Section 1 (AT in a Day)

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Mt. Katahdin to Maine 15 near Monson, Maine - 114.5 miles

Section Chief: Ed Jereb '66

Mt.Katahdin Summit to Abol Bridge - 15.1 miles

Hikers: Spencer Meyer '01, Jeff, Joanna, Leslie

This is my quick write-up of my part in the Dartmouth Outing Club's "AT-in-a-Day" challenge. The goal was to stretch hikers out along the entire 2,176-mile trail and hike the entire route in one day. Some 800 hikers were part of the effort. This challenge is part of the year-long centennial celebration of the DOC, founded by Fred Harris in 1909. It remains the country's oldest outing club.

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On Friday night, we camped in a lean-to at Abol Pines on the Golden Road. Jeff and I got going at 5:15 while Joanna and Leslie slept. Jeff and I crossed Abol Bridge and walked back to be sure we had our section covered then entered Baxter State Park on the AT. It was dark and raining steadily so we just cruised through the woods, under lamp but without much fanfare. Unfortunately, we couldn't see much during the beautiful stretch along the river. The two stream crossing were challenging and I was very glad Jeff had poles and was willing to share.

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It stopped raining just before we got to Daicy Pond and every once in a while we saw some blue skies shining through. We arrived at Katahdin Stream at 8:50. Joanna and Leslie had driven around to meet us for the rest of the hike. We switched to some dry socks and stocked up on food. ~10 miles down, ~9 to go.

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The four of us started up the Hunt Trail (AT). Between the daylight, drier skies and two more companions, the day was looking up. This was to be Leslie's first trip up Katahdin and Joanna's first for the year. We made pretty good time to the Gateway but then slowed down immensely as the crazy winds picked up. Once above treeline, we took the full force and passed several parties that had turned around. Things were mostly cloudy again, sometimes with very poor visibility. However, we were treated to a most amazing double-ended rainbow arching over Witherle Ravine (see pics). That was a real treat. Soon we were back in the thick of it and I paused a few times to crouch down. Seriously, I was almost blown over a few times...

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I expected the winds to subside a bit once we crested the Tableland but instead we were pelted with sleet. Good thing we were walking away from it, as when we did turn our faces to the southwest it was quite difficult to see. Goggles would have helped. Anyway, I urged the other three to head down Abol Slide. They were happy to oblige. Fueled and watered, I made a dash for the summit, about one mile away. The sleet changed to snow and ice was forming on the rocks. I talked to several good folks on the summit, some of whom had no business being out on this day. I congratulated a few thru-hikers on their finishes. I didn’t explain our stunt to them, for fear they would scoff! Some folks had come across the Knife Edge and were sorry for it. I didn't stick around too long and made it round trip from Thoreau Spring in just under 45 minutes.

Just as I was about to head down Abol Slide, the clouds lifted some and I got the best views of the day. They weren't much compared to sometimes but they were most welcomed on this day. The summit never came out of the clouds and it seemed to keep snowing up top. I caught up to the others about 1/3 of the way down the slide. For the rest of the trip down, the weather oscillated between big-flaked snow and sucker holes of blue.

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We were going to spend the night at Abol but since the weather for Sunday wasn't likely to be anything to write home about, we all agreed we'd rather spend the night in our own beds.

...and so we did. Despite some seriously schizophrenic weather we made our goal of hiking from Abol Bridge to Baxter Peak. Our section of the AT-in-a-Day was fulfilled.

Unfortunately, I understand we came about 5% shy of getting the entire trail hiked. I'm sure we'll hear a complete report in due time. Thanks to all those of you who participated in this extra-ordinary event!

Cheers,

Spencer ‘01



Abol Bridge to Polywog Parking - 17.4 miles

Hiker: Don Hudson '72

Overcast and rainy throughout -- temps in the mid- to low 40s. Despite a drizzly day, the hike was wonderful. I had not been on this section of trail in 36 years. It is much improved, especially down slope and heading east from Rainbow Ledges where significant rock work has stabilized the hillside -- not too far from Hurd Brook. Fall colors in a light rain or overcast skies cannot be matched, and the Maine Department of Conservation had announced on Friday that the best colors in the state would be in the Katahdin environs. No better way to see the sight.

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Approximately 17.4 miles. Three thru-hikers passed me. It's the season!

Here are three pics, the beginning, halfway (Katahdin in the clouds!), and at the bridge over the West Branch - Abol Bridge.

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This was an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate the DOC's 100th. Thanks to everyone who took all the time to organize and motivate the crew.

Don '72



Polywog Parking to South Parking Lake Nahmakanta - 8.3 miles

Hiker: Lisa Lessard '96


South Parking Lake Nahmakanta to Trail between Logan Brook Lean-to and East Branch Lean to - 29.8 miles

Hikers: Alice Bradley '11


Trail between Logan Brook Lean-to and East Branch Lean-to to West Branch Pleasant River

Hiker: Rex Holsapple '74


West Branch Pleasant River to West Chairback Pond

Hiker: Roger Gilmore '54


West Chairback Pond to Slugundy Falls

Hiker: Ed Jereb '66


Slugundy Falls to Route 15 - 21.3 miles

Hikers: Al Rollins '57 & Barbara Rollins '84


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