last night just Hazel and I as my brother in law will be up tomorrow to join us in the last 115 miles of the journey. It will be nice to be three.
September 13, 2016 – Pre-100 Mile Wilderness prep
Woke up at 5am and got our food bags down. Hazel asked are you making breakfast it’s 3am. I said its 5 and she was like oh ok I’ll get up. We made breakfast and while we were packing up the chipmunks waged war against us. They were pulling off sticks and pine cones and tossing them down onto us. Possibly getting their breakfast but it seemed like they were waging war on us.
We got on trail and headed for Monson. We had two rivers to ford but the trail was a steady downhill. We bumped into Cake and Haiku and I hiked with Cake for awhile. We made the 13.6 miles in no time. We were staying at Shaw’s as well as Cake and Haiku. We called for a pick up at the parking area. We got to shaws checked in and headed to pre-register at the visitor center. We then got lunch at Pete’s place and headed back to Shaw’s for laundry and showers. Had a nice relaxing night before we trek into the 100 mile wilderness. Won’t have service for 7 days so there may be a delay on updates of these.
September 14, 2016 – Into the 100 Mile Wilderness – day 1
Day 1 of the 100 mile wilderness: I had a hard time sleeping last night. I think I was nervous going into the 100 mile wilderness with all the food. The weight was my biggest concern on my feet. There were options like a food drop for 80 dollars but I made it through the Smokies why not this.
The other thing starting to get me is this is almost over. The hardest part is going to be the people aspect. Hikers I’ve hiked with many miles ago are either ahead or behind me. Dragon Head for instance will be summiting on Friday as he is about 5 days ahead. Other familiar faces who you may not have hiked with but have been at shelters or passed you back and forth since Virginia are now summiting. When a familiar passes you think is this the last time I’ll see them. Cheeks and Old Timer just got into the shuttle to be dropped off and Hazel said that may be the last time we see those two. It’s weird how these people out here become your family. On the AT if you have the guts and the determination to be out here there is a respect among hikers. We have lived it and know what you’ve just faced. It’s gonna be hard to say goodbye.Cake and Haiku were at the hostel last night and are taking a zero today. Hazel and I are just about ready to head out so I just said goodbye to cake and haiku on the off chance we don’t see them in the 100 mile. They should catch up but you just don’t know at this point. Maybe it will be easier to say you’ll catch up and not say goodbye.
As for updates to names you all know, Luigi and her crew have come into New Hampshire and should just be about to come into the Whites. The royal couple are about 3 days behind me and should be neat Stratton, ME. Dragon head and ninja geisha will summit on Friday. I will start posting summit pictures of those you have heard about on this journey.
For now back to the day. After not sleeping much I jumped into the shower and we headed down to breakfast. It was wonderful with eggs made the way you like them, bacon, OJ, hash browns, and all you can eat blueberry pancakes. Fantastic. After breakfast we packed our bags and the food didn’t fit quite all in the food bag. My pack is so heavy the first two days in the hundred miles are gonna be awful on the weight.
We got picked up by the family who came up to bring me new boots and some other items and to take home some other items. We slack packed 3.5 miles from the first Monson exit to the second. Then we loaded everything up and said goodbye and headed into the woods. Heave heavy heavy packs ugh. There was a sign warning do not enter u less you have enough supplies for ten days.
We began walking and ten minutes in it began to rain. Yay welcome to the 100 mile wilderness lets start you off wet. We stopped at a pond to have a snack and rest. I think the first two days will be lots of little breaks. We chugged on and the trail had a lot of little ups and downs. Nothing too hard but heavy packs and wet roots and rocks made it a bit tough. We stopped at Leeman Brook lean-to for break #2 and rested for a bit. We pushed on and went another 5 miles and stopped at little Wilson stream for camp. Someone had made a sofa out of rocks and it was quite handy. We slept with our food as it all didn’t fit in our food bags so why hang some while sleeping with the rest. I passed out about 8:30.
September 15, 2016 – Day 2 of 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 2 of the 100 mile wilderness. I woke up dreaming about blueberry muffins and hearing trooper saying they were the worst tasting blueberry muffins ever. Ok!?! of all food items to dream about blueberry muffins, really!! I fell back asleep and woke up to Hazel saying “good morning storm”. Coffee and hot cocoa were had. This is my new favorite thing. Mix the two together. Ate a few pumpkin pie pop tarts and we packed up.
We hit the trail at 7:30 and had more small ups and downs. We had to ford the Big Wilson stream which was mid thigh and had a current. It was a little intense but fun. We had to take our boots and soaks off and wear our camp shoes. We climbed up another hill and crossed railroad tracks before reaching Wilson Valley lean-to where we had a late morning snack. We continued on crossing several brooks and streams. We forded long pond stream before getting to Long Pond Stream shelter for lunch. We rested and ate for about 30 minutes and then began the climb up Barren Mt. We reached Barren slide and Barren ledges and had a spectacular view. It’s probably one of my favorites on the whole trail.
We continued on climbing up to the remnants of a fire tower with more spectacular views. We had a slight down and continued on to the side trail to the shelter. It was .40 off trail ugh!!! We needed to get water so we had to go. The terrain today was super tough. We only managed to go 12.3 and it took all day. It was pretty defeating as we don’t have food for ten days. We walked the .40 to the shelter and came upon the most beautiful campsite ever. It was on a small bluff overlooking cloud pond. It was magical and one of my favorite tenting spots to date. We talked about the list of lasts. The last resupply, the last hostel. Ugh it’s so sad to think this is coming to an end but it must. There are people at home anxiously awaiting our return.
