01 AT 2023-05-25 TH – hitchhike for 5H to start the hike

Summary: from Boston to Caratunk, ME.  Hitchhike 62 miles to Carrabassett Valley. Start the hike up Bigelow range.


05:02 AM wake up in Boston +9°C. Hang the bike. Water the plants outside.

05:38 ODO 0 miles – depart from home in good spirits

06:45 ODO 71 -first stop at a rest area in Kittery, ME I think I lost my glove somewhere, but soon I found it on the seat of the car. I have a slight headache from all the excitement of the trip ahead.  Listening to any sound coming from the car – would it behave well this time? Yes.  The engine sounds good.

09:20 ODO 207 – Hannaford at Skowhegan, ME.  I am buying oranges, blueberries, and strawberries for the road.

10:01 – 10:28 – large Black Forest Subway sandwich as an early lunch -$11.87. Also, I wash my berries here at the sink.

11:12 ODO 245.4 +11°C – I have arrived at an AT parking lot in Caratunk, ME where my car will stay for the next several days till I return.

11:33 – 12:19 – waiting to get a ride on route 201 going south. There are always doubts if there is anyone out there who will pick me up on a remote road. But every road already offers a lot of options. One only needs to wait. The cars pass rarely. Mostly they are super noisy trailers.  I continuously wave away bugs, alternating wearing and taking off a bright yellow jacket so that drivers would not associate me with the law enforcement.


12:19 – 12:43 – a ride with an older couple. The lady behind the wheel decided to turn back to pick the lonely hiker up. We drive 23 miles to Solon (where the bridge across Kennebec River is).  While driving, we are trading stories about ourselves. She was from Chkalov, WA named after Valery Chkalov (1904 – 1938) famous for his 63-hour flight from Moscow, USSR to Vancouver, WA, USA.

13:08 I crossed the bridge and entered the village of Embden, ME.

For the next several hours I am walking and hitchhiking in several vehicles. One contractor picked me up twice, as his itinerary changed.  I drove with the owner of Terrapin Hostel where I stayed September 4-5, 2022. I drove with a Trail Angel, whose wife called him about a lonely hiker on the road. Amazing!  Super warm thank you people who pick up hitchhikers near AT.

16:16 I arrived at the beginning of my AT section after almost 5H of travel in Wyman, ME. This is the latest I could have started the hike today. On Thursday, September 1, 2022, I’ve started from this parking into opposite direction at 16:19.

At first, the trail was somewhat familiar as I walked these miles on 2019-05-28 in the opposite direction.  It is flat, crossed by 2 roads, some small brooks, a foot bridge and overall is easy.

17:21 – 1.88 mi – 1400′ – my first milestone – Cranberry Stream Campsite at about 1.8 miles from the road.  Here I am. Simply sitting on the ground, eating 2 remaining mandarins, contemplating the day so far.  Marker shows 3.2 more miles to go to the hut.

17:37 – I see 2000 miles AT marker.  I think this is an outdated count, as AT grew, no one bothered to move the marker back. It will be sharp up from now.

18:49 – 3.19 mi – 2424′ – I am at the Bigelow Range trail merge. According to a sign- 1.9 miles remains, and the sun will go down at 20:15.

20:06 – 4 mi – 3400′ – as a sign of definite progress I am on top of peak near Horn Pond, but the view is blocked by the next peak.

20:28 – 4.5 mi – 3350′ – it is getting darker.  I am using my iPhone as a flashlight.  From the top of this next peak, I can see down to the pond and where the shelters should be. To walk this last sharply down small section, I took my gloves off “to be closer to the ground”, walking sticks in one hand, iPhone in the other.  Still, on a couple of occasions I did not know where to go next, where the trail was hiding from me. It is cold, it is dark, it is sharply down, but the day goal is close within reach now.

20:44 – 5.07 mi – 3151′ – I am at the shelter.  It is dark and cold. You can see each breath condensates outside the mouth.  No bug though. I unroll my sleeping bag and jump right inside it on the floor of the shelter. I did it. 5 mi in 4:25H. I eat my porridge (kasha from home), blueberries (from Hannaford), my dried fruits and nuts mix and go to sleep covered by tarp for one extra layer.  Second time I am losing my glove and decide to seek it tomorrow on the trail.

21:54 – second time I am finding the glove right beside me on the shelter floor. All food is very tasty, I am comfortable, and it is very cold outside my sleeping bag.

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Navigate through the List

  1. 00 AT 2023-05 Preparation for the trip (2023/05/24)
  2. 01 AT 2023-05-25 TH - hitchhike for 5H to start the hike (2023/05/25)
  3. 02 AT 2023-05-26 FR - jumping over 4K Bigelow peaks (2023/05/26)
  4. 03 AT 2023-05-27 SA - gloves and camera miracles (2023/05/27)
  5. 04 AT 2023-05-28 SU - hike, swim, enjoy solitude (2023/05/28)
  6. 05 AT 2023-05-29 MO - conquer last unfinished section in Maine (2023/05/29)
  7. 06 AT 2023-05 Summary (2023/05/30)

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