All up early 5am, had a quick breakfast, changed into hiking clothes. My stomach was doing flip flops as we were all getting ready.
5:58AM – signed hiker trail register. There was a group that went ahead of us at 2AM to catch the sunrise. Other than that we were the only ones on the Hunt Trail.
Trail started out easy, but after Katahdin Falls it getting rockier and steeper, soon we were above tree line and it was harder w/many large boulders w/rebar on them. Hand over hand got us up. The steep scrambling kept my mind occupied as did watching and talking w/Pam, Elise and Ollie. This was a pleasant change, since most of my hiking was alone. Nights were where I met up w/other hikers.
After the “Gateway” the climb flatten out a little and you could see people at the summit. I could not believe this was it. I was about to finish. How would it feel? What next? My mind was going on overdrive, thought of Michael, my family, the Adaptive program and all the people that I have met on the trail. Ironic, 3 friends I made and started w/back on 4/1 were waiting for me at the top. How cool is that, that we all get to summit together. Also, thinking about the joy of having my wife finish with me. She really is a trooper.
As, I got closer I felt s strange calm come across me. Pam, Ollie & Elise went first to the summit so they could get my picture as I approached. I could see Moose, Tetherball and Inferno as I approached the sign. When I touched the sign I heard nothing. Not even all the people clapping and cheering. I just stood there and yelled to Michael “I made it”. I was frozen for a minute then straight over to Pam for a big hug.
I DID IT!!!! 2,179 miles I WAS THERE!
Took some times for hugs & high fives w/everyone. We even opened a bottle of champagne, lit some sparklers, took pictures and celebrated. After 45 minutes or so Moose, Tetherball and Inferno hugged me and were soon disappearing down the trail. I will miss seeing their warm smiling faces daily!
We took almost 5 hrs to get back down. It was harder than up.
I was kind of quiet, walking ahead lots of times, just thinking about the last 132 days. What an adventure. It seems like I just left Springer Mnt back on April 1st.
At 5pm I signed the last trail register and kissed the last white blaze and we headed home. My journey was officially over. I was feeling good.
I drove the entire 6 1/2hrs home. Beautiful sunset on Rt 95 and I sang the whole way home. I really missed music.
Now I have to try to return to a “normal “ life. I think it is going to be hard.
I love you all. You all have been great and so supportive of me and Pam.
|Moose, Inferno, Pony Tail, Tetherball - CLASS 2010 GA-ME|
|Ollie, Elise, Pam, Dave|
|Ollie - class of 1995, Dave - class of 2010<><> >>|