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Hello folks!  My profoundly apologies for delaying with updating our blog for a couple of weeks – been busy roaming between two states – New Hampshire (NH) and Maine (ME) both in my car and on the feet.   I am going to write each leg of our hiking in separate posting – 2 legs in total.

Last weekend of June, I drove to Manchester, NH from Portland, ME to fly out to Chicago for my dearest friend’s Surprise 40th Birthday Party.  The entire weekend was splendid and the best part was that around 17 gals (including birthday gal, of course) as a team participated in an event called “Dirty Girl Mud Run” together.  The funny thing is that I went through obstacles filled with mud or watery mud without any second thought (due to my AT hiking on muddy trail on frequent basis), but most gals on the team were not into playing with the mud except ONE gal who got all mud on her.  😉

Upon my return to Manchester, NH on Monday 1-July, Alyssa G. brought Cane to drop him off with me, so we can be on our way to Gorham in the White Mountains National Forest rather than having me drive to Portland, ME to pick Cane up, then go back to NH.  Our huge gratitude to Alyssa for making this happening.  We stopped by Chet’s One Step At A Time hostel in Lincoln, NH where we stayed when we did our hiking in the White Mountains (Franconia Notch) to chat with Chet.  He was surprised to see us again and we had a great chat.  After Cane told Chet our hiking plans for this summer, Chet told Cane, “Take a chance!  Go and hike all the way!”.  🙂

We arrived in Gorham at the evening.  Cane’s friend, John W., met up with us a few minutes later driving from his summer home in Upstate NY.  He asked us if it was ok with us for him to join with us hiking on the AT and providing us some support.  We agreed.  However, the bad weather lingered for a while, so we didn’t get to start hiking until 3-July.  It was going to be around 18 miles from Rt. 16 via Carter Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We hiked on 19 Mile Brook Trail going to Carter Notch Hut where Cane and I left last year on 9-July-2012 due to Cane’s rib cage injury which ended our AT journey for 2012.  Next day, we climbed Carter Dome and John decided to go down on the side trail to get some rest from hiking and meet us at Gorham.  After we bid our farewell, Cane and I continued to hike toward Imp Shelter through Carter Mountain Range.  We were hit with two rainstorm – one short (15 minutes) and one long (1 hour and 15 minutes) since we were in the northwestern weather flow of Mt. Washington’s famous wacky weather.  UGH!  It was a long 7.6 miles of hiking with wet and hair-raising (we were forewarned by Carter Notch Hut Master about that area) Imp ledge to descend.  As the sun was setting, we haven’t arrived at the Imp Shelter as original planned.  At around 8:38 pm, I decided to hike ahead to scout to see how far the shelter was.  After 15 minutes of hiking, no shelter in sight and I didn’t feel well with pounding headaches and Cane’s over-extended knee injury (he was limping a bit).  I decided that it was best for me to hike to Imp Shelter knowing that there is a caretaker where I can request an assistance.  I arrived at Imp Shelter around 9:15 pm and spoke with the caretaker named Jacob.  He knew some sign language due to his Deaf grandparents which was a huge PLUS for communicate-wise.  After discussing, Jacob went to the shelter to request for an assistance from hikers who can volunteer helping to bring Cane to the shelter.  Two hikers named Drew and Andrew volunteered.  I sent the text message letting Cane know that the help was on the way.  We hiked for some time until we found Cane sitting on the trail with his headlight on.  After giving him some water to drink, we all hiked back to the shelter and got there around 11 pm.  We thanked to them from our bottom of heart for helping us out.

