Hello folks!

The Spring is around the corner with Phil the Groundhog taunts at us for a long and *wonderful* Winter….plenty of snow up here in Mid-Atlantic and New England states!  Anyhow, let’s start with a sad news that I received a couple of days ago…..Bill Irwin, First Blind-Hiker to hike the AT, has died over this past weekend.  Bill inspired Cane and myself before we started to hike the AT in 2010.  Cane had his book and he lent this book to me to read….I admired Bill’s courage and perseverance to complete the AT.  It did open up conversation between Cane and myself on many areas such as risks, preparations, communication system, and etc.  Cane and I had an honor or meeting him while we were hiking on the AT in 2011 at Pine Grove Furnace State Park – the midway point on the AT and where the AT museum is.  Bill happened to be there to give a presentation as we hiked through….perfect timing!  We were in heavens getting to chat with him with a help from wonderful staff at AT Museum who knew some sign language.  Bill is now joined with his beloved and loyal guide dog, Orient who hiked with him from start to end on the AT, in the heaven.  May they continue to hike in the heaven and remembered forever for their courage and steadfastness.

Now, here is a good news…..Cane, the team, and I are booked for a week from Sunday 22-June-2014 through Saturday 28-June-2014 to make a big climb at the Mt. Katahdin.  The details will come out soon, so keep your eyes out for that.

http://www.bethelcitizen.com/node/565385

I updated “Media Gallery” page with the link to the article about Roger’s AT journey and local Bethel folks lending hands to help him with completing his dream.  Please note: We didn’t capture our error with all 3 articles until recently.  Our profound apologies for our awful mistake – SSP stands for Support Service Provider, NOT Special Service Provider.  Enjoy reading!

Yesterday was the big day for Ad-Cane and Team comprised of Cane, David W., Paul A., Daren R., and myself.  To make the long story short at this time, we got up at 4 am, got into Baxter State Park at 6:05 am, cooked and ate our breakfast at the parking lot in Katahdin Stream Campground (the base of Mt. Katahdin – known as the Big K).  We checked the weather forecast and it looked to be in our favor.  It must be our day to summit!!!!  We began our hiking at 7:45 am.  We made a good progress for first 1.1 miles in 45 minutes – relatively easy and gentle slope of the trail.  We cheered and said to each other – 4.1 miles to go!!!!!

We went over from small-sized to medium-sized boulders on the trail and we continued to make a good progress.  Gradually, we encountered large-sized boulders which required us to scramble and climb.  We were doing well until we got on the shoulder of the Big K – within our sight of the summit!!!!  To our surprise, the wind was howling – nearing blowing us off the trail!  We took a quick break for snack/drink.  We resumed climbing, but we saw the marker on the slab – 2 miles to the summit.  I looked at my watch and to my dismay, it was 11:45 am.  My team came up to me and looked at the marker and my watch.  After discussing among ourselves and conversing with two park rangers who were approaching us as they were scrambling to the summit, we decided to abandon our attempt to summit due to 1) unsafe condition (gust wind – it was topped out at 35 mph yesterday!!!!  The top speed of wind last week was cloaked at 21 mph.),

http://www.climbingweather.com/Maine/Katahdin?date=2013-09-15

Sep 21
64°
50°
7%
78% PM
35 mph
78% humidity

2) limited amount of the daylight available (sunset – 6:36 pm and with approximately 1.5 hour per one mile to scramble/climb – 6 hours for 4 miles one way, 30 minutes at summit, 6 hours back to the base = 12.5 hours),

Millinocket, Maine – Sunrise Sunset Calendar

and 3) safety of our team (hike into the darkness on the unfamiliar trail is not ideal).  Cane was pretty crushed by our decision, so were the team including myself.  :( :(  Safety is number one for all of us, so we must play it wise and not push to the summit.  I said to the Big K, “SEE YOU LATER, BIG K!!!!!!”  Cane said the same thing a few minutes later when he finally accepted that it was not our day to conquer the Big K.  We all arrived at the base by 4:10 pm and greeted by our family, friends, and loved ones.  We were thankful that all of us made it safely and in one piece.  *sigh*  Cane and I discussed and decided that even though we have until 26-September to make another attempt, but the diminishing amount of the daylight available is not in our favor.  We decided to hold off the last hurrah of conquering the Big K and completely remaining 2 miles of our AT journey to June or July 2014 – long amount of daylight available and favorable weather condition.  We are proud with ourselves and our team for pouring all in what we tried and our family, friends, and loved ones for their steadfast support.  I am going to leave you with some quotes:

