A question thru-hikers started asking each other a month away from the summit of Mt Katahdin. It’s also a question that everyone back home asks when you finally finish your “vacation in the woods”. It’s a question that 99% of northbound thru-hikers standing on Springer Mountain expected to have a concrete answer for by the time they get to the finished 2,200 mile later. Funny enough, most of us had no idea what we were supposed to do when we finished.
It has been almost two months since Lindsay and I finished our 2,185.3 mile adventure. In the past six weeks we’ve let ourselves rest and recuperate, visited with families and friends and most importantly filled our bellies to replace some missing body fat. Whenever we’ve shared some time with someone that has been following along with our blog or just knew the task that we spent our summer undertaking we had one common question: “So, what was your hike like?”
If you missed the first half of my (Lindsay) thoughts on our 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru Hike click HERE. If you want to read part two then click “Continue Reading” down below.
Wow, it’s hard to summarize the thoughts of 5 months of hiking into a single blog post, but here it goes! (I’ll make sure it isn’t too long.)
Hiking the Appalachian Trail isn’t something I’d ever considered. Ever. In fact, until recently I didn’t even know what it was. Being from Saskatchewan – the flat prairie ground in the middle of Canada – hiking was not much of a recreational activity growing up, and we most certainly had never heard of the AT. We had taken a few weekend hikes but never anything more than 50 mile when Clay told me he wanted to go on this really, really long hike. I enjoy all forms of exercise, so if a little is good then a lot is better, right? Right! I read exactly TWO books to learn a bit more of what I was getting myself into (Becoming Odyssa and The Things you Find on the Appalachian Trail) and then we started planning our own trip! Simply put, I was hiking because my husband wanted to.
“Guys, I can see the road!”
We spent 5 long, hard days to see this road. The story of us summiting Mount Katahdin and finishing our 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike starts 15 trail miles south of the infamous wooden sign on the top of Katahdin. This is the point where the trail crosses the Golden Road and the Penobscot River and where we left the 100 Mile Wilderness and re-entered “civilization”. Leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness and sitting down on a picnic bench at the Abol Bridge Campground, overlooking the fast flowing Penobscot, is when the realization hit us that our journey was all but over. We could see Katahdin, likely only 5 miles as the crow flies to the summit from where we sat drinking a well deserved beer and eating an overpriced cheeseburger. The next day we would climb the big guy and end our journey, which at this point seemed a formality and more symbolic than necessary. We had made it. We had hiked from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt Katahdin, Maine and we were a day away from climbing to the summit and ending our journey.