Saturday, June 23, 2007

White House Landing

Just heard from the hikers from WhiteHouse Landing! They had walked 17 miles yesterday and 16 miles today. Kelly was so excited to blow the airhorn and signal for a ride across the lake to spend a the night there. Kel said that they are thankful to be sleeping in a bunkhouse out of the wind. After eating a 1 pound hamburber and sharing a 14 inch pizza, they enjoyed conversation with the owners. for a hot shower and phone calls home! A bull moose was in the grass not far from the house and they got pictures, too. How cool! They think that they should arrive at the base of Kahatadin on Wednesday and possibly climb the mountain on Thursday(if the weather permits) then off to andover to head south after a day or two at home. We won't see them again until perhaps New Hampshire. What a wonderful trip this has been so far!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/23/07...Saturday...Off to a late start again today, but really needed the rest. Left Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to @ 9:00 AM, and hit the trail running. It was a fast downhill most of the day, except for one bump on the trail...That would be Potaywadjo Ridge. It tops out at a little less that 1000 ft., with a base elevation at 500 ft. Now, I know that 500 ft. in elevation gain should not be too tough to hike, but we had just completed almost 10 miles at full steam when we hit it. It slowed us down somewhat, but we had good momentum, and were still moving at the top. After climbing a mile uphill, we crested, and we never hit the brakes on the way down. We coasted to a stop 4 ½ miles later, at WHITE HOUSE LANDING, located on the very beautiful Lake Pemaduncook, at 3:30 PM. By my figuring, we made 15 ½ miles in 6 ½ hours. Wow! That’s almost 2.4 MPH!!! Try doing that pace for 6 ½ hours over mud bogs, bog bridges, big rocks, little rocks, roots, and a combination of “all of the above”...with a 35 to 45 lb. pack on your back. I know that just sounded like bragging, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was only meant to illustrate. In fact, other hikers would just chuckle! For my age and condition, that’s hiking at a pretty good clip, but some of the younger guys are doing 20 plus miles. I talked to two of them yesterday, (when we did 17 miles), who said that they were going to end the day with 27 or 28 miles under their that is FAST! ...Myself, I like to look around once in awhile, just in case there is some wildlife nearby. Today I crested a small rise to find a doe deer on the other side, smack in the middle of the trail. We did a bit of a staredown, but she stood still long enough for me to get her picture. Last night, it was an owl. I heard its’ hoot, hoot, as I was walking my last mile into camp. I really had to look up and around a bit to find him, but I soon did, and I got his picture too...I know, that to complete this hike, I need to average 15 plus miles per day. I figure that I can make my daily hikes a little longer when I get a little further down South, but in this rugged terrain, you not only need to pay a lot of attention as to where you step, it is also nice to look around a bit too. I think some of the younger guys can sustain their pace, but some will burn out or be injured by it. At very least, they may not see the moose or bear that is less than 25 yards from them...So, okay, we get to WHITE HOUSE LANDING. We are actually on the opposite shore, and have to give a short blast on an air horn, so they know we are there. In a flash, we see the boat pull away from the dock, and speed over to get us. The owner, Bill has arrived with his son, and they jet us back to the LANDING. We get to meet with him and his wife, Linda for a bit, then it is off to the bunkhouse, off to the showers, and finally, off to the lodge, where Linda served us up her famous 1 lb. cheeseburgers with the works. Incredible! Of course, I also had her whip up a 14” hamburg and mushroom pizza, to take back to the bunkhouse. I shared it with Faithful, as we made calls to our families. Now, I’m almost full. I actually lost a few pounds, and am at about 192 lbs., and feeling better these days, as I lean out, muscle up, and the hiking gets a little easier. Thanks, Linda, for the excellent cooking, and great conversation. This is certainly a place that I would love to come back to!...Well, again, it has gotten late, about 10:20 PM, and breakfast is served up promptly at 8:00 AM. I guess I’d better close now, or miss my next meal! Love you all, God Bless!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Not Sure Where!