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live. -Henry David Thoreau

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours. –Les Brown

Yesterday is but today’s memory, tomorrow is today’s dream. -Kahlil Gibran

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. -Jesse Owens

5.2 miles of climbing up the Big K and 5+ miles of climbing down!  Will keep u updated tonight.  *crossing fingers*

It is gonna be a short note if I can help with that.  :)  We hiked hard and long for around 48.5 miles for 5 days in row with support and help from our incredible AT Crew – David W. (hiked with us from Jo-Mary Road to Pollywog Stream – around 31.5 miles), Daren R. (hiked with us from Pollywog Stream to Golden Road – around 17 miles), and Priscilla R.  We arrived at Daicey Pond in Baxter State Park tonight (Thursday) with *gasp* remaining 7.5 miles to complete our AT journey….gosh!  Cane and I became more aware and emotion as we got closer and closer to Katahdin (known as the Big K or K) and saw how majestic mountain was!  At Rainbow Ledge, Cane was looking at the Big K for 3rd time and began to weep….the ripple effect began….I weeped, then Daren R. weeped in turn.  Such a heart-touching moment to realize that Cane’s dream is within his reach….

Upon our arrival at the Golden Road, Cane and I hiked on our own – slackpacking – a special thanks to Daren R. and Priscilla R. for picking up our equipment, so we can hike lightly and easier.  Cane and I started to realize that we were abt to enter into the Baxter State Park and saw the Big K again….we cried!  *sniff*  All the way from Golden Road to Daicey Pond, it was our moment of reflection “walking” – remembering and talking abt our ordeals over 4 years of our journey….people we met and befriended with….and etc…

Ok, I should hit the sack right now…..plans to share some more stories later today (Friday).  Before I sign off, we plans to climb the Big K this Saturday!!  Woo-hoo! 

We got our huge surprise of our lifetime last night, practically!  When Daren R. and Priscilla R. came to meet us up at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket by late afternoon to attend the Chili Cook-out, we got a ride in their car.  As we were leaving from their car going to the hostel to get dressed up warmly and dry due to wet and cold weather, I noticed something odd about their back window with website address.  Right out of corner of my eyes, I saw “www.at….”, I was like WAIT A MINUTE.  I looked at their window and saw what they did to decorate their car with a beautiful pride.  I gasped and dropped my jaw to the road!  I tapped on Cane’s shoulder and directed his attention to the window.  He was shocked.  We are deeply touched and became emotion knowing that how Daren R. and Priscilla R. are the big part of our journey in 100-mile Wilderness along with Paul A., Abby A., and David W.  Here are the couple of pictures for you to check out:

AT Crew - Daren R. & Priscilla R.

AT Crew – Daren R. & Priscilla R.

AT Crew - Daren R. & Priscilla R.

AT Crew – Daren R. & Priscilla R.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Thursday, we arrived at Jo-Mary Road beating by one day out of 5 days hiking.  Cane made a good progress on first day from Katahdin Iron Works Road to Sidney Tappan Campground.  David W.  got to hike with us for a few hours.  Paul A. had a late start and caught up with us in early afternoon.  Paul, Cane, and I snuggled next to the fire pit that night at Sidney Tappan Campground as it was cold night.  On 2nd day, we climbed 3 peaks – West Peak, Hay Mtn., and White Cap Mtn.  It was a good climbing!  Upon our arrival at the summit of the White Cap Mtn., we went to the view point and was awestruck realizing that we were looking at the shrouded Big “K” – the Katahdin in distance – around 30 miles from White Cap Mtn.  It was our first sightseeing of the Katahdin!  Wow……Cane said that it hasn’t hit him quite yet….same went for me.  After climbing down to the shelter, we decided that we have time to go to next shelter which was 3.6 miles away.  We made a run for it.  However, by purely coincidence, we bumped into Daren R., Priscilla R., and David W. on the road as they were out checking out on the road accesses to prepare to provide us some support and re-supply.  I arrived at the spring water which was around 200 yard away from the road.  I checked out the spring water and decided that it was good.  I planned to ask Cane if he wanted some spring water.  Then, I looked across the trail and noticed two people – one with neon orange t-shirt and another one with baby blue long sleeves.  I was bewildered as why they were waving at me…..then the person with neon orange t-shirt was doing a “flashing” by closing and opening his black jacket as to flash his neon orange t-shirt to me.  I looked at another person with yellow long sleeves walking up to me.  I suddenly recognized that it was Priscilla R…..then oh gosh….it must be Daren R. with neon orange t-shirt and David W. with baby blue long sleeves!  OH MY GOSH!!!!!  My first thought was did Paul A. call/text them to meet up?  When Cane and Paul A. arrived, I told them to check out the people on the road.  They were surprised too!  Cane and I found out that it was purely coincidence as Paul A. didn’t call/text them.  WOWWWW!  We got some of our stuff from David W.’s jeep for re-supply….After 45 minutes of chatting, Cane wanted to get started hiking to the shelter was it was around 3 pm and we may have around 2 miles left to hike.  We said our good-byes to them and was on our way.  We made a good time arriving at the shelter.  Cane and Dinoda got to chat via paper and pen all the night long.  Sweet!

