Saturday, June 2, 2007

First Day on the Trail

Kelly called a bit ago with some updates from the base of Bemis Mountain. It's about 4:30 pm right now, and Kel and David are going to try to make it to the Bemis Mountain lean to, which would require climing the mountain and getting to the other side where the lean to is located. Kel said Bemis would be the fifth mountain they've climed today, and should reach the other side in about three hours. They said they had some minor showers and had done a lot of climbing (kel talked about stairs in the side of the mountains, steel rungs in the rocks they had to climb like monkey bars... wow... ) and had just gotten soaked by a big storm right before he called. The guys are doing great, but they are very tired and sore. They definitely said that they will be losing some weight from their packs... soon! We'll update when we have more news!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/2/07...Overcast and 50 degrees at 5:45 AM. Repack my gear, and on trail at 6:45, with rain lightly falling. Have taken batteries out of the radio and put them in camera. Camera problem solved.

This ended up being a grueling day. The sun came out for a bit, which helped, but the climbs and descents were killers. We thought that we were making good time, though, come to find out, we averaged 1/2 mile per hour...YIKES! We managed to call home from what we thought was Bemis Mtn.. Later, we hit the summit of Old Blue Mtn., at 3600 ft., which is BEFORE Bemis Mtn...oops...It was an interesting day, going under and over endless blowdowns, navigating numerous stairways, up and down, and climbing several iron ladders, that are imbedded into the faces of the steep rock. We never made it to Bemis Mtn. Lean-to, todays destination. We had to camp just off the trail. It had rained very hard, and we still had six more miles to Bemis, but had run out of time. There was no room for a tent or a hammock, so we slept on a very small piece of real estate that was just large enough to allow us to lay our mats out, and a place to put the stove. We were pleased to get a hot meal into us, which we surely needed! We were bedded down at 9:00PM.

It was still a wonderful day. We saw more wildlife, and got a couple of good pictures...but mostly we looked down all day, look, step, look, step. Food for the day consisted of two energy bars that Cari had made, a packet of vegetables mixed in with some Ramen noodles...Yum, Yum!...Also had a 1/2 bag of trail mix, handful of dried bananas and strawberries, and some pistachio nuts...

So, that's that!...Love you all!

Oh, one more thing! When we hit South Arm Rd., in Andover, there was "Trail Mail" tacked to the sign, in a plastic bag. It was for Stickman and Faithful, and had a nice caricature of us on the cover sheet. Inside were letters from Dan and Lillian, Jonathan and Misty, and Pastor Al and Margaret! SO NICE! Words of encouragement and prayer...Thanks to all!

Good night, john-boy...(temps in low 50's tonight)


Friday, June 1, 2007

On The Trail!

It's official! Kel and Dave are on their way! The trip started off on a good note, as many friends and family joined the hiking partners on their departure from Andover, Maine. As soon as we hear from Kel and Dave, we'll update with some more info!

STICKMAN'S JOURNAL...6/1 Overcast...Our cast of characters are Wayne & Teresa Morris, Pammy-Sue & Dennis Dawes, my brother Larry Hibbard, Sister Jody & her husband Pete Peterson (my 12th cousin), my wonderful wife, Cari (Please pray for her as I'm on trail...her burdens will be greater than mine...), our precious daughter, Elizabeth, and others, including Dave "Faithful" Barnes, my trusty hiking partner, his family, and their Pastor...Well, here we go! We started the day nicely, getting up early to head to Andover, Maine. Our plan is to hike from Andover North to Katahdin, go back to Andover, head South to Springer Mtn. in Georgia. We met Faithful and his folks, Dan & Lillian, brother Jonathan, and Jonathans' friend, Misty. They had stayed at the home of Pastor Al Buzzell and his wife Margaret, in Andover, for the overnight. Pastor Al leads the flock at the wonderful church, Canaan Calvary, in Canaan, ME., where the Barnes' attend services, and are active participants. We all met at a little church in Andover, (sorry Pastor Ken, can't recall name of church), and were greeted by Pastor Ken Wagstaff, a wonderful man, who is a "Village Missionary Pastor". VILLAGE MISSIONS's work is "Keeping Country Churches Alive"...something we all should be supportive of. We all had a wonderful breakfast and fellowship, then headed to the trailhead. We got our gear together, were lifted up with prayer. (Thank you all!). I had the honor of presenting a Scripturestick to Pastor Al, to thank him for his hospitality during our visit to Canaan, and for offering his house in Andover. Then, the pictures, lot's of them! Final goodbys, (We love you all...miss you already, Honey!), then, at 10:40, we hit the trail! We were off like a herd of turtles, burdened by slightly overloaded packs, (This section will help us figure out what we really need...), but as yet undaunted by anything, including weather. We struggled up the bank of the roadway, Lillian venturing up the path a ways with us...Then, suddenly, we were on our own...I can only speak for myself at this point, but I believe that reality was beginning to creep in. Along with each step/balance/look/step/balance, my mind began to wander, the rythm of the hike and the lyrical sounds of a nearby brook turning my thoughts to Wayne and Teresa, our friends from North Carolina, who saw me off today, and have graciously shared their gift of music with us and our family...walking on, walking on...As I took off my cap and pawed at my sweating brow, I realized that the cap in my hand was not mine. Mine was at HOME. Again, Dennis was there for me. Always there. He and Pam. Solid...Thanks, pal, for the hat...and the HOME...Press on...feeling "not too bad"!...Further...Thirst hits me hard! I uncap the water bottle and smile. "That's my Beth!", I think, as I see the "smiley face" flow regulater capping my bottle. Way Cool!...step, step, step...Thoughts swing to my family, and I feel it deep in my heart. I realize how incredibly I love my wife, how amazed I am at who she is, and all she does. How I will miss her! And then, there is more love...for brothers and sisters. Overwhelming...And what did I hear Brother-in-law Pete say as I was leaving for the trail? "I love you man, mean it!" Yeah, you got it right. That's how it's supposed to you too, man!...Now focus on hiking. Hey Dewayne and Janice! Ever done the "Moose-trot", or the "One step-Moose step"? Although we saw two moose on the drive over, so far we have seen none on the trail. The evidence, however, would seem to indicate that there are hundreds, even thousands of them in the very near vicinity! Of course, the evidence is deposited rather evenly along our trail, and you have to "Dance" around it...
...So, made it 1.9 miles to Surplus Pond. Had a half of an apple and some H2O while sitting on the deck of someone's camp. Pretty spot. Had taken a couple of pictures, but at this time, the camera is not working. Might be the batteries...So, press on. Climbed some big hills and small mountains, finally arriving at Hall Mtn. Lean-to at 5:00PM, just as it started to pour. Temp. is 58 degrees and falling. Made out the Shelter Log, then entered into my journal. Still need to get H2O when the rain lets up. Had 1/2 apple, 4 muffins from our good neighbor Ms. Guevin, and one of my wifes' home-made energy bars, yum...more later...I'm back...Animal sightings! My first sighting was a slug...what does that mean? I took it's picture. We do have at least one mouse in the shelter, friendly little guy, looking for a handout.but not from me. Last chore of the night...Hang the food bag in a tree. Lights out, love to all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Almost Ready

We are almost ready for a journey of a life time! Final preparations and a family get together are in the works. Friday June first is still set for the first day on the trail (Is the time really here?!? ).