Bird Man's AT Journal
Trail Updates and Photos from the 2002 AT "Flip-Flap" Hike
© Bruce Nichols - 2002
|Dear family and friends, |
The AT "Bird Man" has arrived in Monson, ME having completed the walk south from Baxter Park and Mt
I summited Katahdin on Aug. 2 in windy and foggy conditions on top [image1] [image2]. The last 2 miles of the 5.2 mile hike up from Katahding Stream Camp Ground were done in about 100 feet of visibility - but the trail is very well marked and this did not present a serious obsticle. I was one of the faster climbers of the day and met a few who were finishing their through hikes from Springer. It was very inspirational to see them arrive at the summit out of the swirling mist at the end of a 2168 mile foot journey. One fellow stopped about 10 feet short of the summit and waited for some friends who had joined him for the final climb. They all stood together waiting for the right moment and then walked those final 10 feet to the very top of the mountain and the very end of a very long journey.
I spent my first night at the through hiker shelter at the base of the mountain and started south on the 3rd.
On the 4th day I think my enthusiasm of the previous three caught up with me and also I began encountering
After the rains, the weather cleared and cooled and the remainder of the walk into Monson was really beautiful. The trail went up and down over rocky peaks with 100 mile views. I could see the white mountains (or at least the mountains of western Maine over 100 miles to the west and what I think were the Camden hills way off to the south. My last night in the 100 mile wilderness was spent at a lovely spot called Cloud Pond high up on the north side of Barren Mt. The large pond is nestled into a forested cleft and is clear and blue under the Maine sky. The night sky there was exqusite with the first of the Persid meteorites occasionally flashing by and a bright sattelite (probalby the Internation Space Station) making an unexpected transit of the night sky.
Just after dark a 20 something grad student girl calling herself "BlueBird" arrived after a 24 mile day. She had started N from Springer near the end of May and had done a really fast walk north to PA before flipping to Katahdin. She had been following my origami birds north to Harper's Ferry and was interesting in catching the "Bird Man". (It seems that my little paper offereing have been quite a hit on the trail this year). Yeatersay she and I walked down into Monson together swapping tales of our trail experiences and both stayed the night here at the "Pie Lady's". BlueBird pushed on early this morning to continue her rapid walk south so on this leg it will be the Bird Man reading her register entries.
There's so much more to tell. But the trail calls. Briefly. I met other hikers on the bus from Bangor who had enjoyed the origami birds as well as one lady who I'd also met back in Erwin. Here in Monson, I caught the Idahoe 4, a family of 4 (kids 6 & 8) who I'd met back in Damascus, VA and who had also recently flip-plopped and are heading south. I'm looking forward to more reunions on the trail and it's always fun to stop and share a few words with N Bounders who are near to finishing their journey.
Thanks for all the email that has come. I've read it all even if I haven't answered you personally. My next mail town will be Gorham, NH in about two weeks. Hope you all are enjoying life as much as I am.
Sending Peace, Blessings, and Love to all.
Bruce "Bird Man" Nichols
page created - 11/09/2002
updated - 11/22/2002
All text and photos © Bruce Nichols