Day 163

Today is a zero day in Monson, Maine.

I think I have my food supplies set for the trek through the 100 Mile Wilderness. I am going to carry 7 days of supplies. The most I ever carried on this journey.

After I exit the 100 Mile Wilderness, I estimate it might be two more days until I summit Mount Kathadin, the last footsteps to take on the Appalachian Trail for me. My emotions are all over the board.

Thoughts and dreams of Mount Kathadin have filled my head every day since I started thinking about this moment about 1.5 years ago. Today, I feel a strong pull towards Kathadin, wanting to get there so bad and other parts of me not wanting this to end so badly. Destiny wills me forward. I shall hike on and if fate allows it, I shall summit and I will be a Thru Hiker on arguably the most difficult long distance hiking trail in the world.

This journey was never about conquering the trail or the mountains. For me, that would be a false illusion. Nature is not to be conquered. I worked with nature to make it this far, nature allowed me to pass through. This journey is more about what is within me and having the total freedom to rediscover self, time and place. For me, this only happens out in nature and after nature has exhausted you and stripped away all false pretense and artificial worthless barriers that were put up as societal protections. Only then, does the real you announce itself. Kathadin may be the end of the Appalachian Trail (it’s so hard to even acknowledge that fact), but it is not the end of my journey, not even close. The AT and I have bonds that cannot be broken. The trail will be with me forever. The trail has taken so much from me, but it has given me far more back for sure. It has restored my faith in humanity, it has shown me true and unconditional love, it has restored my confidence, I got to know the real me again, it has given me the ability to care and look out for others again which includes strangers, I have no self doubt left, lifes regrets no longer exist, I do not care what others think of me, I am strong and know how to get through very rough days, I am more compassionate, more open, more sensitive, more thoughtful and I am much tougher, stronger and resilient than before. There is so much more I could add.

I hit the trail tomorrow morning, continuing on the hardest and most amazing accomplishment of my life thus far. I am not sure how I will handle the transition to the urban world yet. I am also ok with not knowing, it may be difficult. The trail will be with me and when I need some help, I know the trail will provide what I need. That statement would have sounded so strange and odd to me before the trail. Now, it is just a reality that is.

Below are three quotes resonating with me.

Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never pushed through the obstruction.” – William James, American psychologist and philosopher

As I go forward, I am not sure how often I will be able to publish blog updates from the remote forest. I will post as resources allow, but there may be a time lag.

114.5 miles to go on the AT. 114.5 beautiful miles. Sending love and best wishes to all who have supported me.

21 thoughts on “Day 163

  1. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Jason, you have become so expressive and eloquent. I’ve read every single word you’ve written from day one and you’ve impressed the heck out of me and others. I never doubted you that you could do this. I just wanted you to stay healthy and happy. I’m thrilled you’ve done both and SO much more. I’m so proud of you doing this, and am humbled that you chose to share your adventures with all of us.
    You are, truly, an inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Your support matters to me. Hiking alone a lot, and more so the further north I went as many hikers dropped out along the way for lots of reasons. Support from people who care is what I have drawn on in the hardest times to help keep me grounded, mission focused and not alone. I am greatful! See you soon.

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  2. Jessica, Chad, Dean and Ryan August 13, 2018 — 8:28 pm

    Beautifully written Big Brother. Our thoughts and cheers are with you on the final leg of your journey. Stay safe out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Safety is job one as the old car slogan went. Safety on the AT, that would be an interesting conversation…I might blog about it sometime.

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  3. PartAnimal PartMachine August 13, 2018 — 8:58 pm

    PC, you are becoming undomesticated and of the wild. Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it. Allow the dream for your life, modeling the way. Being present, with gratitude and reverence.

    For the wild, with loving kindness

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “You’re off to great places
    Today is your day
    Your mountain is waiting
    So get on your way”
    Dr. Seuss

    May you savor every remaining step.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will begin my journey Jan 1. Your blog has been an inspiration as I seem to be at a similar place in my life. I’ll turn 53 on the trail and as it looks now I will be doing it solo. I am at peace in the woods and can’t wait to begin. Thanks for the insight, and raw emotion. I live about 7 hours from Katadin. I would be willing to pick you up and bring you to an airport if needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. January is that very far away. I am excited for you. It would be fun having a trail birthday. Thanks for the offer of a ride, I will see how things go and the dates. I should be able to make something work

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      1. Ok good luck and stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you are aware how impressed we are with the physical, mental, and emotional strength you have shown throughout your entire journey. The pictures and your ability with words are wonderful. I’m sure your endurance and all the best wishes of family and friends will guide you safely through these last “few” miles!!! It will be like not wanting a good book to end. Take care, and all our best wishes to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much Red and Judy, I appreciate it.

