ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Yes folks, Nimblewill has laced up his Oboz trekkers and is shouldering his Murmur backpack
one more time–for the last, last time!

This year’s odyssey will be known as “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter – Hike On.”  This will be the ultimate journey in this old man’s life, one of body, mind and spirit.

This trek begins at Flagg Mountain, the southernmost mountain in the Appalachians
Mountain Range. From Flagg he’ll follow the Pinhoti Trail through northeast Alabama into
Georgia where he’ll connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail–which leads to Springer Mountain
in north Georgia. On Springer Mountain he’ll pick up the Appalachian Trail and hike it on to
Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Journal entries and photos will be posted often. Gonna be another predictively unpredictable
Nimblewill Odyssey – Bama to Baxter 2021 Hike On.

Sure be great to have y’all come along…

Journal 163-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–August 1, 2021
Trail Day–163
Trail Mile–-15.4/1,871.1
Location–Begin at spur trail–Mile 2094, hike southbound, end at ME-15, then to Shaw’s Hiker Hostel, Monson, Maine, Jarrod Poet & Kimberly Hippie Chick Hester, Proprietors

It’s great to be back in Monson again. Wonderful memories, but a sad time reliving them. My dear friend, Sydney Pie Lady Pratt, passed away in 2015. Her lovely old home/hostel is once again a private residence. And Shaw’s Boarding House, now Shaw’s Hiker Hostel, a fine tradition since 1977, that tradition being carried on by Poet & Hippy Chick–yet, and at the same time, I miss the Shaws, Keith & Pat. Keith passed on in 2004, Pat, recently. So, yes, definitely a melancholy time.

I met Poet & Hippy Chick a few years ago. They’d attended Billy Goat Day in Florida. So, good to see them again and to see the great success they’re having with their hostel here!

Nathan and I are able to get on trail 15 miles north of Monson. Kimm drove us up a wide paved road, then a narrow paved road, and finally a rutted gravel road, up the mountain to a dead end parking area. From there, a spur trail gets us on up to AT Mile 2094 where we head southbound.

Turns out a long, difficult go of it–up-mountain, down-mountain, a fair amount of hand-over-hand up, shinny & skid down. Plenty of rocks, off-camber boulders, plus corrugated root tread. Over eleven hours on trail to cover the 15 miles. But the ruggedness also brings unequaled beauty. A visual jolt, the forest here compared to further south. Birch, fir, spruce, waterfalls, the delightful high-mountain ponds, beaver. And the loon, I hear the unmistakable beckoning call of the loon, a sure sign I’m in the north woods.

 Some of us are drawn to mountains
the way the moon draws the tide.
Both the great forests and the mountains live in my bones.
They have taught me, humbled me, purified me and changed me.
(Joan Halifax)

Journal 162-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Saturday–July 31, 2021
Trail Day–162
Trail Mile–-0.00/1,855.7
Location–(A zero-mile day traveling), Shaw’s Hiker Hostel, Monson, Maine, Jarrod Poet & Kimberly Hippie Chick Hester, Proprietors, AT Mile 1,437

Today will be a zero-mile day as I travel to Maine with Nathan & Kimm Wright. Our destination is Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson, an Appalachian Trail icon since 1977–now owned and operated by Poet & Hippie Chick (GAME ’08)

We’ve a long day’s travel, arriving a little before five. Hippie Chick greets and welcomes us. After getting checked in, Kimm shuttle Nathan to a nearby AT trailhead so he can close a short three-mile gap to reach the point where we’ll start our hike into the 100-mile wilderness tomorrow. He finishes just at dusk.

Evening is spent planning our itinerary north.

A blessing–the ride today, I had the back seat all to myself, and was able to get my feet up for a much needed break.

 

 Rest and be thankful.
(William Wadsworth)

Journal 161-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Friday–July 30, 2021
Trail Day–161
Trail Mile–-12.1/1,855.7
Location–NY-52, then to Days Inn, Southington, Connecticut, AT Mile 1,437.0

Extra time this morning is needed to clear our room at Bear Mountain Bridge Motel, and move on. Breakfast is again provided by Perry, compliments of Grandpa. What a great stay we’ve had with you, Grandpa. And thanks for your generous gift–to boost this old intrepid on up the trail!

Second sad start-off this morning. Yesterday morning it was goodbye to St. Paul. This morning I bid so long to both Barry and Potato Chip. Chip is a much faster hiker than me, so she’ll soon be far ahead. And Barry, he must return home to Alabama. Thanks, Barry, for all you’ve done to support me–an amazing commitment of your time and resources!

More anxious anticipation this day, as Nathan and Kimm Wright are coming to pick me up when I complete my hike this afternoon. I’ll be going up to Maine with them. There, day-after-tomorrow, Nathan will begin his hike up the last and final segment of his 18-year goal of section-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I want to be there with this dear friend, to share in his joy of finishing. So, at Monson, we’ll enter the 100-mile wilderness together, then climb Mt. Katahdin–together.

This day’s hike goes quickly, around Canopus Lake, up and over Shenandoah, Hosner, and Stormville Mountains.

Nathan and Kimm are right there waiting for me at NY-52 road crossing–and we’re off to Maine…

 

 Anticipation is a gift.
Perhaps there is none greater.
Anticipation is born of hope.
Indeed it is hope’s finest expression.
(Steven L. Peck)

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