On 3rd day, the weather was odd – very warm and humidity for early September.  We forded the east branch of Pleasant River without any issues.  We hiked toward the Little Boardman Mtn in late morning.  The temperature was rising to probably high 80′s or low 90′s with high humidity.  Cane was starting to struggle trying to hike over the rocks with condensation on them – slipping as he went over them.  He fell down a few times.  He made it to the top, but was exhausted and didn’t feel well.  Paul A. and I cajoled him to keep hiking to the road – Kokadjo-B Pond Rd to meet up with Daren R. and Priscilla R. for re-supply at noon as agreed.  It was 11:45 am when we were at the top of the Little Boardman Mtn.  Cane consented and tried his best to keep hiking for around 1.4 miles.  We arrived at the road around 1:15 pm.   Cane thought that he was done with hiking and needed some rest.  I asked him to hold onto that thoughts for while.  After pampering, feeding, watering, and resting, Cane felt well enough to hike to the shelter which was 3.2 miles away and next day with 3.7 miles to arrive at Jo-Mary Road.  Daren R. offered to carry Cane’s backpack for an hour which was helpful for Cane.  We arrived at Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to around 4 pm and had some time to jump into the brook to cool off and feel refreshing.  It was a nice swimming!  The sky became darker and looked nastier around 5:30 pm.  I collected and moved my gears into the shelter quickly and boom – thunderstorm came and blasted us with its heavy pouring of rain and its thunders!  Whoa!  A group of hikers – around 8 – arrived totally wet and cold.  Poor them for getting caught in the storm, but glad they made it ok!

On the 4th day of hiking, we arrived at Jo-Mary Rd with Daren meeting us on the trail to help carrying Cane’s backpack part of the way.  After discussing for a hour or so, we decided that from Jo-Mary Rd to White House Landing was out of the way to be able to attend Trails Day Festival in Millinocket, ME on the weekend of 13-15 September.  Cane and I stayed at the Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket for a couple of nights – Thursday 12-Sept through Saturday 14-Sept.  It was cool and nice hostel!  We got to sample some chilis and casted our vote at Chili Cookout last night.  Today, we participated in 5K walk and stopped by to say a big hello to Tecolote and Venado.  Cane and I briefly met Telcolote in VA on the AT back in 2011.  It was our first time meeting Venado and Bluebell, brother and sister, today at last!  On sad note, Paul A. told us that he couldn’t continue hiking with us as he is needed back at home.  We thanked him and Abby A. (his wife) from bottom of our heart and wished them well.  On good note, David W. and his son, Aeton dropped by to surprise us!  Awfully nice to see them again!  They got to meet Tecolote, Venado, and Bluebell!   We met a hiker, Lobsterman, who remembered us from NY in 2012.  Good to see him again!

Tomorrow, Cane, Daren R., and I plan to resume our hiking from Jo-Mary Road going to Golden Road for 40.9 miles – probably 5 to 6 days of hiking.  David W. might join with us hiking for a couple of days.  Then, from Golden Road, it is open invitation for anyone to hike with us from Golden Road to Katahdin Stream Campground – around 10 miles – possible 2 days of hiking with overnight stay or one day.  Between Golden Road and Katahdin Stream Campground, we may have to ford two rivers.  Just a heads up for anyone who wishes to join with us hiking.  It can be just a day hiking.  Then at Katahdin Stream Campground, it is at the base of the Katahdin.  it will be strenuous climbing with 4,000 feet of elevation gain for 5.2 miles, then perhaps other 5 to 7 miles going downhill on other trails.  We hope to climb the Big “K” this weekend – Sunday or Monday depending on how well we move and the weather.  I plan to post a notice when we arrive at Golden Road since it will be around 2 days later to see if we can climb the Big “K” or not.   We may have a celebration in Millinocket and/or Portland after summiting the Big “K”.

