My Last 30 Mile Day on the AT

Bama➡️Baxter Day 167&168

Day 167: 30 miles

This morning I was up bright and early even though it wasn’t easy. My body was pretty damn tired and all I wanted to do was sleep in. But we had planned to do a big day today so I knew I had to get up.

I set out first and wound up going about 2 miles to the next shelter. Sweet Pea caught up to me and we both stopped off at the shelter quickly. Then continued along. I assumed that Boosted was gonna stop there too but he must have gone right by. We kept expecting that we’d catch up to him stopped off somewhere but we never did. When we walked by a beautiful lake we ran into a sobo hiker named Casper who was hiking with her cat Spook! It was the cutest thing I had ever seen. The whole scene really blew my mind. I stopped to talk to her for a bit before continuing along.

Casper and her kitty cat Spook!

About 7 miles in to the day we got to the next shelter and once again Boosted wasn’t there. Maybe he thought that we were still up ahead of him? But I was hungry and thirsty so we stopped quickly at the shelter for a break. Then we continued along to try and catch up to Boosted. There was a bit of a climb after that up Nesuntabunt Mountain. It was relatively gradual though and over quickly. Then we descended and the trail was incredibly gradual from there on out.

A beautiful lake that we passed by early on in the day.

We passed lots of beautiful lakes and ponds over the course of the day. At one of them Sweet Pea decided to go for a quick swim. I didn’t want to deal with getting my clothes wet so I just sat out and watched. Then we kept on going.

Sweet Pea going for a swim.

When we were around 15 miles into the day we went by another shelter. I was certain that Boosted would be stopped off there taking a break. But once again he wasn’t! And we knew he was up ahead of us because we asked a couple SOBOs if they saw a guy with a husky. What’s going on? We had been chugging along all day trying to catch him but we couldn’t keep it up. So we stopped off at the shelter and wound up taking a long break. A couple SOBO section hiking women joined us there and had seen Boosted. Apparently he asked about us and finally figured out that we were in fact behind him. Hopefully he will take a long break somewhere and we’ll catch him soon.

Another beautiful lake along the AT.

While we were breaking at the shelter it began to rain lightly. But it didn’t last long at all. After eating and relaxing for a while we continued along. The trail was so nice and easy. We were making fantastic time and I was feeling really good. From the shelter we wound up going for another 7 miles or so until we came to Rainbow Lake. The trail never passed by a nice shoreline or anything by the lake to stop off.

Only 25 miles to go to Katahdin!

Near the lake we took a super quick break just to shovel some food in. Then walked another couple of miles up to the top of Rainbow Ledges where we planned to take a proper break. The climb up to the ledges was nice and easy. And finally when we got up to the top we caught up to a Boosted! 24 miles into our day. It’s pretty hilarious to think that we set out from camp this morning and hadn’t seen him sense.

A river flowing alongside the AT.

When we finally sat down with him he said that he had walked a road at one point to cut off a mile. He thought that that was when he got ahead of us. But in reality he got ahead of us when we stopped off at the shelter first thing in the morning to use the privy. It’s funny how things work out. The band was back together now though!

A very cool little mushroom growing next to the trail.

All of us hung out for a long while up top the Rainbow Ledges. We were hatching our plan for tomorrow. I really would like to camp at the birches so that we only have to do 5 miles in the morning the next day to summit Katahdin. So we plan to get as close to Abol campground tonight as possible. That way we can wake up around 2-3am and be some of the first people there to sign up for the birches campground.

The trail heading up to rainbow ledges.

When we headed out from the ledges it was pretty much all downhill for the rest of the day. We hiked for about 2.5 miles until we came to one of the last shelters on the AT! I signed the log book at the Hurd Brook Lean-to knowing that it might be the last log book that I signed on the entire trail. That was such a damn weird feeling. Everyone inside the shelter was fast asleep pretty early. I’m sure they are all planning to wake up at the crack of dawn to try and sign up for one of the campsites at Baxter state park.

We kept on going from there and went for another 3 and a half miles. There was a perfectly mediocre stealth site that could fit all three of our tents. The site was only a mile from the Abol campground and the sign up list for the birches. So we could have a nice early start tomorrow and walk right over to the sign up list easily.

Sweet Pea taking a quick nap before we continuing on to do another 3 miles.

I got my tent set up and laid instead almost immediately. For dinner I made a good to go meal and then did my stretching. The guys and I talked about our plan for tomorrow. I wanted to be up sometime between 2-3am for sure. That way we could be at the list for the birches before 4am. I really think that we won’t be the only ones with the same idea. Once we had our plan situated I called it a night.

Day 168: 5.2 miles

This morning I woke up just before 2am and it was pouring rain. Goddamn it. I knew that was going to interfere with our plans. There was no way though that I hiked 30 mile days the last two days in a row to not get a site at the birches.

Officially exiting the 100 mile wilderness!

I went back to bed briefly but was back up at 3am and started to pack up. It was still raining but I didn’t give a damn. Once I was packing up the guys followed suite. We were up and out of the site before 4am and headed over to Baxter state park! Fortunately by the time that we were walking the rain had almost entirely let up. We got to the entrance to Baxter just before 4:30am. And to no surprise there were 6 other hikers already waiting there. But the first 12 people got to camp at the birches! So our mission was accomplished.

