Day 143 – Saturday, July 30: Stratton Motel and Hostel (Stratton, ME) to Avery Memorial Campsite, 8.1 miles, 2,009.0 total AT miles.

We woke up late, stiff and sore. We still needed to get to the post office to pick up bounce boxes, head over to the town market to finish our resupply, return to the post office to mail off new bounce boxes – and get this all accomplished before our 11:00am checkout.

I walked across the street and purchased a couple cups of motivation coffee for myself and Greyhound before heading down to the post office. I picked up my bounce box, and a nice care package from my mother, and headed back to the motel. Greyhound was working on her journal and talking to her mother when I returned.

We started organizing our food and making lists. I had too much beef jerky and way too many protein bars, both items I’d lately been having a very difficult time choking down – no matter how hungry I was. I shared my rations with Greyhound before we both headed across the street to the market to finish our resupply.

I tried to buy exciting foods, like turkey pepperoni and mini-swiss cheese wheels, anything to spice up my trail menus. We returned to the motel and finished packing, dropping off the key at 11:00 on the dot. I carried my bounce box (full of beef jerky, protein bars and rice sides) down the street to the post office to send it up trail.

We were both hungry and decided to stop at the Looney Moose for lunch. We both had amazing burgers and Greyhound slammed a milkshake. (She talks about missing “malts” – I think I know what she’s talking about.)

After a delicious and polite lunch, we caught a hitch back to the trailhead. And sit there. It was 12:30pm and neither of us felt like hiking. We were both exhausted, having not taken a zero since Hanover, NH. But that’s the pace we set for ourselves. It took some doing, but we finally got started hiking up the “last big mountain chain” in Maine – the Bigelow’s.

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After a few miles of flat trail, we began gradually ascending the South Horn of Bigelow Mountain. The trail, despite being steep, was very pretty. We caught views the entire way up.

It culminated in us eating snacks, enjoying a great sunset from the top of South Horn at 7:15pm.

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We started hiking faster, covering the three miles to the Avery Memorial Campsite in the waning light – we summited the west peak of Bigelow Mountain at 8:30 and booked it into camp. I listened to Bernie Sanders DNC speech as I hiked.

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We quickly set up our tents amidst the maze of campsites and loud Southbound hikers. We both cooked dinner quickly and went to sleep without saying much. We were exhausted – this schedule was more difficult than we imagined.

When we wake up tomorrow morning, we’ll only have ten days left before officially calling ourselves thru-hikers. Katahdin is just a heartbeat away. I can’t wait to be finished.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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