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.