Journal 184-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

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Sunday–August 22, 2021
Trail Day–184
Trail Mile–-8.0/2049.1
Remaining Miles–568.3
Location–East Flagstaff Road, then to Hostel of Maine, Carrabassett Valley, Justin & Melanie Steele, Proprietors

I pitched camp, last, on the upper flanks of 4,000-foot Avery Peak–totally alone, save for the presence of those ephemeral lingering shadows shrouded by time. In the selfie posted here, the trees aren’t all leaning and falling down; it’s their upright stance on the steep slope where I pitched!

This morning I manage to break camp, fetch water from the little spring box, get my pack up, and begin the final up-we-go boulder scramble. Rain seemed likely all night, but never came in, only the passing mist. The shroud continues to engulf me now as I climb, the spruce boughs collecting the cloud-laden moisture, then to “rain” it down. So, the boulders, which are treacherous enough to negotiate when dry–all wet, becoming even more dangerous. Slow, methodical progress, up, then up some more.

Near the summit of Avery Peak, just off the sidewalk-like stone path, affixed to a sentinel-like boulder up-crop, the easily overlooked bronze memorial to Myron Haliburton Avery…


I linger here the longest time, the vagabond mist whirling and driving through, while my even more fleeting thoughts of those grand trail building days whirl and pass, too, restless captives, vanquished by the evanescent mist.

Off Avery, down through more boulder-slick treachery, I safely reach Safford Notch (thank you, merciful Lord). And the final 700-foot ascent for the day–Little Bigelow. From the summit, as described by Atlas Guides, “A short spur trail leads to the western end of the Little Bigelow Mountain ridge, with a fine rocky outcrop. The view across Safford Notch to the Bigelow Mountains is one of the best you can get. To the north and south, Flagstaff Lake and the Crocker Mountains are on fine display, also.” Standing at the spur trail, I hesitate only a moment before continuing on–through the mountain-engulfed shroud. Sad and disappointed? Yes! But no complaining–none. Memories surely fade, the more for me with fleeting time. But to my dying day, I shall not forget the unbelievably stunning view of Avery Peak–from Little Bigelow…


 I stand on Little Bigelow
In all its majesty.
While full around, vast wilderness
Is all that I can see.

Once lived a man who loved this more, Than anyone I know.
Tears cloud my view of Avery Peak,
From Little Bigelow.
(N. Nomad)




11 Comments on “Journal 184-ODYSSEY 2021: Bama to Baxter-Hike On!

  1. Keeping up with your journey, am friends with Kim and Nathan. Sending good vibes as you continue your adventures. Your words and photos are beautiful and inspiring.


  2. Hang in there friend. You have motivated me to hike the AT. I am keeping all your notes. You can do this. Rest when you need to rest. See you for your birthday. We miss you.


  3. Wonderful adventure! I love contemplating your words as you journey and your perspective of the moment is uplifting and thought provoking. Makes me long to be back on the trail and soon will be. Thank you for sharing.


  4. I am a friend of Nathan and Kimm (actually a lifelong friend of his father and an almost 60 year friend of his mother). I have been following your journey and cheering you on. Thanks for the beautiful descriptions, the great photographs, and the joy you have brought to me with your hike. Be careful, please.


  5. Keep on truckin Nomad. Praying for your continued safe travels and enjoying the journey from my armchair this go-round. Sheltowee


  6. One step at a time! I was just at clingmans while I met a section hiker who was celebrating her finishing the trail with champagne. I mentioned you, she knows of you and has met you, as well as a lady from the Ga section president…I’m bad with names, anyway- you’re making an impact- keep it up. Much love from sunny St. Pete Fl. Cheers!


  7. You Sir, are inspiring. On this last leg of your trip I hope the trail reveals something new to you that you’ve never seen before. I hope nature opens up and embraces you and that you are allowed glimpses of the active ways that you have impacted so many people along the way. Do you know John Denver and like him? I always have. As he would say I hope that your senses are filled “like a night in the forest”. Blessings abound and that you are able to know them when you see them.


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