Monster Mountain 6/28/2011

MONSTER MOUNTAIN

Katahdin means “Greatest Mountain.” Indeed, no better way to start this 2011 Thru-hike! Our pictures cannot truly capture the 45’ angle up-climb on the Abol Trail. We looked DOWN and saw a hawk hunting!  The AT begins at the top of the mountain, so we took the Abol Trail up: that way I truly started the AT from the sign at the top. Hello to Georgia!

On our way into Baxter State Park the other day, we picked up a hiker who was doing a road walk just to get to the trail. She’s also Southbounding and I hope to see her again. I think she summited Katahdin the day after us

Well, this is it, folks. No more nice, dry cabin to come back to after a walk in Baxter Park. No more glorious meals by Chef Ed Cobb. No more hope for a shower. The bugs are so bad here we are actually wearing long-sleeves and “nerd hats” (mosquito net hats). But the mosquitos here bite through clothing. Far worse than those in the Peruvian jungle.  Our next stretch is the 100 Mile Wilderness. We need to complete in 7 days because that’s all the food we can fit in our bags!

We are very excited. I’m so thankful Powder is here with me for the first week! I hope to make some thru-hiker friends in the next couple of weeks who will be my companions for the duration.

Thanks everyone again for your excitement, encouragement and prayers. I’m very blessed to be able to pause work for a while to do this. It is something I love, but will also be a great challenge. As I see already from the incredible pain in my knees and the incredible annoyance of man-eating mosquitos and black-flies.

Hurray!!! Everything a girl could dream of.

Oh, and I musn’t forget: I saw my first female moose yesterday standing in a pond right near the trail! And I’ve realized my trailname is “Bobwhite.” The whistle of the bobwhite has forever been the way my family “calls” each other. Instead of yelling “hey, you! Dinner’s ready” we simply whistle the bobwhite call. I’ll teach you when I see you!

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Road Trip North: 3 Southerners and a Wild Westerner

This weekend one of my best friends got married in Maryland. Jeff had only that day off in his tour schedule and I was prepared to say bye to him and all my friends at the reception. My folks drove their van to the wedding, fully loaded for “glamping” (glamourous camping) on our way up to Baxter State Park in Maine.

During the wedding reception dinner Jeff handed me a card:

Marie: (somewhat indignant) You keep giving me things!
Jeff: It’s only a card
Marie: Well, thanks for giving me a card in front of all of our friends.
Jeff: Yep!
Card: When you’re all packed up and start heading out the door, I’ll just wrap my arms around your leg and you can drag me there with you!
Marie: Ha ha, (somewhat sarcastic) maybe that’s the way it’ll go!
Inside of Card: But give me warning if you decide to take the stairs! (only he had crossed out “stairs” and wrote “the Knife Edge”)
Jeff’s handwritten part of the card:
I AM GOING WITH YOU!
Baxter to Monson! Wouldn’t miss it for the world!

So, my man successfully brainwashed me into thinking he was starting a new tour on Sunday, the day of my departure. And here he is sitting next to me, in the van with my folks and
WE ARE IN MAINE!! Yahoo! Just crossed the border a few minutes ago.

Jeff is very impressed with the Cobb tradition of car camping. Last night Dad made us steaks and for dessert port and chocolate. What Jeff doesn’t understand (he’s still learning) is that this is very normal for us. So ironic that we’re Southern Living up here in a the great North. The Northerners still haven’t won me over. I”ll give them 3 months!

Marie over and out.

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Bye Lukeworks!

I am incredibly thankful that I was able to be a part of the Lukeworks team for the past three years! They are a great group of guys! Now they’re back to being an all-male shop. Lucky them!

Well, the labor of my hands there is my fuel for this trip. My boss asked me the other day if whenever I get bored on the trail, if I might try to polish some stones in the river. Ha Ha! Nope, I’ve had my fill, thanks!

I’ll miss you guys. Keep on keeping on, and enjoy the free reign over the radio in my absence.

Lukeworks team (Mike left early! Sorry Mike!!!)

 

Casting an integral sink vanity

 

Ten Dollar Spoon

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope you’ll join me on my adventure via this blog! I will post when I can, but more often than not, my boyfriend Jeff (you will also see his trailname on this blog: “Powder River” or “Powder”) will post for me. My start date is Wed, June 29. The Day 1 hike is Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, ME. From there, I’ll just keep walking and hope to walk 2,179 mi to Springer Mtn. in GA, arriving sometime in the late Fall.

For the past couple months Jeff has transformed my thinking from a weekend hiker to a thru-hiker. It’s amazing how little time it’s taken to change my mind over many issues including gear and personal hygiene.

Thru-hikers and long distance hikers are a strange breed. I’ll refer to them in the third-person for now, because I still don’t consider myself a thru-hiker until I actually get out there… Their main concerns are very simple: pack weight and food.

Here is a small list of some of my past hiking concerns, and how I addressed them at that time:
– Body Odor:
– deodorant
– multiple changes of clothing
– Shelter:
– 3 season, 2 person tent, weighs 8lbs
– Camp kitchen:
– at times has included a backcountry stove (pocket rocket), coffee funnel, steel wire grill grate, mess kit, and a heavy stainless steel 2L pot

I won’t try to convince anyone of the thru-hiker lifestyle, because it is CRAZY. But like I said, the main priorities are pack weight and food. So everything else becomes minimized or thrown out of the line-up. I will not bore you with all the details of what I will actually be carrying in this first entry. It is interesting to some though, and I’m sure Jeff will post the excel spreadsheet with all the gadgets and their weights soon. I think my full adoption into thru-hiker gear mentality happened late one night at REI when I purchased a $10 spoon. It’s not just any spoon, it’s titanium (weighs nothing) and has a long handle so it’ll reach down into those big freeze-dried food packets… Anyway, you catch my drift, there’s much to say about the gear but I’ll spare you from nerd-dom for now. In brief, body odor will not be a priority. The tent I’m using weighs about 1 pound, and my camp kitchen line-up has been dramatically reduced to boil-water-only “cooking.” (All the Cobbs sigh in mourning).