More than halfway through Maine!

20 Jul

Day 20, Mile 188

Hello everyone out there in blogland. I am here in Stratton, Maine taking a “nero day” (short for near zero mile day) before heading out again. The last week has been really excellent. The weather has gotten alot better than it was back in the 100-Mile Wilderness. It’s still raining practically every day, but mainly at night now instead of while I am walking, which makes all the difference!

The General Store in Monson

The General Store in Monson

After the much needed rest in Monson, and after eating about as much food as I possibly could, I headed out again on the trail. Although isolated (well, at least in theory), the 100-Mile Wilderness is relatively flat compared to the rest of the AT in Maine. Once past Monson, the terrain began to get a lot steeper, and I have gone over three mountains in the past 73 miles. I didn’t get to spend too much time on the first two (Moxie Bald and Pleasant Pond Mountain) because of inclement weather, but I was able to appreciate the view and be awed by nature’s raw power.

Moxie Pond BaldSummit of Moxie Bald Mountain

After tackling Moxie Bald and Pleasant Pond, I passed through Caratunk, Maine where I said goodbye to the K-Bob Sisters. We had hiked together since Katahdin, but they were hurting too much and decided it was time to stop walking for a while. I was sad to see them go, I jokingly referred to them as my “trail moms.”

Caratunk was pretty cool because I go to cross the Kennebec River via canoe. The Kennebec is about the size of the Brazos and is the largest stream crossing along the entire AT. Instead of routing the trail to a place where there is a bridge, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club in the infinite wisdom runs the trail right into the river at Caratunk. This was somewhat intentional, because when first blazed back in the 1930s, there was a ferry across the river at Caratunk. For whatever reason, the ferry was discontinued for a while, until a hiker drowned back in the 80s while trying to ford across. Now they make a big deal about NOT FORDING THE KENNEBEC IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! All this is to say, I got to ride in a canoe across the river with this crazy guy who wore a felt hat and gave up shoes for a while and ferries hikers across all summer. It was pretty neat.

After canoeing across the Kennebec, I continued heading up into the mountains, but not before stopping for Tim Harrison’s famous 12 Pancake Lumberjack Breakfast. Tim has some land up near the trail on Pierce Pond and rents out log cabins to vacationers. Since his place is so close to the trail, he also serves up his famous breakfast to hungry hikers who camp at the Pierce Pond Shelter. Since “breakfast is just really important to me right now” (that’s for my Friends 2.4 and 2.4) I actually switched around my schedule for a few days just so that I could have the breakfast. The breakfast was huge and amazing. Tim is pretty crazy however, and he lectured me about the coming New World Order and how the Census Bureau is in league with the Socialists, Fascists, universities, Obama, and Bush to ruin this country by installing GPS chips in our brains to help counteract the coming Swine Flu Pandemic and the Amero (whatever that is). It was pretty hilarious. I just nodded my head, and tossed in the occasional “Oh yeah, them!” and avoided talking about my mom, the Democratic state representative.

The Lumberjack BreakfastThe Lumberjack breakfast


View over Pierce Pond

Pierce Pond had significance beyond the Lumberjack Breakfast because it was pretty much my last flat day until Vermont. From there on out, the trail is like an EKG-readout, up 3000 feet, down 2000, up 4000, down 1000, over and over and over again until I am past the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

The night before I headed into the Bigelow Range, I was happy to meet up with Pilgrim, Crow, and Lawdog, three fellas from Tennessee I met back in Monson. It’s nice to have some “southern company” out here in the wilds of New England. Crow has a Franciscan prayer book so we have been reading through some of the liturgy each night and taking communion on Sundays, which has been really great.

The last three days coming into Stratton have been spent tackling the Bigelows, which have been by far the most substantial peaks since Katahdin herself. The trail goes over four major peaks in the range, which we tackled yesterday. The terrain was pretty steep and rugged, but the views were absolutely amazing, and taking communion on top of Little Bigelow yesterday morning was definitely a highlight from the week. Perhaps the best part of all was reaching the summit of Avery Peak, the highest point in the range, where we found a watermelon waiting for us to devour. A family of dayhikers lugged the melon up to the summit and offered us their substantial leftovers. It was true “trail magic.” Here are some of the best pictures from the Bigelows:


Me overlooking Avery Peak from Little Bigelow


View from Old Man’s Head in the Bigelow Range (Katahdin is somewhere way off in the distance


Sunlight through the clouds, overlooking the valley


Sunrise over the Bigelows

Well, this post has been really really long, but hopefully it’s been worth the read. Leave comments! Also, if you want to send me a snailmail letter (preferably accompanied by baked goods!), please send it to the following address:

Robert “Tex” Kent
c/o Pine Ellis Hiking Lodge
20 Pine St., PO Box 12
Andover, ME 04216

Also, if you aren’t following me on Twitter yet, you really should! I have been posting there pretty frequently. Check it out on the right side of this page or go to my Twitter page here.


11 Responses to “More than halfway through Maine!”

  1. uncle craig August 26, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    hey nephew, MamaLou gave me the news about your scholarship. Congratulations or should I say “kudos and many more kudos to you”

  2. Sara King July 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Wow! The views must be amazing! Thanks for the picturesque report of your peripatetic adventure!

  3. Nick (Deere) July 30, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    Hey I have just found out about your blog. Its great. Keep up the good work. Also, I would be careful your mom is probably already a member of the New World Order, and you might be next. I will be praying for you and reading you posts now.

  4. Claire July 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    I enjoy reading your well crafted blog entries. The pictures are beautiful. Yay for seeing New Hampshire in the distance!! Keep walking

  5. Molly July 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    thanks for the shout out buddy! i love all your pictures, and i’m glad to hear that it sounds like it’s going pretty well! miss you friend.

  6. Christy July 28, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    Hooray! Dr. Pepper sounds quite delightful–its not present here in the BKK, but I have to avoid sodas since I tend to dehydrate easily…even though Im not trekking around the trail. the trail would murder me. you should read about my latest experience in your e-mail! sorry it took me so long to respond!

  7. Emily Johnson July 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    Love seeing the pictures! So glad you’re getting to enjoy the beauty of Maine! (sorry the weather hasn’t been so great…this has been one of the rainiest summers on record for us) Today was a soaker for us…hope you’re staying dry! So glad you’re meeting up with people too…I got to meet some through hikers in NH…very cool ppl. I’m enjoying reading your posts! =)

  8. Ryan Maxwell July 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    amazing pictures, dude. thanks for sharin’ the adventure. i just got back from camping/hiking (a little ) near Kremmling, Colorado. It was great and I thought of you multiple times and wondered how the trail was going…

    along with david- also prayin for ya.

  9. David Leverenz July 22, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    k-bob sisters? ow ow.

    anyway, i think you should know i laughed out loud by myself for a while when i read the bit about the lumberjack breakfast guy. i also don’t know what amero is, but it sounds like it’s up to no good.

    i think it is so great that people can still have adventures like this in real life. praying for you buddy.

  10. Julia July 21, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    oops, reverse that: heal those heels!

  11. Julia July 21, 2009 at 3:04 am #

    Robert, your pictures and stories are awesome! You’re starting to look like a real mountain man! And I’m glad you have met some good friends . . . TEX! 🙂 Your facial hair even looks Texan!

    I am a little concerned about your feet. Are all of your toenails bruised? The only other options I could think of were that you found a #2 pencil and got cracking . . . or the intense mud stained your toenails.

    Well maybe some special baked goods will heel those heals (etc.)! For how long can I send items to that address?

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