As you can tell by the title of the post, instead of being a few days into my thru-hike attempt, I’m still in Boston. “What happened?”, I hear you ask. [Pretends not to hear that you actually grumbled, “Who gives a shit?”] Well, last week, I found myself becoming increasingly more frantic as I made a mad dash to finish all that needed to be done before I left. As the stress reached a boiling point, I suddenly recalled one of my dear friend Ryan’s favorite sayings, “Slow ya roll!”, and decided to follow his advice and postpone my trip. Originally, I thought I’d delay my departure by just a few days, however, due to lack of campsite vacancies at Baxter State Park, I won’t be heading up to Millinocket until Friday, July 11th. In addition, instead of staying at Katahdin Stream Campground, which lies right alongside the Appalachian Trail at the base of the mountain, I’ll be staying at Abol Campground. The only trail that leads to the summit of Katahdin from Abol has been closed this year due to a rock slide so I’ll have to walk an extra 5 miles or so along the park’s main dirt road in order to get back to my campsite. Oh well..Mama Tee didn’t raise me to leave town without my affairs in order so it’s a small price to pay (speaking of which, in terms of actual money, it only cost $20 to change the dates of all my reservations). Besides, I’m hoping I’ll either be able to: a.) hitch a ride from a passing vehicle on the park road or b.) see if there is any thru hikers staying at the lodge in Millinocket the night before who have a reservation at Katahdin Stream Campground and are willing to let me stay at their campsite. If I do I have to walk the extra 4 miles on that day, it will be a painful reminder not to procrastinate next time.
More than anything, in the frenzy of packing up my belongings for the storage unit while trashing/donating/giving away all of my parents stuff (the quantity of which I totally underestimated), it was my state of mind that I found so disconcerting. That rushed feeling, the pressure to meet a deadline is exactly what I’m trying to avoid during my thru hike. As I’ve said in a previous post, I fully intend to allow the trail to dictate my pace and I plan to take the time to explore some of the more enticing side trails and trail towns along the way. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking my sweet-ass time as I mosey along because it’s important that I keep a steady clip in order to finish in time to avoid the worst of winter down south. However, if I come across a lovely campsite eight miles into what was supposed a sixteen mile day, then I’ll absolutely stop early and set up camp for the night. (Hell, I’d even do it if I’m only 2 miles into a 16 mile day. However, if I do that too often it will take 3 months just to make it out of Maine!). Therefore, I knew in order to start off this trek on the right foot, it was essential that I delay my departure long enough to wrap up all my affairs in a more deliberate manner and compose my mind properly for what lies ahead.
So, after a week delay I’ve done all that needed to be done and I’m ready to begin. [Pretends not to hear that you grumbled, “You’re full of shit.”] So on Monday, July 13th, I’ll be boarding a bus for Bangor, before boarding another bus for Medway, before being….well, I’ll let you know all about it this weekend as I’ll plan to do one one more post while at the AT Lodge in Millinocket, Maine before I head into Baxter State Park. In closing, I leave you with this quote from that pumpkin head Thoreau about Katahdin, the 1st mountain I have to climb just to reach the northern terminus (or start) of the AT.
The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains, –their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them. Pomola is always angry with those who climb to the summit of Ktaadn.
[Note: Pamola (or Pomola as Thoreau spells it) is the god of Thunder for the Penobscot people and believed to be protector of Katahdin. The Penobscot describe him as having the head of a moose, the body of a man and the wings and feet of an eagle. So, in order words, he bears a striking resemblance to my ex-girlfriend.]