Wow, what an experience. This part of Maine is true wilderness. I have been very fortunate to experience its wildlife up close and personal. To date, I have met several moose, mink, otters and even a bear on the trail during my quest to meet up with Fred and Karrie. Yesterday during a tremendous down pour (and yes, it's still raining), I was rescued by a lumber scout and his lab. He felt sorry for me and drove me down a boulder strewn road that I was unable to traverse with my low-rider van. The fog is lifting and I hope to actually see a mountain today in Rangley. Fred and I will be removing our feet from the trail here but not our hearts.
Karrie, Looking back in June 2011: My father, Fred aka "Big Dipper" had been my comparable and indispensable companion for three weeks. We had near perfectly matched stride and humor. And he's probably the only person in the world that I could stand to hike with for that long. Now it was going to be just me.
My Aunt Vickie had been our car support--always racing to the next AT road crossing with fresh water, and chocolate. She'd tells us what to look out for up ahead, had already made reservations at a hotel in the next town and had climbed every peak from here to the border in her free time. What a woman. She even managed to squeezed her way into the 100-mile wilderness to meet us--giving us and all those that hiked with us a major advantage for weeks.
The day Fred and Vickie left I hugged them one last time and turned anxiously to the woods. By that evening, they would be back in my hometown, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 7 states away, and I in unfamiliar woods, with a backpack and the rain.