Haven't heard from the hikers in a couple of days...really not sure where they are...guessing possibly around Carl Newhall Lean To. Hopefully we will be able to get reception this weekend. I am also guessing that they will be hiking Katahadin the middle of next week if the weather holds. It all remains to be seen!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/21/07...Thursday...Left the shelter at Chairback Gap at 9:00 AM. After going up and over Chairback Mtn., we descended to ford the West Branch of the Pleasant River, which was very beautiful. Then, uphill for 6 ½ miles to the top of Gulf Hagas Mtn. Once on top, it was just another mile until we arrived at Sydney Tappan Campsite...Yup, campsite...figured it would be the perfect place to finally try out my hammock. It actually did work out quite well, even though I didn’t have it set up perfectly. I needed about two more feet between the two trees I chose, to be able to properly stretch out the fly. I made do, though, and I was quite comfortable, sleeping well, and waking up dry in the morning. It had rained pretty hard during the early morning hours of the day. All in all, it was a wonderful day, having had a chance to share the mission trip with some of the hikers. Other hikers were to hurried to stop and chat, as they scurried for the next shelter. I can’t blame them for not wanting to stop, as it rained off and on all day, depending on where you happened to be. We met a couple of fellas from Canada, and a few other hikers, including Lunar and Solar, and Shasta and Billie Goat. In the evening, we shared a fine fire with Roger, a programmer from Texas. It is always so much fun meeting other hikers, listening to their stories, and finding out where they are from. All in all, it was a wonderful day. We covered about 12 ½ miles today, getting to camp at about 5:30 PM...So, I would say we did it in 8 ½ hours. Not bad, when you factor in “talk time”, and such....Getting late, so it’s “lights out”...Good night, God Bless!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/22/07...Friday...We got everything wrapped up, packed up, and were on trail at 9:00 AM. We put in a super long day, getting to Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to at 7:15 PM. We were able to cover 17 miles in 10 ¼ hours...I believe that most of those miles were slogged in the rain. My feet took a real bad pounding today, but I have tried my best to take good care of them. They, (my feet), get a nice alchohol rubdown at night, followed up with a nice powdering. Happy feet! We need to try to get 16 miles in tomorrow, to reach the White House Landing, and get a good meal and a sleep in a bunk. We saw very few hikers today, and the ones that we did see were “on the fly”, trying to make some miles, even in the rain. One pair of hikers did stop to chat. They were Tod and Contact. Tod said that he would go to my website and leave his blog address. Contact was hilarious...he has all the gadgets, GPS, solar charger, and more! He was from New Hampshire, Tod from Georgia....We have had our evening meal, and I am exhausted...Oh, yeah! We got pictures of a moose yesterday, on the trail, and today I got pictures of a porcupine and an owl! Love to see the wildlife!...I guess I’d better close for the night, get a little shuteye...ah, sweet, blissful, sleep...all for now, good night, God Bless!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Barren Mountain

I heard from the hikers this noontime. they were headed for Barren Mountain. They had made it to the Long Pond Stream Lean-To and were pushing on. We are hoping that the rain will miss them, although it was clouding in when we were on the phone. They met two hikers today....both from Georgia... But they were not hiking together! They expect to meet a few more hikers coming toward them from Katahadin. Kel is still trying to get a blister on his heel to heal, and David has been fighting an upset stomache. But, other than that, all is well! This is the 100 Mile Wilderness...70 plus miles to go!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/19/07...Tuesday...On the trail @ 8:15 AM, leaving the Leeman Brook Lean-to, skipping the Wilson Valley Lean-to, and arriving at the Long Pond Stream Lean-to at 7:00 PMish. Racked up a total of 12 miles. Not many hikers are around, and we only got to talk to a few of them. Where is everyone??? We did get to give out a few cards, and were able to share our Mission with Surge and his hiking partner, and a couple of others, one being a section hiker. Our meetings are few, but good. I am settling in for a good meal, and (hopefully) an equally good night of sleep! So, it’s good night to all of you, as I need to rest my body, and let the bruises heal. God Bless you all.


