on 26 August 2009

The Syracuse Post-Standard and Motion-X cover the Groton Appalachian Trail Project.

The Groton Appalachian Trail Project raised over $400 for Groton High School's environmental science club, "Generation - Z" and $163 for the Nature Conservancy. Thanks to everyone that donated.

What a Journey!

on 05 August 2009

After Courtney came for a weekend we said our goodbyes to Lucy and entered the homestretch of the Appalachian Trail. Maine is truly a magical place. We hiked through moss and lichen-covered forests with majestical old-growth pines. We hiked past lakes without one house on the shore and heard the eery cry of the loon on numerous occasions. After picking up our last mail drop in the cool little town of Monson, we entered the "100 mile wilderness". We got dropped off at the trailhead by a guy in a pickup that reminded me of the scene in "Into The Wild" when Chris gets dropped off in Alaska. The sign serves as a warning to those inadequately prepared, however, the irony here is that if you truly are carrying the weight of 10 day's worth of food to satisfy your thru-hiker appetite, there is no way you're going to make it all the way through. We did it in 4.5 days. The first half was a bit challenging and we didn't cover as many miles as we would have liked. There were a couple decent climbs and several rivers that we had to ford, the deepest being about waist-deep.The area wasn't as remote as I thought it would be. Over the years, logging roads have provided access for people so it is no longer essential to start at the beginning. I though we would only see other long-distance hikers but we saw many day hikers and boy scout groups. About 3/4 of the way through we got our first glimpse of Mt. Katahdin from the shore of a lake. The end looked so near, but in typical AT fashion, the trail took the circuitious route as it meandered through the woods for another 30 miles or so to the base of the mountain. Mt. Katahdin was like no other mountain I've ever climbed. For the first 1/3 of the way up the mountain it looked as if it were going to rain any second. People were actually coming down because they went part way up and turned around because it was windy and cloudy with no view. We kept truckin' though. Getting a picture at the end was imperative. As soon as we reached the treeline it began to clear up and eventually the sun even came out. After treeline we still had a 2 1/2 mile hike to the summit. We had great visibility at the top. They say Katahdin is a great way to finish the AT and I couldn't agree more. It is a special place with an indescribable view.I purposely waited a few days to write this final post about our journey because I needed a few things to sink in. We were in such a hurry to finish the trail but during the bus ride on my way home I was already missing the trail. It was sad because I was finished with the hardest but most rewarding thing of my life. I saw beautiful things that I tried so hard to share on here but they can only be experienced to give full meaning. Living homeless for 4 months is a great lesson. If everyone could live like we did for a week this would be a much stronger country. There would be less greed, more empathy, and more appreciation for nature and what we have around us. Right now I'm sitting at Collegetown Bagels in Ithaca drinking a coffee that was made with water I didn't have to filter from a muddy stream. My laptop is plugged in to free electricity and in a second I will use their flush toilet and wash my hands with warm running water. When I leave I will throw my garbage into their trash instead of sealing it up in a ziplock bag to carry with me. It's amazing!

The next step is to walk back into the classroom. I've learned that, one, this country is BIG (something you only realize when you walk it) but secondly, it is also very beautiful. The threats to that beauty are everywhere though. Invasive species are destroying our forests. Many of these threats are directly tied to us though and my pledge this year and the rest of my career is to help students make informed decisions about their actions...the importance of recycling and "voting with your dollar" to make smart purchases. Hopefully, it'll help slow down the rate at which the logging trucks take apart the forests of Northern Maine and beyond. Thanks again to everyone involved in making this project possible.

I'll end with two great quotes I came across while hiking:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
-Jimi Hendrix

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

My Final GPS Position

This is My Current GPS Position:
Latitude: 45.904452
Longitude: -68.921442
Google Maps link

Sent from my iPhone