Made for TV movie

Baxter Peak, Mt. Katahdin, ME, AT NOBO mile 2,185.3, Wednesday August 6, 2014 — Today was like a made for TV movie with perfect scenery, a thickened plot and surprise casting.

Imagine two thru hikers hiking in successive years. Each has walked all the miles except the climb to Katahdin.

Better yet, each one has vicariously hiked with the other through their respective blogs month by month, day by day; mile by mile.

What are the chances that they would find each other and summit together? Well it happened.

Tie Dye wrote a fascinating blog during her 2013 hike. Along the way, we struck up a conversation. In fact, she was responsible for shaping the tone of my own hike. I blogged about it in a post entitled “Conversion on the road to Damascus.” Who knew she was working at the AT Lodge in Millinocket.

Conversely, Tie has been following my blog and has encouraged my progress. I bumped into her when I popped into the Lodge to wait out the rain.

Today was her day off and we summited together. How cool is that?!!! Two hikes, two years and one goal.

We piled into the van, a bunch of hikers headed to the top of a mountain, bound together in common purpose.

The trail can be divided into thirds. The initial portion resembles most of the trail in Maine – roots, rocks and mud. It even has bog bridges. At treeline, boulders resembling Mahoosic Notch add challenge with less difficulty. The end is a tableland walk with a surprise ending. The final exam has a bit of everything.

The dark leaden sky blocked dawn’s early light as the forecast’s twenty percent chance of rain threatened. About 45 minutes in, the sky dropped its load. With those odds, maybe I should head for Las Vegas.

As we scrambled through the boulders, the clouds parted like the Red Sea and we could see forever. It was indeed a perfect day.

Thanks to family, friends, followers for coming along for the ride. Special thanks to Tie for sharing this special day. Without Fitness Together, this would have been a struggle. Please stay tuned for follow-ups , the anthology video and to see what comes next.

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32 thoughts on “Made for TV movie

  1. Awesome! Well done soldier – at ease ….
    Keep in touch. I’m curious how re-entry goes for you. I battled a raging inferno of an appetite without the ten hours hauling 30 pounds up and down all day to burn it off. I’m curious if this is an issue for you after months of eating anything and everything. When will you be home?

    • Jumping off for nine days to attend the wedding helped curb the appetite. Hiker hunger was just returning at the end of the 100 mile wilderness, so I think I’ve got a fighting chance. Before going home, there’s a yellow blaze to clean up from when I was hurt and wanted to stay with Swayed. I also have a meeting with some AMC folks in New Hampshire to talk about their brand identity with thru hikers. I’ll probably be home in a week.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Long time coming and journey is done! What an adventure!! Saluting you with raised trekking poles!!Now is the time to sit back and take it all in and figure what did it all mean! I’m so happy for you !!! Been waiting for that picture of you at the top! I hope to be there someday. What’s next for you?? Safe trip home my friend!! Thanks for taking us all on a great trip!!!

    • You and Dianne were fantastic trail partners and our association is one of the outstanding highlights of a memorable adventure. I am hoping to hike with you again in the future.

      • I will be out there probably next April / May picking it up at Hwy 309 headed to NJ. I have to finish PA!! After that, if I decide to jump up to the 100 mile wilderness and don’t have anyone to go with me maybe I’ll try to bribe you to come along!!!!!

  3. All I can say is “WOW” Jim! Congratulations to you for such an incredible feat. I am amazed at your determination and tenacity to complete such a journey. It has a tiny speck of a hold on me, maybe one day I’ll do the wilderness piece! I wish you well and a safe trip back to the ‘real’ world. It will probably not look the same for a while!
    I may be down to Kennebunk to visit my friend soon and if you are resting at Ed’s maybe we can swing by for a visit. If not, take care and know that I’ll be awaiting your video and subsequent blogs. They have been riveting excepts for a AT hiker ‘want-a-be’!

    • Donna, Thanks for welcoming a stranger into your home. It was “trail magical.” If muggles only knew. Will be at Ed’s later today, and from there will sort out a yellow blaze I have to clean up and a meeting in NH. Ed’s daughter Katie is home. I haven’t seen her since college graduation, so it will be a treat catching up with her exciting career.

  4. Congratulations. I really appreciate having you share your journey. I think it has been the reminders of the humanity involved both on and off the trail that have been so very rewarding. Again, congratulations.

  5. CONGRATULATIONS, JIM!!! We’re so happy and proud for you!! Larry and I were very happy to have been able to be included in your journey.. We enjoyed spending time with you and Swayed and were sorry to see you leave. Way to go!! What’s next on the agenda? Any plans for coming our way? DeeDee is flying into Manchester late tonight and staying until Tuesday early morning.

  6. Holy tamoly, Jim! You MADE it! Seems like just yesterday you were here doing a zero day because of loads of snow — eating fajitas and drinking Jim-special magaritas with us! Now it’s mid-summer, no snow, and there you are in photos, standing on the top of the world. Congratulations, my friend.

  7. Congratulations on your summit day. I picked up your blog this winter, and it was several weeks before I realized you were mid-hike. What a unique way to through hike, and stay ahead of the hiker bubble. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your progress. I would like to join your ranks as a through hiker one day, but I can’t afford the 5 months off right now. I’ll stick to sections — they’re fun, too. Thank you for sharing your journey with those of us still stuck behind a desk all day. I, for one, enjoyed reading. — Glenn Williams

  8. Great! Congratulations!
    I hope you are well and crack it to go back to everyday life. Not really easy, believe me.
    Respekt vor dieser Leistung!
    Ich freue mich fรผr Dich!

  9. Jim,

    I have so enjoyed traveling with you through your writings ever since we met last October in Hiawassee! I’ve loved seeing all your photos as Trillium, our daughter that you met as well, will be on Katahdin as early as tomorrow! Congratulations on a job well done! Thank you also for all your insights and for your honest sharings.

  10. Congrats Jim and thanks for sharing your journey. I have thoroughly enjoyed your daily writings and learned a lot too. You are a true inspiration. Hugh F.

  11. Jim,
    Congratulations on your Outstanding Victory. Thank you very, very much for sharing the adventure with us. I hope you keep the beard, I like it, it goes with “our” current Polar Bear image. I know Big Al would approve, and he is certainly smiling from Heaven regarding your achievement and sending a solid 31st salute with the rest of your bros. It has been too many years, next one is on me when we decide on an ORP.
    God Bless,
    George

  12. Hey Jim,
    I just finished reading your AT journal. It was great to meet you and thank you for putting me in touch with some wonderful hiking women.
    Amy

    • Hope it was helpful. I wrote it to maintain my sanity. Thru hiking us grueling and blogging was a release for my imagination. The women to whom I referred you are awesome each in their own way. I hope they can be helpful. Meanwhile, I’ll be thinking about how I can be helpful to you.

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