Day 179 – September 2 – 6.1 miles – Antlers Campsite to White House Landing
Elevation Change: 1132 feet
Around 2 AM a weather front made its way through the mountains of Maine. Wind crept over mountains and through valleys. Caressing the trees gently as it passed by. When it got to the flat section of Maine the wind began to relish in the freedom it now felt. It could go anywhere the wind took it. “I AM THE WIND!”, the wind thought, and started to throw its weight around. When it saw the long flat expanse of Jo-Mary lake, it saw what it must do.
It swooped down low and began to build up speed. It reached the shores of the lake and started to cross the smooth glass like surface of the water. The wind, now in a state of absolute bliss, speed up even more.
The wind bellowed, “I AM THE WIND”, and slammed head first directly into my hammock. I swung almost 45 degrees in the initial blast. My eye flashed open. I thought, “Whats going on?! Is a bear attacking me?” Then I heard the wind howling through the trees. The trees groaned loudly under the sudden pressure and I thought, “I really shouldn’t have hung my hammock here.” Then I fell back asleep.
A little while later, I got up to pee. I got out of my hammock, took a quick look out at the lake, and stopped. The wind had cleared away all the clouds. Seeing that it succeeded in what it set out to accomplish, the wind simply vanished. All that was left in its wake were stars. Thousands of stars.
The lake, now completely still, was the mirror image of the sky above. Standing there, on the small peninsula jutting out into the lake, I felt as though I was standing on the edge of the world.
Even though I had several interruptions during the night, I made sure to set my alarm to wake up before sunrise.
When the alarm went off I got out of my hammock, walked down to the waters edge to take a picture.
Then I came back to my hammock, sat down with my back against a tree, and looked off at the horizon. I thought, “I’m really glad I hung my hammock here.”
Later I found out that others in the Tramily saw the sunrise as well. Each enjoying it in solitude. I think that’s the way it usually is with sunrises. Sunsets are for the people. Sunrises are for the person.
After watching the sunrise, I walked around and took a few pictures.
Soon, there were sounds of people making breakfast, and packing up their gear. It was time to get the day started.
About 4 miles into the hike, we came to a small sign at a side trail that said, ” View of Katahdin”. Stoat and I were a few minutes ahead of Zeus and Flashfire. We figured we would check it out while waiting for them.
We followed the short side trail to the shoreline of the lake. The trail ended abruptly on a pile of boulders. We looked out at the lake, squinting to see if we see Katahdin off in the distance. We couldn’t see anything that looked even vaguely like Katahdin.
Then we turned left…and there it was. Mount Katadin
Our first view of Katahdin. The legendary mountain at the northern end of the Appalachian Trail. A mountain Stoat and I had talked about years before ever starting the AT.
Seeing Katahdin in person meant so many things. It meant that in a few days we would officially be Thru Hikers. It was the culmination of the last six months of hiking. It was also, the end.
It was a powerful moment for Stoat and I.
Soon we heard Zeus and Flashfire walking by, and called out to them so they wouldn’t miss it.
When they walked over, we pointed over to the spot where we were originally looking. They too squinted to see it. Then we pointed left, and then they too, saw it.
We celebrated by taking pictures and giving high fives,
but it wasn’t long until we found ourselves staring at Katahdin silently. It was the physical representation of so many emotions, that it was hard to keep our eyes off of it.
We sat there for a while, enjoyed the beautiful view, and tried to process what that big lump of rock represented.
There wasn’t much that could get us to leave that spot, but town food was one of them.
We had booked some bunks at the White House Landing Hostel for tonight, and the dock was only two miles away. “Dock” wasn’t a typo. The only way to get to the hostel was to be transported by boat.
White House Landing also had pizza and burgers.
We made really good time getting to the dock.
We got to the dock at the same time as some section hikers. We called the hostel and waited for our ride.
The boat couldn’t hold all of us so the Tramily opted to wait. We didn’t mind. It was a beautiful day out.
We got picked up a few minuets later and enjoyed the boat ride over to White House Landing.
When we pulled up to the property, we realized White House Landing was bigger than we thought. Along with a bunkhouse, there were several outbuildings.
After getting settled, I took one of the kayaks out for a spin.
After paddling around for a little while I came back to shore. The wind picked up while I was out. You know what that means…
Time to fly a kite from a canoe! Flashfire, Stoat, and I took out the canoe and got to work.
Zeus documented it from the shore.
After a few tries, we got the hang of it. Everyone got to take a turn flying the kite.
After we were done flying the kite, we paddled further out into the lake. When we looked back towards where we came, we could see Katahdin looming off in the distance.
When we got back, we had some time to kill. Walked around the property and generally just hung out..
When it was close to 5, hikers began gathering around the mess hall.
One thing I forgot to mention was that Sierra Mist and Sleepy Bear are here. They heard us talking about the place a few days ago and decided to stay here as well.
When the clock struck 5, we were allowed to enter the mess hall.
The menu was limited but looked delicious. Everything was homemade and the vegetables were fresh from their garden.
Zeus and Flashfire went for the burgers while Stoat and I went for the pizza.
Flashfire took a picture of her burger. Everyone else was too busy devouring their food to stop for pictures.
The food was really good.
After dinner, we spent the remaining late afternoon hours watching the sun slowly set from the front lawn.
What a great way to spend one of the few remaining days on the trail.
45.7 miles to go