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/20/07...Wednesday...Skipping down the trail this morning at about 8:10 AM. It was quite overcast, with occasional bursts of sun popping out to warm us. The weather actually had held up fairly well, until just after we checked out the magnificent “Barren Slide”. As we began to make our way up Barren Mtn., the rain became steady. Everyday, however, has it’s bright, shining of today’s was meeting Alpine and Princess Brat. They both work at the Walasi-Yi Center, in Neel’s Gap, Georgia. They worked until the NOBO’s had moved through, then scooted to Katahdin to do a SOBO, having to be back at work in November, to serve the other SOBO’s and the Fall tourists. I shared with them our ministry, and gave them a card. Alpine asked that God might Bless me!...something that you don’t hear too much on the trail! He also said that they might be interested in selling our ScriptureSticks at Neel’s Gap! Who knows what God has planned! I tried not to hold them up too long, talking, as they were trying to get some miles in for the day. They also needed to make time, as they were down to one day’s food remaining. They assured us that they were OK on food, and as they left, Alpine again asked God to Bless our journey. With steps much lighter from words of encouragement, we also headed on our path, up and over Barren Mtn., past the Cloud Pond Lean-to, and finally, knocking off Fourth Mtn., too! I was now having a bit of a time, as I had hyper-extended my right knee several times, once badly. I then proceeded to take a good tumble, while going downhill. I landed hard on my left side, doing minor insult and injury to my shoulder and elbow, and spraining my wrist. The icing on the cake was that I bent one of my poles! I managed to straighten it out somewhat, and I think I can get quite a few more miles out of it...Next was Third Mtn., and finally, it was up, and over , Columbus Mtn., arriving at Chairback Gap Lean-to, at 6:30 PM sharp! To my amazement, we had traveled a little over 11 miles! Not bad! Alan, Smokey, and Kenneth are also here, and we all got a nice fire going to warm us up and dry things out a bit. I always seem to have the best time foraging for the wood! It is a major challenge to find good wood, especially when everything is soaked! Well, we have all cooked and eaten our suppers, shared some stories, and I got to share the ministry, which I never get tired of doing. Some folks are indifferent, some polite, some curious, and occasionally, someone is genuinely interested! I still love to share with them all, and I also enjoy their stories too! Hard to put the feelings to words, sometimes...Everyone is sound asleep now, except for Faithful and I, so I guess it would be prudent for us to follow their lead...time to close this one out, it is after 10:30 PM...Please keep us in prayer! God Bless!...You’re very sleepy now...there goes a mouse...sleepy...sleepy...OWL!...sleeeep.....sleeeeep......sleeeeeeeeep.....


