Total Miles: 2,180.2
Miles This Week: 83.8
Location: Caratunk, ME to Stratton, ME and Rangeley, ME to Grafton Notch
The Good: My last week on the A.T. was one of the hardest and most beautiful. I hiked through my last storm. I was ferried across the Kennebec River. I hiked my last night hike. I signed my last shelter log. I saw my first moose. I lingered at my last sunset. I woke up to frost in the Bigelows. I saw familiar faces and met a few new ones. I lazily wandered through forests full of fall colors. I finished solid at the end of a 17.8 mile day over Baldpate Mnt. with winds so strong I had to lean into them and temps cold enough to make me put socks on my hands. So much fun! :)
The Bad: Emotions were high. Going southbound ensured I saw the maximum number of people as posssible that were behind me. I said cheerful and occasionally tearful goodbyes in towns, in shelters, and on boardwalks in the middle of the trail. It was a great idea, and I’m glad I did it, but it took time and energy that I felt I didn’t have to waste. Towards the end of the week I was well past most NOBOs and the trail was lonely. On my last day, I didn’t see a single thru-hiker. Not one.
The End: The following is taken from my last day on TrailJournals.com because I just can’t bring myself to sum it all up again…
“I laughed and howled at the sky. Unexpectedly, my howl turned into a barbaric scream which turned into a sob. There is a saying out here that ‘the trail provides’ and it does. We have faith that everything has a way of working out. The trail provided me with everything I needed when I needed it for 6 months and 17 days. I went white water rafting, swam under waterfalls, hitchhiked, ziplined, canoed, jumped off bridges, petted wild ponies, rode in the back of pickup trucks, went to a fish fry with trout caught from the backyard, ate berries by the handful, picked apples, petted a rattlesnake, cowboy camped under the Milky Way, rode bicycles with abandon, ate homemade ice cream, went to a concert and the beach and a carnival, saw fireworks, rode in a Santa sleigh, howled at the moon, and met some of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever known. But like any faith it can be put into question. The trail also provided me with a month long period, broken toenails, blisters, two sprained ankles, an upper respiratory infection, an exploding firepit, a lightning strike, a missing chunk of tongue, 56,763,861 mosquito bites, 2 tick bites, a foot stuck in a broken boardwalk, and a leech on my crotch. I peed on myself twice and threw up 3 times. I hiked in rain, sleet, snow, and have been so hot I got dizzy. This trail has built me up and torn me down more times than I can count.
I regret absolutely nothing.”
– Cyndi Loppers