Thursday, August 23, 2012

Finally, Maine!!!!

There was some excitement down by the pond last night, but we missed it because we fell asleep early. I had gone to the tent and was lying on my sleeping bag, trying to put together a blog post, and could not keep my eyes open. I kept having to go back and read what I had written, because I was falling asleep in the middle of sentences and leaving out words. Keith had decided to listen to his iPod for a bit, and very soon after he put his ear buds in, I could tell from his breathing that he was asleep.
Meanwhile, Boots had gone down to the pond right at sunset, because Melody had seen beavers swimming there earlier. When he went down, he walked right up on a baby moose with its mom. They ran into the woods, and they did not make another appearance. I wish we would have seen them.
This morning, bright and early, Swamprat was bringing us our food bag from the bear box, and he had gone down to the pond and seen the moose again! He let us know when he came to our tent, but by the time I got down to the pond, all was quiet, with no wildlife to be seen.
We packed up and everyone hiked on, knowing that we only had 4.7 miles to hike before we reached the Maine state line.
We actually had a tough day of hiking. We were happy to have dirt trails again, instead of the solid rocks of the Whites, but we kept encountering steep rock faces that I ended up scooting down, along with ladder rungs drilled into rock faces that we had to climb. There were so many steep rock inclines to come down, that I had to use the trees along the edge of the trail to hang on to, because it was just too steep to walk down. We also had some gorgeous views. Many of the mountains we walked right over the top of were bald on top, and so we could see in all directions - mountains everywhere you looked! The weather today was also perfect - very cool, probably in the 60's all day.
The final mountain between New Hampshire and Maine was called Mt. Success, and gave us one final beautiful view of the Whites. We yelled out over the valley floor, "Goodbye, New Hampshire!"
After about 3 hours of very challenging hiking, we finally came upon a sign for the state line and entered Maine, our 14th and final state on the Appalachian Trail! We sat and had lunch there, and while we were eating, Melody and Boots came up the trail. We yelled, "Welcome to Maine!". We were all so happy to finally be in Maine.
Later in the afternoon, we stopped and rested on one mountain with a particularly gorgeous view and visited with Swamprat and Melody and Boots. Another group of hikers had been up there earlier, as we had seen them from the top of the next mountain over. When we finally caught up to those hikers, we visited with them and found out their group was a pre-orientation hike for freshmen about to attend Harvard. There was about a dozen of them hiking together. I took their photo, and instead of "Say Cheese," Keith said, "Say 'Yale!'". They misunderstood, and when I took the picture, they all said, "Yeah!" They laughed when they finally realized what he had said.
We hikes on, and kept encountering some really tricky things on the trail that kept slowing us down. There were lots of boards going over bogs, but then the boards would be rotted and broken, and we'd have to find a path way around the bogs where we wouldn't sink it. There was also a lot more steep rock inclines to either climb or come down. We also had lots of wooden ladders with flat rungs that we're designed so that you would walk down them like going down stairs. I never did feel real secure going down those things. I was always holding my breath.
We finally reached Full Goose Shelter, and decided to call it a day. The must fun or most difficult mile (depending on how you look at it) is coming upon a mile and a a half, and we decided to get to it after being well rested, in the morning, rather than this evening. Boots and Melody decided to hike on and cross it today. It's called Mahoosuc Notch, and everyone talks about how difficult it is. I'll report back on that.
The Harvard group hiked into our shelter area a little while ago, and only have tarps to sleep under, so I hope the weather holds out for them. It seems like its not unusual for us to get rained on at night.
- Steady and F100