We backpacked 16 miles today in order to reach my car, that was spotted at Abol Bridge at the end of the Hundred Mile Wilderness. I pitched it to the guys that our goal was to walk 12 miles again, a distance that we had been accomplishing the past few days. That 12 miles would have put us at the last lean-to, at Hurd Brook. When we reached that empty shelter, on a day that was clear and sunny, with ample daylight left, four more miles ( flat terrain) to the Appalachian Trail Cafe for dinner in Millinocket were easily completed.
Here are some photos from our last day:
Jocomotove and I successfully shuffled over the slippery log bridge above Rainbow Stream. G-Man walked right through the water.
The floor of Rainbow Stream shelter has the original baseball- bat style saplings. Only in Maine. Not so comfortable for sleeping on a thin foam mat. My Neo Air had no problem with it.
The only uphill of the day was just 400′ of elevation over the always astounding Rainbow Ledges. Joe and I took a break here. We had an 18 year old female thru-hiker named Sprout take our picture. I was in awe that a young woman just out of high school could arrive at Katahdin looking as fresh as a spring daisy after 5 months on the AT.
After we descended the Ledges, the trail meandered through a Lord of the Rings landscape.
When we reached Millinocket, we bee-lined it to the AT Cafe, where I phoned up Ole Man to find out how the thru-hiker evacuation played out.
It was no surprise to me that it did not end well. Ole Man said that when he got the guy in his Suburban, the hiker’s ankle didn’t seem to be that much of an issue. The trouble started when the hiker absolutely refused to leave the Suburban to go into the clinic and have his injuries assessed. Next! Other than the $20 bill I gave the guy, he had no money, nor any credit cards of his own. How was he going to pay for his expenses in town. The young man had told me that he planned to call his father and have his father help him pay for stuff. Ole Man said that didn’t pan out either. The guy’s father only had an American Express card, which Ole Man was not set up to process, either at the AT Lodge, which is the hiker hostel in town, or at the AT cafe, which Ole Man also owns. Normally, folks have a backup to an American Express card, which tends to be declined at backwoods Maine businesses. So, at the end of that day, Ole Man brought the fellow over to stay at his Hostel. Maybe a solution could be achieved to help this guy get back home? That next morning, Ole Man had to leave early to shuttle some folks to the AT. When Ole Man came back to assist the hiker, he discovered that the guy had just left, without a note. Vamoose ! End of story.
Ole Man said that he has usually just one thru-hiker case every year that leaves a bad taste in his mouth. I was the guy that made that happen in 2014! Ole Man let me know that there were no hard feelings between him and I. I volunteered to cover the charges that the fellow rang up, but Ole Man would have noting to do with me paying.
In retrospect, I would have done the exact same thing if I encountered another injured hiker in need out in The Hundred. People can get lost and die out there.
So Ole Man would get in his Suburban yet again, probably sometime soon, to evacuate the next injured hiker. I hope that hiker, has a means to pay for the time, gas, and lodging that Ole Man would offer, as he does day after day, many times a day, in assisting hikers as they experience all the jewels along the path that the Appalachian Trail has to offer.