Day 145: Baxter State Park Missed Miles

Day 145. “This is weird. I’m done … aren’t I? We climbed Katahdin yesterday, why do I have to hike again today?” Those were the thoughts going through my mind this morning as I walked the 10 miles from Abol Bridge to the base of Katahdin. With the myriad of emotions that flooded me yesterday, it simply didn’t feel normal to hike again today. But a thruhike is not complete until all the miles are accounted for, so off I diligently went.

After a massive town breakfast, of course.

The only hostel in Millinocket is called the AT Lodge, owned by the parents of Hippie Chick who owns and operates Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson. It’s a typical hostel, quite large with beds everywhere and laundry available. They have a small gear store, a kitchenette, and big hiker box … but not much else.

However, they also own the AT Cafe in town, and that one is a gem. I didn’t think I could eat breakfast this morning, after the MASSIVE celebratory dinner last night, but then I saw raspberry pancakes on the menu and my hiker hunger immediately kicked in. Damn you delicious mountain berries, you are my edible kryptonite.

Side note, I waited 140 days to get that famous hiker hunger, where no amount of food can satiate you, and hunger pains envelope your every thought. It finally hit me in the 100-Mile Wilderness. I think perhaps because I knew I had no way to get more food, was admittedly a bit short on supplies, and was pounding out big days to an emotional finish. So yeah, I was starving all week and could have rated my entire rations bag in one sitting.

The AT Cafe is awesome. It is all about and all things Appalachian Trail. The coffee mugs are hiker logos, the wall art is hiker cartoons, the ceiling is autographed hiker signatures from each thruhiker class, etc etc. it’s a really neat place and the food was outstanding. I downed my pancakes, an english muffin, and many cups of coffee , then we piled in cars and all headed back the trail.

Honey and Moon’s parents dropped us back off at Abol Bridge and we hiked the next 10, wet, humid, buggy miles in 3 hours. It was easy terrain, but for some reason was slow going (hmm, I wonder if the brick of pancake batter in my stomach had anything to do with that?). The short trail meandered along the Penobscot River, up a creek, and past Daicey Pond. All were beautiful, but not too much time was spent lingering.

I did take a side trail with Traveler (we were the only ones willing) to an amazing waterfall called Big Niagara Falls, which flows down the Nesowadnehunk Stream to the Penobscot (photo above). This was not the largest waterfall on the trail, but it sure was impressive. I may have submitted Katahdin, but I still wanted to enjoy the little things along the way while I could, and this small detour was well worth it.

All in all, it was a nice and short hike. I was definitely ready for it to end, but enjoyed the miles walked one last time along those familiar painted white blazes.

Back in town, I searched for some sort of artwork to bring home, and found a woodworking gallery where a local artist makes trail sign replicas. I bought a small wooden plank describing the Katahdin summit, and a few other nick-nacks for home. We had another big group dinner, then I cleaned my clothing and organized my gear one last time (happily theoomg our much of it that was beyond repair).

It’s quiet in the hostel, as everyone is sad to go home and leave this trail life. But the real life is waiting for me, and it’s exciting too. I haven’t seen my wife in weeks nor my puppy in months, and I’m eager to reunite with my family and friends back home soon. Tomorrow I’m on a shuttle/bus to Bangor, a flight to LA, and then the trip is officially, officially over.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!

  • Start Mile: 2190.9
  • Start Time: 10:15
  • End Mile: 2190.9
  • End Time: 13:40
  • Miles Hiked: 9.9
  • Miles to Go: 0
  • Lodging: AT Lodge (Millinocket, ME)