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  7. I often felt, like I told you that I wish grandma Cramer was still here, as she would share in the worry of your journey, then I realized she was with you the entire time. So much love being sent on your last 100 miles, always said if anyone could do it, Jason could. Please know your family has been with you every step.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Been following you the whole trip, as you started a week before my daughter. She reluctantly came off TBE trail in Virginia as she had to start her new job in Maryland. I am in Maine and excited for you, that you have made it. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sir, that means a lot. I wish you and your daughter the very best!

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  9. Well now I’m crying. Joe and Marian you have raised quiet a guy, you should all be proud.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. PC, you’re a stellar human being and I’m glad you were able to find yourself again in the woods. I am so happy for you and it’s been really freaking cool that you wrote all about it. You will appreciate this more when you’re older too, and so will your family. Coming home won’t be so bad, we’ll help stir up some fun things for you. Routine is comfortable, but also painful. Enjoy your last few miles and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Jason,
    I am so proud of you! Melissa and I talked about how much we want to be there to welcome you at the end of the trail. You inspired both of us at work to give our time, talents and efforts to make our workplace better for everyone. Although you were not as eloquent when you were inspiring us, what was in your heart came thru.
    I wish you good health and decent weather to complete this leg of your journey. Your personal journey is just starting and while we want you to return to us as our colleague and leader, we want what is best for you.
    Deepa

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  12. Enjoy your last days and absorb all you can. It will sustain you during the time of change. I hope we can learn from you and your experiences. I have never had doubt in your ability to meet this challenge. You are truly inspirational to us all and you are braver than anyone I know. I can’t wait to hear your stories. The concrete jungle awaits you but we are here to support you and it will be good. Enjoy the last of the journey and being totally present in the now! Enjoy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am just a normal person. I thank you for the support and the ability to attempt this. We are all stronger than we think, we find out how strong when our limits get pushed. I look forward to seeing everyone.

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  13. OK, J. Only 115 mi. to go. Looks like plenty of food. Sure, it will be difficult, but look what you’ve already done, man! When you get into Baxter State Park spend the night in Katahdin Spring Campground and get a good nights sleep (it’s just past Darcy Pond Campground). The AT will take you right to it. Next morning hit the trail just after dawn and you’ll be back down again by mid-afternoon.
    There are a lot of day hikers climbing as well. I had injured my knee back in the Whites and gone to visit my daughter in Washington, DC. After about a week, I drove up to Baxter and camped a few days to check out my knee -which seemed fine, then I climbed Katahdin. I met a young college kid on the way up and we passed each other a few times on the trail.
    When I got back down I saw him sitting on the curb in the Campground parking lot and asked him what he was doing -he was looking for a ride to the airport in Bangor. I gave him a ride right to the airport’s front door. Luck or what? 😉 He offered me some money, but I told him to keep it and buy himself a drink on the flight home- he was very appreciative. Bangor is only about an hour’s drive from Baxter State Park. I’m sure there are over-the-road interstate buses there as well (Greyhound or Trailways type buses). Maybe Noah (comment above) can help you out? You know there will be Trail Angels around… 😉
    But, I think there’s a good chance you can catch a ride right from the Campground into Bangor, and it might even make sense to spend an extra day at the Campground seeking a ride. There is a bulletin Board near the Rangers cabin, post a note seeking a ride to Bangor or make a cardboard sign to hold up on the roadway. Millinocket is the first town of any size just south of the Park… it’s a trail town and you could probably hitch a ride from there as well.
    In my case, my wife flew out to meet me in Bangor after I hiked, then we went down to Bar Harbor for a few days, and then we drove back to Mpls. via Wash., DC and another visit w/our daughter.
    I’ll be following you through the Wilderness, J. Stay strong, be safe and you’ll be fine on this last leg! Enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

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