September 16, 2016 – Day 3 of 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 3 of the 100 mile wilderness. We woke up super cold. We had a frost warning for last night and it was close. I didn’t want to move from my tent this morning. I fired up the stove and made hot cocoa and coffee mix. It’s so good I think it’s my new favorite thing. We packed up and got on trail at 7:30.
The terrain looked like it was gonna kick our buts again and I wasted no time. The descent off of Barren Mt. was steep and slow going. At the bottom we crossed fourth bog and ascended fourth mountain and then had an even worse descent than off of Barren Mt. We then had to climb Mt three and a half which gave some nice views from the ledges at the summit. We then descended and climbed up third mountain which had a great view from the cliffs. Next we descended and climbed up Columbus Mt and stopped at chair back shelter.
At this point it was 1:30 and we had only done 6.9 miles for the day. We were kind of discouraged that our pace was not where we expected it to be. We carried on climbing up chair back mountain to a great view of the mountain chain east of us. Then we had the climb down the chair back. A straight shot down a cliff in essence. If you look at the profile of the mountain it looks like a chair. That took awhile to successfully climb down without killing ourselves.
We then descended down to Katahdin Ironworks gravel road where we were able to fill up on water as we were out. We carried on fording the west branch of pleasant river and then began the climb up Gulf Hagas Mountain. We met a ridge runner who told us that after the two mile restriction of no camping we could camp by the creek in a nice stealth spot. We found the spot set up camp.
Made a quick dinner and got ready for bed. Another tough day with low miles. Only 13.3 today. On another note Holy Diver summited today and he posted his picture and it’s becoming more real. I hadn’t seen him since Erwin,TN. Dragon Head and Ninja Geisha should also be summiting today but haven’t got confirmation yet as no cell service. Wow it’s becoming more real that I actually am close to finishing this thing.
September 17, 2016 – Day 4 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 4 of the 100 mile wilderness. The cold woke me up at 5am. I was like well I’m getting up, grabbed the food bag and made a huge cup of coffee. Hazel stirred shortly thereafter. The moon was so bright it was like a spotlight on us through the night. I started packing up and she did the same. Ms. Elizabeth was camped a bit of the way down from us. She is so inspiring as she is out here alone hiking this trail in her 70′s. Wow!
We got on trail at 6:30 which was a record for us. We had a nice trail up gulf Hagas Mountain. Cake and Haiku caught up to us and we all stopped at the Carl A Newhall shelter for a second breakfast. We all moved on and summitted Mt Hagas. Cake and Haiku got ahead of us and we went up and over West Peak and Hay Mt. We then headed up White Cap Mt which had fantastic views from the summit. The wind was blowing and the sun was shining. On the north side of the mountain there was Katahdin in the distance, looking as majestic as ever. Wow we have been headed toward this thing for 2100+ miles and there she was a site to see.
Afterward we headed down white cap and stopped at Logan Brook shelter for lunch. We then boggied to hike till 6pm to see where we got to. We passed East Branch lean-to and made it 2 miles further north to a pond where we camped on the edge of mountain view pond. It was a fantastic spot. We made dinner and got into bed by 8:30.
September 18, 2016 – Day 5 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 5 of the 100 mile wilderness. Well a mental note for future hikers. Do not eat chili Mac at the dead center of the 100 mile wilderness for dinner. Oh my!!!
We got up and packed up by 6:30. The rain early morning wasn’t as bad as it was supposed to be so that was a big bonus. We started on trail and climbed over Little boardman mt and then descended. The trail leveled off and we boogied. We stopped at Copper Brook Falls lean-to for a snack and continued on. We passed Jo-Mary road and had a great trail. We had lunch at Antlers Campground. We continued on climbing up and over Potaywadjo bump as I called it.
The trail leveled off and we hiked into the night as the headlamps came out. We camped by a gravel road in a gravel parking area and did an impressive 24.7 mile day.
September 19, 2016 – Day 6 of the 100 Mile Wilderness
Day 6 of the 100 mile wilderness. The night in the parking area was fun. We had fun trying to get down to the water in the dark after being exhausted from our 24 mile walk. We laughed and laughed. There should not be precipitous drop off while getting water Hazel said. We made dinner and got ready for bed at 10 which for me was staying up all night. We got up and packed and headed on trail at about 7 and were determined to do 25 to exit the 100 mile wilderness. We were hungry, tired and weak and wanted to recharge and the key was to get out of the 100 mile wilderness.
The trail started out flat and we made some good time. We then had climbs up Nesuntabunt Mt. We met up with Outlaw and Beast and hiked many miles with them. We made the descent and stopped and had lunch at pollywog stream. We hiked on refilling water at Rainbow Stream lean-to. The trail leveled off and became root free and we were able to move. We passed rainbow lake which was simply beautiful and climbed up Rainbow Ledges which gave us a partial cloudy view of Katahdin. We descended down off of the ledges and headed for Hurd Brook lean-to for a break.
We moved on with only 3.1 miles to golden road which is the outlying road by the 100 mile wilderness. It got dark so the headlamps came out. The terrain became rooted and muddy we carried on exiting the 100 mile at 8:30. We headed to Abol Pines and got a lean-to and had dinner. We didn’t settle down for bed until about 11:30. Tomorrow we walk the 10 miles into Baxter State Park to Katahdin Stream campground. My emotions are all over the place and I can’t believe I have walked here from Georgia.
You can visit the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map. Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine. There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.
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