Thursday, July 5, 2007

Almost to Gorham, NH

Kelly left a message at about 4:30pm to say that they are almost to the Gentian Pond Campsite. From there, they are about 12 miles or so from Gorham New Hampshire! They will hike into town to the post office to get a package there for Dave...they will be in their second state!!! Only 12 more to go!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/5/07...Thursday...We were out on the trail by 8:30 AM, with threatening skies. We were hopeful to do a few extra miles today, but from Full Goose Shelter to Gentian Pond Campsite was about all we had time to do. We got to Gentian Pond at 5:30 PM, having hiked just over 9 miles in 9 hours. There isn’t much in the way of “flat”, or easy hiking. It’s pretty much a hard, steep climb, followed by a harder, steep, descent. And I’m sure that we would have enjoyed the days hiking much more if we’d had a little less clouds and a lot more sun. We certainly didn’t get to see much in the way of views...For that matter, we didn’t get to view many hikers, either. There was one group of High School aged girls out doing a section hike, sponsored by a college located in Massachusetts. There were also a couple of other sectioners. Tonight, we enjoy the company of two NOBO’s, Doc and Compass. They are getting anxious to reach Katahdin. I had a pleasant conversation with them both, and Compass and I talked a bit about our beliefs. Thank you, Compass, for being candid with me. (I don’t believe that he will mind my writing down a brief profile of his thoughts, as they are not different from so many others that we meet) goes...He considers himself an agnostic, or someone who doesn’t believe that there is a knowable God. He, therefore, does not claim that there is a God. He also cannot, and does not claim that there is no God. He was raised in Church, and says that he holds no bitterness regarding religion in his upbringing, but rather considers that a part of his base of knowledge. He is a very well read person, and has some knowledge of the Bible. He is capable of quoting scripture, but refused a gift from me of a New Testament. He likes the wisdom and teachings of the Dalai Lama (the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism), as he considers those teachings to be of a “straightforward” nature...Thanks, again, Compass, for sharing yourself with me. Many people don’t, including some that would claim to embrace Christianity. I decided to write this down to illustrate to you all what one hikers’ view might be. It is all quite typical, out here, and back in the “real world”, where you all are. Perhaps this is a reflection of yourself, before becoming a Christian. So, anyway, Compass, my prayers go with you, as you continue on to Katahdin, and as you walk the journey of life. God Bless!... By the way, Compass and I agree in at least one area. If the “real world” was more like the “trail world”, everyone would benefit. I hope to bring back some of the good, positive attitudes that are found along the trail.

Not much else to write...I was going to try to phone home, but the cellphone battery is low. I will have to get a recharge in Gorham, NH...Oh, yeah! We are actually IN NH TODAY! It was great to get Maine under our belts, felt so good. We will have to do 12 miles tomorrow, if we are to get into Gorham. Faithful has a maildrop there, so we need to try to make it to the Post Office before it closes. We will try to get up earlier in the AM, and try to get a good jump on the day. We will have three prominent uphill elevation changes to conquer, with three drops. It looks like the elevation changes are 800’, 600’, and one at 1700’. It looks like a fairly easy day, but not if I don’t get any sleep. Looks like it is only 8:30 PM right now, so I could get a real good nights’ sleep if I start now...Good night, God Bless!


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

They Are on The Trail Again!

As of Tuesday morning Stickman and Faithful are on the trail again! Dave and his parents drove down Monday night and stayed with Pastor Al and Margaret in Andover, Me. Larry drove Kel down Tuesday morning to join them. They were on the trail about 10:45 with Dan and Lillian along to hike to the falls...a spot that they had hiked with Dave and his brother Jonathan when they were small! Just think....all these years later and here they are again! So Cool.
Now, here it is the 4thof July and we just received a call at about noon that they are up on top of Old Speck Mountain at Grafton Notch, Me. Old Speck is the 3rd highest peak in Maine, with an elevation of 4180 feet. It is located in the White Mountain National Park, with a 360 panoramic view of the Maine and New Hampshire countryside. I can only imagine how beautiful it is there...and, we WILL see pictures! Can't wait. The views do inspire me...I may become more of a is so tempting!

STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/3/07...Tuesday...We’re back on the trail again, today. I had a hard time leaving home, will miss my wife and kids (adult kids, but still kids!), and the birth of our next grandchild. All will be OK, though...Larry brought me back over to Andover, ME, to meet up with Faithful. He and his folks were already over there, at Pastor Al’s place. Thanks, Larry!...I think that we had gotten back on trail at about 10:30 AM, and Faithfuls parents, Dan and Lillian, hiked in with us. We all hiked together up to Dunn’s Falls, a place very familier to the Barnes family, and then Faithful and I continued on alone. We had another pleasant day of hiking, and reached Baldpate Lean-to, at a distance of a little over 8 miles. Our hiking time was just under 8 hours, as we stopped hiking at 6:15 PM. It had been a pretty tough day of hiking. The initial mile was mostly downhill, then a three mile climb up over Surplus Mtn., and a steep ½ mile after that. Next on the plate was a very steep two miles up to the east peak of Baldpate Mtn., and a quick, one mile, “down and up”, that took us to the top of the West Peak. The rest, as they say, was “downhill all the way”, and I do mean downhill! After working our way downhill for the last mile, we put the brakes on, and finally stopped at Baldpate Lean-to. My feet and knees were having a tough time with it all, but we made it, and the views were fantastic!...Again, we had the opportunity to meet some great people out here. Most of our encounters were very brief, but we still had many hikers stop long enough to say hello, and accept a card from me. I pray that they will take a moment to visit the website when they get to civilization....Spent a little time at camp conversing with “New Hampshire Mary” and her hiking partner. Oops!, sorry, the name escapes me. Sure wish I had a tad bit better memory...Got a sweet fire going this evening, and found it quite fit for cooking on. Why is it that even boiled water tastes better when boiled over a campfire?!? Sure seems that way, doesn’t it!? Just add Ramen Noodles, and SHAZAM!!! Life seems to be so much better when lived so much more simply...Well, the belly is full, and the eyelids are getting heavy, dancing to the flicker of the waning fire. Must be that time...LIGHTS OUT!...and of course, may God richly bless all of you...g’night!


STICKMANS' JOURNAL...7/4/07...Wednesday...Up and about at 6:30 AM, and rolled out onto the trail at 7:45 AM. Put in a fairly tough trek today, but legs and feet are feeling fine. We managed 12 miles today, in 12 ½ hours, ending the day at 8:15 PM. What we were able to tackle today was awesome! Initially, we dropped down from Baldpate Lean-to to Rt. 26, then went up the enormous, (and steep), Old Speck Mtn., which crests at a little better than 4000 ft. There were some bumpy ups and downs while we were up there, finally cresting the Mahoosuc Arm, and coming back down to struggle in the Mahoosuc Notch. That stretch extends for a mile or more, and seems to live up to it’s reputation for being a major challenge. Some say that it is the toughest mile that will be encountered on the whole distance of the AT. I hope so! WHEW!!!...We passed by a moose carcass in the Notch. We had been getting several reports on it’s status, and it finally expired not long before we passed by it. It had taken a bad fall, into one of the many voids in the boulder field, and although it was not a very deep hole, it was unable to get back up on it’s feet. The poor moose had a large gash on it’s neck, and, I suspect, at least one broken leg. We sure hated to see that, and certainly didn’t like the fact that the animal had suffered greatly...but that is the way of the wild. It was a harsh reminder to all of the hikers that passed by, as to what one good fall can do...At any rate, the Notch was quite a rock scramble, with a lot of climbing over, and crawling under. It was kind of scary and fun at the same time! We also saw lots of ice caves, and other neat features...As the weather was starting to turn on us, we pushed to finish that stretch, and then got up and over Fulling Mill Mtn. That put us at Full Goose Shelter, and it started to rain...hard...just made it! Got our water, cooked up a meal, then crawled into our bags to get warmed up, and stay dry. We met quite a few NOBO’s today and yesterday. We met a Brit who was doing a section hike, and others, including Tricycle and Salamander. Lot’s of hikers stopped to talk, and take a card, but others, mostly the NOBO’s, were in a bit of a hurry...they’re gettin’ the itch for Katahdin!...Well, it’s quite late, and I need to I will close, with a big God Bless to all of you!