Next day, we had a late start since we were tired from long day of hiking and going to bed late at night.  We left at around 10 am for planned 6.3 miles of hiking to Rattle River Shelter.  Cane wasn’t being himself after two long day of hiking which pretty much wearing down on him physically and mentally.  After reaching the Mt. Moriah in mid-afternoon, we kind of knew that we may not make it to the shelter and were preparing for camping out on the trail at the evening.  Before we made our descent on Mt. Moriah, I texted John who was resting in town asking if he was up to help out Cane by meeting us at the shelter and carrying Cane’s backpack helping him to hike out to Gorham easier.  In the evening, Cane’s hiking became difficult for him to descend among wet and slippery rocks and muddy trail – he fell down and slipped many times.  We stopped our hiking at 7:30 pm to make an inclined camping by the spring water.  Thank goodness for our hammock, so we can use the trees to sleep in the hammock   and not have to worry about sleeping at incline.  😉  My phone didn’t have a signal, so I had no idea if John will be able to assist us.

In the morning, we had an early start (7:30 am) wanting to reach the shelter to get some rest and make a final hike out for last around 2 miles toward Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We had no idea how many miles left since we camped out on the trail between Mt. Moriah and Rattle River Shelter.  At around 8:30 am as Cane was about to ford the large brook and me on other side of brook waiting for him, John showed up.  Hallelujah!  Cane’s huge smile was priceless to see when he saw John’s presence.  We hiked to Rattle River Shelter to get some break and re-fuel, then we hiked out toward Rt. 2 by 11 am which beat my previous predication by one hour!  We all were so happy!  John was brave to accept and carry Cane’s stinky and sweat-soaked backpack for around 3 miles.  😉  We treated John a delicious and nice dinner at Libby’s Bistro in Gorham.  That finally concluded our 18 miles of 3 days hiking leg.

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Dani Stoskopf hails from Rochester, New York came up to Manchester, Vermont to join us for a day hiking today.  It is good to have a company.  Even more, she gets to see gorgeous fall foliage around here.

We are lollygagging in Red, Orange, and Yellow Mountain State (AKA the Green Mountain State – Vermont) with the company of Golden Ray (deaf hiker) until tomorrow to meet up with one of my favorite hikers – Silver Fox!!!!!!!  My beloved friend, Dani S., plans to meet us to join with us hiking for a few days in Manchester.  It is going to be a good exposure for her to take a taste of what AT is like.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying our slackpacking and stay with our trail angel and family in Rutland for past few days. Food, drinks, laughs, and chilling outs are part of our daily evenings…..Life is grand!

As usual, I am restless and want to explore more of nature in and around Augusta, so here is the list what I have done so far:

Thursday 19-Aug – Cane and I went for a hiking in a place called Augusta Nature Education Center.  I really enjoyed my hiking there as the environment kept changing as we hiked.  Wow!

Saturday 21-Aug – Last weekend, Cane’s and Larry’s cousin Rose mentioned about certain place that we must hike.  Larry, Cane and I went for a hiking at Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management Area in Manchester, Maine.  We hiked around 6.5 miles loop.  Most of the trail were well maintained except in the wetland area.  It was overgrown with some “mean” plants that scratch at you as you go through.  UGH!  This particular area definitely need some bushwhacking!

Sunday 22-Aug – Cane and I went for a hiking at University of Maine  in Augusta Fitness Center (I cannot find the link anywhere about the Fitness Center at University of Main, so no link is available).  According to the website, the Fitness Trail is a set of loop trails totaling 2 miles in length in a forest and is “supposedly” another example of one of Augusta’s hidden gems.   There are fitness stations along the trail.  We found the fitness stations in poor or terrible shape which are unusable due to poor maintenance and age.  The map was nowhere to be found online or at the site for us to use, although the map was posted on large display in one area only.  The markers were not well-marked either.  Nevertheless, we just hiked through and guessed our way through the forest which was fun for both of us.

Tuesday 24-Aug – Cane and I went for a hiking on Round Top trail in Belgrade Lake region.  Roger’s cousin Rose recommended it to us to hike, so we were gladly to explore.  We didn’t get to complete the 3.9 miles circuit as we started late.  There were 3 or 4 more trails in that area, so I imagine that we will come back to complete each of these section/circuit.  Belgrade Lake region was such as beautiful lake area and some wilderness along the lake.

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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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