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[at-l] Postcards from Ron, Linda & Brandon Moak
- Subject: [at-l] Postcards from Ron, Linda & Brandon Moak
- From: "Thomas Moak" <OWENMOAK@classic.msn.com>
- Date: Wed, 27 Aug 97 17:01:13 UT
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, RandyDCA@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, TCurtisOne@aol.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bswank@egghead.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, WayneHiker@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ronald Moak" <email@example.com>
Weekly Postcard - August 1-8
Pinkham Notch to Rangeley, Maine
Weekly Miles - 99 Total - 489.1
As often happens, the path of life takes twists and turns different from the
ones expected or planned. That is what has happened on our journey. Since
Fallingwater's last entry from Pinkham Notch, we've experienced trail highs,
and emotional and physical lows.
I am writing these words from the comfort and safety of Hiker's Paradise
in Gorham, New Hampshire. I had to leave the trail on Tuesday to
recover from a bug, and give my battered, swollen knees some respite
from the beating they've taken through the spectacular, but brutal White
Mountains. Fallingwater and Lucky 13 are still on the trail. I can't
wait to see them, and find out how they fared on the rest of their
journey through the Mahoosucs. I'm taking a shuttle to Rangeley this
afternoon (Friday) to meet them at the Farmhouse Inn. I had truly hoped
I would be able to continue on with them after a few days of rest. We
wanted to finish our adventure together. However, after several days of
intense knee pain, and a visit to the doctor, good sense tells me my AT
journey has come to an end for this year.
Now, to recap last week. From Pinkham Notch, we were two days from Gorham.
The first was a 13 mile day which took us up the 2,000 foot climb to Wildcat
Ridge, then over its imaginatively named peaks A, B, C, D, and E. (Or, from
the way we were traveling, E, D, C, B, and A.) For $5, we could have taken
the gondola that runs up to Peak D, but that would have been the weenie way,
so we went on our own power. The day was clear and the temperature moderate,
but the air was muggy as we made our way down to Carter Notch Hut (the last
of the AMC huts) for lunch. The afternoon was full of Carters: Carter Dome,
then South, Middle and North Carter (at least they weren't named Carter A, B,
C, and D...) I mentally ticked them off, one by one, as we got closer to Imp
Shelter. This area is characterized by mountains with multiple rock ledge
summits, separated by bog bridges. There seem to be more bog bridges through
the Whites than we saw on the entire AT in '77, not that that's a bad thing.
Imp Shelter was home that night to a diverse collection of thru hikers and
short term hikers. Enjoyed a lovely sunset and view of the lights of Gorham
from a huge log bench in front of the shelter.
Saturday was a short 8-mile day into Gorham, with Mt. Moriah between us and
an afternoon of cleanliness and relaxation. We stayed at Hiker's Paradise,
the wonderful haven for hikers owned by Bruno and Mary Ann Janicki, with the
able assistance of their friend, Bruce. The hostel was packed to the rafters
that night. Ronald and I thought it interesting that there were more thru
hikers congregated in this one place than the number of southbounders that
completed the entire AT in '77. It could easily have been a hikers' reunion.
On Sunday morning, we tore ourselves away to continue in the quest for
Katahdin. The first couple miles after crossing the Androscoggin River
were mostly flat, and served as a warm-up for the 2,000 foot chug over
Mt. Hays and beyond, into the Mahoosucs. Spent the night at Gentian
Pond Shelter, along with another huge group of hikers (27 total). We're
in the middle of the convergence of thru hikers, so from here to
Katahdin, there is no possibility of solitude, as "The Maine Train"
Monday took us over Mt. Success and over the state line into Maine. After a
brief celebration with the group, and a photo opp to observe the milestone,
we continued on. The day was marked by numerous boulder scrambles and log
ladders. Two weeks of constant pounding over the granite of New Hampshire
had taken its toll on me. That evening at Full Goose Shelter, I was
beginning to sense it was coming to an end. By Tuesday morning, I also had a
stuffy cold, and couldn't even choke down breakfast. On the two miles before
Mahoosuc Notch, we came to the tough decision that I would have to leave the
trail. At the trail intersection to the notch, we reorganized the packs, and
said goodbye until Friday in Rangeley. They went on, and I walked 2.5 miles
out on the Mahoosuc Notch approach to a road, and hitched back to Gorham.
After meeting them in Rangeley, I will arrange a shuttle to Bangor where I
will fly home to recuperate, and cheer the guys on from the sidelines. It was
a wonderful journey.
A big hole appeared in our hiking family today when Linda had to make the
decision to leave the trail and head home. Tuesday morning, when we left
Full Goose Shelter, she didn't look good. On the hike to the intersection
with Mahoosuc Notch, it was apparent that she couldn't continue. Just before
the notch, we redistributed the food and gear, then Linda took a side trail
out to the road. It was hard not knowing exactly where she was going, but
Bruce at Hiker's Paradise had assured us that there was a good out to a
gravel road with enough traffic to get back to Gorham. Still, it would be
several days before we would know exactly what happened.
Minus Linda, we headed on through the famed Mahoosuc Notch. It was still as
fun as 20 years ago. Brandon had a great time crawling over, under and
around the huge boulders that lined the notch. We blitzed through in under
an hour, then faced the steep climb up Speck and beyond. The climbs up Speck
and Baldpate, in addition to all the other mountains in the Mahoosucs have
done a number on us. We arrived in Rangeley on Friday, thankful to be
through that section, and determined to take a day off.
Today (Saturday), a large group of thru-hikers has spontaneously gathered at
the park by Rangeley Lake. Tomorrow we're off to face the next range of
mountains. Until then, there's much food to be eaten and relaxing to be
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