Monday, June 18, 2007

100 Mile Wilderness

The hikers spent 2 days with family and friends. They made it to Monson and Faithful's family came to take him home for resupply and visiting. Stickman stayed at the Shaw House, a WONDERFUL , friendly place with GREAT food! How nice to sleep in a bed and get a hot shower, too. Tim at the General Store was great and directed the boys up to the Mobile place for their first food off trail. Faithful consumed an Italian Sandwich and a 12 inch pizza, and Stickman had 2 whoopie pies, a 12 inch pizza and a 2 liter pepsi! Hungry dudes! The weekend was filled with the great hospitality at the Shaw house (thanks Dawn, Dick,Dana, and are wonderful!), new faces ( Murphy, Emily, Zoe, One Tree Hammock, Huck (love that picture of the moose....don't forget to send it!), Whiskers,Wizard and Munchkin (hope that ankle is better soon and you are back on the trail), and other names I am sorry I can't recall. All wonderful people with great storis and advice about the trail. And, words of encouragement. We love the caring spirit that seems to be the common thread amoung the hikers. An unforgetable weekend that ended with Sunday night guitar playing and singing (One Tree...we christians certainly do love you!) Many sticks were given out here and much sharing of faith and God's goodness.
Today, they are back on the trail and sleeping in the firstLean-To heading north to Katahdin tonight. LIllian hiked the first 3 miles or so. She said it was beautiful. She was picked up at an intersecting road by the people at Shaws to get back to her car..... 91 plus miles to go for the hikers...but all is well. Kel and Dave say Hello to All...wish you were here!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/16/07...Saturday...Great day today! Got up early, was out of the shelter by 7:00 AM. We had a good hike, doing over 9 miles and having to walk the two miles into town from the trailhead. That’s OK though, got a few more interesting pictures because of it. By the way, we got into town about 11:30 AM, 9 miles in 4 ½ hours...Not too bad! Can’t say as we had much contact with people, until we made it into town. We came down Pleasant Street, past Shaw’s, where I would be staying. We went to the Monson General Store, where there is a payphone. I had tried all day to get a call through to Cari, but could not get a signal. I decided to try one more time, before using the payphone, even though I was in a low spot in town. OK, Lord, help me out, please! Tap, tap, tap...Ring, ring, ring! It went through! But, I soon found out, if I moved in any direction more than a step or two, I caused the signal to weaken. I stayed put, and managed to get a hold of my love, Cari. She was in Waterville, trying to get the shopping done. She said that she would come up for the night, which pleased me to no end. Love that girl! Then, we called Faithful’s folks, and they said that they would like to come up and bring him home for a brief rest, and church on Sunday, if he liked. He liked. So, since Faithful and I had some time to kill, we went on a serious hunt for food. We found it at the local fuel station/grocery/deli. As it happens, it is where my cousin, Gerald “Jerry” Hibbard had worked before he passed on. Most everyone in Monson had known him, and liked him. That connection opened up a lot of opportunities for conversations with folks, and I really enjoyed talking with everyone. There are very friendly people in this little town, and I thank them for their hospitality. There was a nice young lady doing the cooking at this store, and she did a great job in getting us fed. Faithful got an Italian sandwich and I got a 12” pizza...and a couple of whoopie pies...the real good ones made by Steves’ Snacks, out of Skowhegan, Maine. I managed to wash it all down with a Boss Pepsi! Then, something went haywire for Faithful! He had been drinking a juice with his sandwich, but it just wasn’t working out right! He also had to buy a 12” pizza, so he could have something to eat with his leftover drink...As you might guess, he also had to purchase another drink, so he could finish his pizza...It’s a vicious circle, folks, it really is! But, it seemed to eventually work out, and all ended well. His folks showed up, we chatted for a bit, then they were on their way. I yakked with a few other folks, and a real nice lady asked if I was doing the trail. I answered to the affirmative, and that I planned to get a room at Shaw’s for the night. She said that she worked there! I asked if she might be able to hold a room for Cari and I, and she did. When I arrived there, much later, all was taken care of. Thank you so much Dana, you’re wonderful! While I waited for Cari, I stopped at a yard sale, browsing and chatting. I helped a gentleman load a very interesting workbench/desk into his truck. It weighed a ton, but we managed to get it into the truck. Then, the lady having the yard sale chatted with me, and we talked of all sorts of things, such as Rusty Farrin moving his auction house out of Skowhegan. Yes, Rusty, we certainly miss you out on Rt. 201, even the good folks of Monson...We chatted some more, which I think we were both fairly adept at doing, and she offered me a soft drink, which I accepted. Now, killing time can, at times, be hard work, but all these nice people in Monson kept me busy, and I found their kindness to be genuine! What a great bunch of people...they aren’t even deterred by the fact that hikers tend to be a bit odiferous! I eventually moved on, and got to talk to many more people in town, explaining that I was hiking the trail as a Christian Mission. They even listened as I explained t. God is so good. As I got over to the corner of the towns main thoroughfare and Pleasant Street, which I needed to venture up to get back to Shaws, I found myself standing by the payphone again, and eye to eye, so to speak, with the Monson General Store. Now folks, if you’ve never been to Monson this might be a good reason to go. In fact, a great time to go to the General Store would be any Friday night. I, of course was once again, a day late...but I went in anyway. What a treat! I got to sign a hiker’s register, and then sat at a little table with the owner, chatting, as we sipped on ice cold drinks. Great, friendly conversation and cold cream is good! The owner of this fine establishment is Tim, who is a friend to hiker’s. Actually, he is a friend to everybody, and I repeatedly observed him treating folks like kin, instead of strangers. By this time, I’m beginning to think that I may not make it all the way up past the next four or five houses to get to Shaws, because I might get invited to supper by somebody! No kidding! Friendliest people I’ve ever met! As Tim and I chatted, I found that he loves music, and opens up his little General Store on Friday nights, letting folks come from all around to play and sing. They bring along quite an array of instruments, banjos, mandolins, guitars, and whatever else they can make music on and just have a good time. Boy, did I miss out! For sure, some Friday night, I will go back to Tim’s place, the Monson General Store. Hope to see you there! Now, things are starting to go into full swing, as my lovely wife, Cari, has just arrived...and it’s off to SHAWS. Hey everybody, this is hiker heaven! We got to pick out our own room, and it is awesome. They have fixed the place up wonderfully, and it is soooo relaxed. Dana, who reserved our room, is super. She’s also Dawn’s daughter. Dawn is a co-owner with Sue. Oh yeah, can’t forget Dick. He is Dawn’s husband. These people are very accommodating, and fun! We got all settled in, then had a bit of time to meet other hikers. We got to know some of them a bit, and shared our ministry with them. One girl asked about the sticks, and the scripture on them. “You mean, like from Proverbs and Psalms?”. You bet! She had to go out for a bit, and while she was gone, I had brought a stick in. When she returned, she looked at the stick, and said, “Hey, that’s the verse I just had in my head!”. Again, GOD IS GOOD! We have her address, and will send that ScriptureStick to her home. And that is what is going on in Monson, Maine. I am starting to ramble on, so will stop for now...God IS good, and I pray He Blesses you!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/17/07...Sunday...Another great day! Started out with a fantastic breakfast, and some wonderful folks to eat it with. Meeting some super people here, Zoe, Whiskers, Emily, Murphy, One-Tree Hammock, Huck (a fellow Christian), Chuck Norris, and a couple from New York...can’t recall their names right now, but hopefully will remember in a bit... Dawn, one of the owners of SHAWS, had invited Cari and I to their Church, but we had made plans to go to Monson Community Church, Pastored by David Ray. We had made that connection through Faithful’s dad, Dan, who had Pastor Ray in one of his classes. As it goes, we never made it to the service. Instead, Cari and I drove the New York couple to Bangor, so that they could get a rental car. He had twisted his ankle badly, and they were having to come off the trail. They are planning to resume the hike when he is better, so I hope to see them again. We did take the opportunity to leave them with a ScriptureStick for their son. The day was quite pleasant, and when late afternoon rolled around, someone said that I would be awesome (or something like that) if I could come up with a guitar. Always up to a challenge, I headed out. I first went and ordered a big pizza, which Cari and I shared with our fellow hikers. The young girl that made the pizza said that she would loan us her guitar, but it was in Abbott, and she had no one to bring it to her. I asked around, left a message for Tim, at the General Store, and at the same time tried to find out where Pastor Ray lived. Eventually, I tracked him down. He lives right beside Shaws! I introduced myself, told him my needs, and he began making phone calls. He had no luck, but I thanked him for his efforts, and left him with a ScriptureStick. As I walked back over to Shaws, he came outside and told me he had found one! Hooray for Pastor Ray! We went for a little ride to get the guitar, from a man named John. It was a beauty! Thanks so much John! Well, I was a hero when I got back to Shaws! The great thing, come to find out, is that Murphy has LOTS of talent on a guitar, and is a fantastic singer to boot! He kept us entertained late into the night with his music, and his easy way. When Murphy was done for the night, we found that One-Tree Hammock and Whiskers could also play. Well, we did wrap it up eventually, and some of us went to bed...Good night! God Bless.


