Maine Appalachian Trail Hike Days 20 & 21: The Final Countdown

We woke up the morning of day 19 to another rain storm, which helped us get off to our slowest start yet. With only 14 miles on the docket we were in no rush to begin with. The terrain was mostly easy going with a lot of rocks and roots, which at this point is to be expected. There was only one real climb over Rainbow Ledges that was short, mostly gradual, and sweet from the blueberries on top.

Day 19 ended at the Hurd Brook Lean-To, which put us approximately four miles from Abol bridge and the entrance to Baxter State Park, and 14 miles from Katahdin Stream Campground — our base camp for hiking the Big K.

Day 20 — We woke up this morning and packed camp as quick as we could to hike the four miles out to the Abol Camp Store. At about nine in the morning I bought a frozen ham, egg and cheese sandwich that had to be microwaved — in other words, something I never would have considered eating under normal circumstances. This was washed down with a chocolate milk and some Gatorade. We then went back into the store and I got a pre-made (likely from yesterday) ham italian and a Giant Slim Jim.

Then we started hiking the ten miles into Katahdin Stream Campground and quickly realized that it isn’t a good idea to gorge ourselves after eating nothing but squirrel food for a week. All things considered, the hike through Baxter State Park was extremely easy, but for some reason it seemed a bit taxing, I think because my body knew it was nearing the finish line.

An interesting bit of Baxter State Park history that I learned from “Down East” magazine: In the 1930s Walt Disney sent an artist named Jake Day to the park, where he sketched and painted various wildlife scenes. Day’s artwork was then used by Disney’s animators to create the movie “Bambi.”

One nice thing about distance hiking into Katahdin Stream is that the Ranger Station has day packs that we can use to go up the mountain. We grabbed a couple of packs tonight to get ready for tomorrow. Brad picked out a nice bright Hawaiian floral pack, while I took a guacamole green women’s pack. Normally I might be a little self conscious about this, but after carrying those heavy exhibition packs on our backs for the last three weeks, the smaller and lighter the better.

On a completely different note, I’ve been applying an antiseptic ointment called Bag Balm that my mother gave me to sores on my feet and legs. I’m just now realizing that it probably isn’t intended for humans. The fact that it has an Agway sales sticker on it should have tipped me off. The special directions read: “Massage thoroughly and allow ointment to remain for full antiseptic and softening effect on the udder.” On the plus side my sores are going away and I don’t appear to be lactating.

Is it wrong that I was rooting for him to fall in?

Three weeks on the trail and it doesn’t take much to humor us.

A cool stretch of forest near the end of the 100-Mile Wilderness.

Abol Bridge marks the end of the 100-Mile Wilderness.

The Abol Bridge Campground store emerged from the wilderness like a mecca for junk food. Prior to this experience, I’d never seriously considered committing grand theft auto, but the Doritos truck with the keys in the ignition made me think twice.

There was some confusion as to whether Brad was permitted in the park.

Brad roasting his socks on an open fire.

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Maine, Maine Appalachian Trail
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Wow! You made it all the way to the bottom. If you enjoyed this article, please check out my book, Open Season: True Stories of the Maine Warden Service on Amazon or at www.wardenstories.com. You can also follow Northeast Hikes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as contribute to our sponsored Google+ Community.

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