I made it! Bama to Baxter, baby!

One of the hikers laying in wait was Tailwind! It was so awesome to see him again. I figured he summited already. It was exciting to think that we would be climbing Katahdin with him tomorrow.

It was only 4:30am and we had to wait till around 7am for a Ranger to come over and sign us all up for the camp sites. So we just had to hang tight until then. In the early morning the mosquitos came out with a vengeance. They were some of the worst that I’ve seen so far on trail. But I was fully covered in my rain gear which helped a bit.

By 6am there were just short of 30 hikers lined up waiting at the entrance to Baxter. I was so happy that we stuck to the plan and got up insanely early. The ranger arrived at 6:45am to sign us all up. His name was Donnie and he was the nicest guy ever! Everyone was worried that the ranger wouldn’t let us sign up for camping and then backtrack to go to the general store down the street. But the store didn’t open till 7am so no one could go before hand. But he said we could sign up and then go to the store as long as we were back by 9am. What a legend!

Once our names were on the list we left our packs by the entrance to Baxter and all got to head over to the store. I got a few sandwiches there, some Mayo for the sandwiches, a bunch of sodas, and a couple snacks. We’re gonna be hanging out at the birches all day today so I wanted a lot of stuff to eat.

All the goodies that I got at the camp store by Abol bridge campground.

Let me just take a moment to say how crazy it is that I am officially at Baxter state park. For the last 5 months I have been saying that I’m walking from Bama to Baxter, and now I’m here. I have walked from Alabama to Baxter state park! Sure I haven’t summited Katahdin yet. But I will have tomorrow. It’s so hard to wrap my head around it all. It feels like I got here so fast. These last 5 months have flown by. Even having experienced a thru hike before and knowing how quickly the time goes by it still managed to blow my mind.

Once we got our food we walked back to the entrance to Baxter. We signed the sheet, thanked Donnie for everything, and headed in! I made it, baby! From there we only had 5 miles to get to the birches campsite. And it was a really lovely and gradual hike. There was a small bit of gradual ascent at one point but it was super easy. Before we knew it we were there at the campground.

The cruisy trial up to the birches.

Beautiful lush trail along the blue blaze to the birches.

The Birches has two small shelters and space for tenting. Each shelter fits 4 people and we were some of the first people there. So the guys and I dropped our things in one of the shelters. Then headed to the ranger station around 10:30am go get signed in.

The sign for the birches campground.

While I was talking to the ranger I asked her about the route that I had to take to connect my footprints along the IAT. She told me that you are no longer allowed to follow the route I had planned because you cross out of Baxter state park and into the Katahdin woods and water national monument. But on a bright side this meant that I had to resort to plan b. Which was descending Katahdin with the guys and going into Millinocket together.

Then the day after tomorrow Sweet Pea had said that his dad came drive me to the trailhead to get on the IAT. It wasn’t my original plan, but it was still a good one. And it meant I could spend some last time with the guys. Which sounded great to me.

After we signed in at the ranger station we got our new numbers for Katahdin! I was #1910 at Amicolola, #516 at Harpers ferry, and #315 at Katahdin. That’s pretty nuts to think about.

My Katahdin number!

From there we headed back and got set up in the shelter. Then I set my tent up to dry outside because it got soaked this morning. In the shelter the guys and I chilled out. I ate more food and then wound up laying down and napping. The guys fell asleep so fast but I was in and out. Though around 12:30pm I heard the crack of thunder and it began to rain. I ran out of the shelter to grab my tent and bring it inside.

Then I laid back down and lounged some more. It was so damn nice to spend the whole day resting! Days ago this is exactly what I described to the guys. I talked about the mileage break down and said that it would be so amazing to get to the birches early and get to spend the whole day sleeping. And now here we are!

By around 6pm I was laying down and was out for the night shortly after that.

The small bit of map that we have left to do on Far Out.

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Comments 5

  • Lish : Sep 4th

    I am so excited for the summit- I initially guessed August 6 but then Vermont so I’m guessing it was the 12th. I’ve been following since April and am going to miss Roxy (and the guys) but I’m hoping you keep on blogging so your huge fan club has an outlet! Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

  • Alex : Sep 4th


    I have really enjoyed your adventures with Sweet Pea, Boosted and Roxy. Looking forward to your blog on your summit hike. Please keep blogging so all of us can follow your journey on the IAT.

    Be careful and keep on trucking.


  • Lawrence E. Lefsky : Sep 4th

    Exciting! Almost at the end of the AT! I have enjoyed following.
    Out of curiosity what is the significance of the lowering registration numbers? Do they reflect the number of hikers to have come through and suggest that PegLeg has gotten ahead of 1500-odd other hikers?
    Best of luck on the next trail undertaking!

  • harold : Sep 4th

    Peg I have really enjoyed reading your adventures. You started about 25 mi. from where I live and admire your determination to make it to Maine.

  • Jeff Greene : Sep 14th

    The narrowing of the numbers is an impressive statistic on how hard that journey is! Congratulations!


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