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...6/18/07...Monday...Got up early with Cari this morning, and set up my meals in preparation for the “100 mile wilderness”. We got it all together, then Cari had to leave to head back to Madison, and work. I miss her already! I got my stuff into my pack and waited for breakfast. It was another great day at the table, with Murphy, Emily, Whiskers, One-Tree, and Huck. There was lot’s of banter with Dawn, as she and Dick were todays cooks. They are so nice! I hung out with the group as they came and went, checking for their mail and such. I got to have great conversations with Huck and One-Tree. Then, I went down to the General Store to visit with Tim a bit, and he said that he was sorry that he wasn’t around last night, as he would have loaned his guitar. As it ended up, I did borrow his guitar, as the other one would need to be returned. It made me smile when I walked up the driveway at Shaws, and from inside the house, I heard, “He’s got ANOTHER one!”. Thanks Tim, you are one of a kind. And thanks again to Pastor Ray, and John, you guys are great!...Lillian showed up with Faithful, and we left Shaws for the trail. She hiked with us from the Pleasant St. trail junction to Route 15, a distance of about 3 miles, and did a great job! At Rt. 15, she gave us a nice helping of blueberry pie! Yummy! Thanks, Lillian! Then, we were off on the trail again...We met the “Brit” a little ways along. He was having a bit of knee trouble, but was still moving well. I checked with Shaws later, to see if he had made it in, and he had. Here’s hoping that you heal up quickly, Brit! On we went to the Leeman Brook Lean-to, arriving there at about 6:40 PM, having started out at about 2:00PM. We had walked about 6 miles, which was not bad at all. It was pretty quiet around camp, so we had ourselves a nice meal together, before we called it a night. Now it’s time to get some rest, so good night to all of you, and God Bless!