October 1: mile 2185: base of Mount Katahdin

I woke up early to make sure I had enough time to do the eighteen miles.  There is no cushion left; I have to climb the mountain tomorrow and fly out the following day.  The weather was sunny and cool with perfect conditions.  I finished the eight miles of the hundred mile wilderness by 11:00 and arrived at the store next to the ranger station.  I bought a bunch of food at roughly triple price at the store.  It runs on generators due to there being no electricity in the park.  After eating my snacks and checking in at the ranger station, I set off to do the last ten miles into the park to the base of the mountain.

Baxter State Park is a bequest from the late governor Baxter.  The bequest came with a number of strict conditions.  First and foremost he demanded that it be wilderness first and recreation second.  He forbade any roads or infrastructure and mandated that no more people could climb the mountain than could fit in the little turn of the century parking lot at the base.  Consequently, if you want to climb the mountain you had better get there at five a.m. for one of the limited spots.  Full AT thru-hikers finishing their 2100 mile trek are exempt from this limitation.

It is unfortunate that I had to hurry along the last ten miles.  The trail follows the Kennubunk river as it tumbles away from the mountain.  There were three waterfalls and numerous cascading sections.  It really was one of the most stunning sections of the whole trail.  It was also mercifully flat and smooth trail.  I made great time and arrived at the shelter at 4:00 in time to take it into Millinockit.  Rather than stay at the shelter at the base of the mountain, I stayed at a hostel in town about 30 mins away.  I gorged myself at the restaurant and got some needed rest before shuttling back to the mountain in the morning.  I made arrangements with my sisters friend Laura to pick me up at the hostel tomorrow.  At the hostel I ran into Captain No Beard who had summited yesterday.  He informed me that Dancing Bear and Dove had Summited three days earlier on the 28th.  After two suppers and six beers I went to sleep in the bunk room ready finish this thing.  Happy Trails.

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