Wish us well and best of luck as we are nearing at end of our journey and accomplishing Cane’s dream…..such bittersweet and exciting at same time.

Crocs – I lost one of my crocs while fording Little Wilson Stream (it was not “little” stream, to be frank with y’all – due to recent all-day long rain and rising level of water).  Paul A. did advised me to keep my boots on, but naturally, I detest hiking in wet boots that may lead to terrible “bleeding cracks” on bottom of my feet as it happened in the past.  I elected to don on my crocs and prayed for the best.  I made it across, but not my one of crocs as I wedged myself against the large boulder under “swift” channel of flowing water.  As I attempted to move, my leg hit the boulder and slipped my crocs’ strap off from me.  *sigh*  I said to myself, at least my backpack made it across with help of Paul and I made it across….so, I counted my blessings.  It was funny to hop around the campsite with one crocs on….Cane was kind to lend me one of his crocs when I needed to go somewhere….at shelter, he lent both of his crocs, so I can go to my hammock without having to worry abt stubbing my toes.

Cane texted his mother asking her to buy me a new “earth-tone” crocs.  After end of our first section and meeting up with David W. (He met Cane’s parents as they were dropping off some supplies with him last Friday), I got a nice surprise when I first saw my new crocs!  It is really crocidile-textured crocs!  The color is green, just like crocidile’s color!  Wow…..I emailed Cane’s mother thanking her and how much I like it so much….that I am gonna be one of cool crocs on the trail!  Lol! 

Trekking poles – After leaving Rt. 15 Monson for 45 minutes, Cane managed to break one of his poles.  A couple of hikers came upon on us and whittled Cane a new wooden stick.  Paul A. rigged the stick with rope acting as a grip for Cane to use.  Paul A. texted David W. asking for a new set of poles which Cane had in his supplies which we left with David W.  David dropped it off at the next shelter the day before we were to arrive.  He left the message in the register letting hikers know that the poles were for Cane.  Upon our arrival at the shelter, the poles were there waiting to be used.  Cane was thrilled and got to use it right away.  We kept beaten up pole with us and left another terrible shape pole at the shelter for any hiker who might needs to use it. 

Guess what….after one hour of hiking, Cane happened to bend one of his brand new poles!  Poor Cane!  So, Paul A. whipped out Cane’s beaten up pole.  I picked up his new bent pole and attached it to my backpack.  Later on, Paul and I took a look at the pole and fixed it by breaking off the lower part of the pole, so it can be re-used as a back-up pole.  It is his 18th and 19th break of the trekking poles so far.  19th broken part has Cane’s autograph and mascot on it and it is given to David W. as requested.  It is on his mantle among his trophies.  ;)

That’s our total mileage to reach the northern terminus of the AT at Mt. Katahdin.  We concluded our first section of hiking between Rt. 15 Monson and Katahdin Iron Works Road – total of 29.9 miles completed.  It leaves us with 84.6 miles left to go.  Wooowww….it took us 5 days to hike and we did well.  Today is our zero day….discussing, making some plannings, re-supplying, getting some rest, and hanging out at David W.’s place (nice of him to offer us a place to recuperate and getting ready for next section).  David W. hiked with us twice making some videos and pictures of Cane’s journey.  So cool!  Daren R. and Priscilla R. came up yesterday to provide us some support.  Great team of Paul A., Daren R., Priscilla R., and David W.  We communicate in creative way – instant messaging, texting, writing on paper, gesturing, and trying some sign language.  Cane and I wish we could fully participate with them in their conversation, but we know that we do our best to make sure all of us are on same page and not to leave out too often/too much.  Cane and I converse in ASL and they cannot follow our conversation.  The bridge is existed between us and our team and we respect and tolerate each other.  It is very good for all of us to be patient and work together toward common goals – 1) helping Cane making his dream coming true, 2) making sure team is on the same page and good rapport with each other, and 3) having time of our lifetime in the 100-wilderness journey toward Mt. Katahdin. 

Tomorrow, we plan to begin our section 2 from Katahdin Iron Works Road to Jo-Mary Rd – 28.6 miles in total.  It may be another 5 days of hiking that section.  Wish us a good luck to get through this section as we ford two rivers and climb over the mountain range – White Cap Mountain. 

The weather improves this morning, so we elect to begin our journey into 100-mile Wilderness today!  Wish us well and pray for us to make it to Katahdin Iron Works Rd this Friday (30 miles).  Baby, 114.5 miles left and it is going to roll down starting today!  Woooo hooo!  All of us r excited!  Gonna catch a ride now!  RamSham out!

April 2014
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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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