Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sweatin' to the Oldies in New Hampshire

Well, we finally got out of Maine. We did it in just over 3 weeks and we are really excited to be in New Hampshire. We're writing from the Gorham public library. We stopped in today to do a food and gear resupply. We hiked 12 miles into town today and we still have to do another 2 miles to the shelter that we'll be staying at tonight.

The weather has been humid and hot but at least we're not freezing at night anymore. We're starting to meet a whole lot of north bounders on the trail as well as summer camp groups. We're still hiking w/ Keith and Lisa (we're known as the "Joe's Hole Posse") and we're trying to catch up to our SOBO friends from New Jersey Bewildered, Tribo, and Little Debbie and the Carolina boys Spud and Nemo. Hopefully we can catch them before Mt. Washington, so we can celebrate together. The Whites should be awesome!

Just a quck thanks to all the folks that have been good to us on the trail, we really appreciate the hitches in to town! (high octane, honey & bear, bones to name a few)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

1 down 13 to go. 12% done!

Blake and Mike checking in here. We're on a pretty slow computer so this is going to be short.

We're at 'The Cabin' in Andover Maine. 'Honey' and 'Bear' the folks that run this place are taking great care of us. We slack-packed (hiked w/ day packs) today for 10 miles and came back here to the cabin for another night. (free of charge!)

Mike and I cooked 25+ burgers for the hikers staying here and we had another great meal.

Great news:< We'll be in New Hampshire tomorrow!!! Our next town stop will be Gorham, NH. Tomorrows hike will include the famous Mahosouc Notch. 2+ hours to go one mile up, over, and through house sized boulders and tunnels. We're very excited to be done with Maine. (second biggest state on the AT!)

On to the great White Mountains of New Hampshire. Health wise we feel good. Some sore knees and feet but other then that, we're doing great. Mentally we are still rarin' to go.

Blake & Mike
Super T & Don King

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

ya ya!

mike is right. The weather has been AMAZING. the hiking has been tough and rugged but the views have been so rewarding.

Thanks Mr. Rich! What a great suprise.

We'll be heading back in to the woods tomorrow, just stopping in to do some laundry and resupply. I'm excited to be heading in to NH but I'm going to miss Maine. what a state!


We are in Rangeley Maine now, and we have enjoyed some of the most beautiful weather over the past 30 plus miles. The weather was clear and sunny, and the views from the peaks have been amazing. We stayed on the summit of Sugarloaf Mt. and witnessed a breathtaking sunset on Sunday nite. We should be in Andover by Friday, then into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Thanks for the present along the trail Mr. Rich, the treats were great.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Stratton can you hear me?!?

So happy to be dry! Its been raining since this past Tuesday and we have been wet and cold over the past 36 miles from Caratunk to Stratton, over which time I had to use my "happy moment" on occation. We took a hiked the Bigelow Mountain range in one 17 mile stretch, and for our hard work we recieved no views due to the clouds and rain. On our way into town today we covered 5.3 miles in 1 hour and 50 mintues (a blazing speed while hiking)We were given a warm welcome by this small Maine town, first the post office (which as Blake already mentioned) had packages full of yummy treats and fuel for our stoves (Hurray we can eat warm meals!), then we got a super huge breakfast for under 8 bucks, then a wicked sweet room at this hiker hostel that has free phone and internet. From here we head over to Rangeley, then Andover, then New Hampshire!

Happy Trails!

....and miles to go before I sleep.

-Don "The" King

Blake here, checking in from Straton Maine. We're staying at a pretty cool bunkhouse. We hiked 5 miles in under two hours this morning to make sure we had time to get to the P.O. before it closed. (thanks for the fuel dad! thanks for the deet mikes mom!) We had a huge breakfast this morning and we are going to relax for day. The weather has been very cold and rainy the past week so we were ready for a short break. The weather for the rest of the week looks great and we'll be heading back out tomorrow. Mike and I are feeling great and we are excited about the fact that we are just about a week away from finishing Maine. 10% of the trail!!!)I'm sure Mike will post on here shortly, maybe we'll be able to get some new pictures up.

Writing from a warm and toasty bunkhouse
Blake (Super-T) = My trail name

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bruised, Blistered, & Bug Bitten! (lovin it!)

What an amazing opening 150 miles. Mike and I, as well as our 'family' are doing a really great job of powering through Maine. We are meeting all kinds of people and seeing all kinds of cool things.

In such a short time we've

gotten trail magic (beer in the river, food in a shelter cooler)
Hitched in and out of towns
Slept in the houses of complete strangers
woken up at 3 a.m. to hike
woken up at 11 a.m. to hike
seen big moose and small mice
soaked in hot tubs and forded icy rivers
went to a strangers grad party for burgers and beers
shared great meals with great people
shivered through the very cold nights, and sweltered through hot ones
patched blisters, scrapes, and cuts
walked through clouds high atop ridgelines
walked through the swampy marsh of Maine lowland
killed thousands of black flies :0
been assaulted by mosquitos, black flies, and 'no-see-ums'

oh and we ran out of bug spray about 40 miles in to the 100 mile wilderness :)

Anyway, its been GREAT so far. The hiking is hard, the conditions are challenging but it's worth it. every second is worth it.


Caratunk, Maine

This update is from Michael himself. We are in a lodge in Caratunk, ME for the nite to dry off a bit from the rain we encountered today and yesterday. It is gonna be a bit difficult to type in our nitely journal entries we do after each day of hiking, so what I will be doing is sending my entries home and have Mom type them in for me. The hiking in Maine has been awesome and we are really hiking some big miles each day (151.2 so far!). The 100 mile wilderness was unreal and we enjoyed our time out there, but we were happy to get into Monson for some rest. The forcast calls for rain over the next few days as we hike towards Stratton, ME but we will push through the last 100 miles of Maine and into New Hampshire. I will check back in later and try to get some more pictures up in the coming weeks. I love everyone at home and miss you all.

.........and miles to go before I sleep

- Michael Benvenuto
trailname: Don "The" King,
given to me because I am constantly promoting while out on the AT.

Post by Blake's Dad #2

On Saturday June11th, Blake and Mike walked into the town of Monson, ME seven days after departing from Baxter State Park. Monson marked their first contact with the “outside world” after trekking through the 100 Mile Wilderness. Blake and Mike made calls to their families, and it was then that we learned that Blake was having a problem with his hiking shoes and one bad blister. Blake wanted to know if I could mail-drop his old hiking boots to their next town destination, but when I learned that they were taking a two day break in Monson (pre-planned), I decided to drive up to Monson on Sunday the 12th. That way, I could bring his old boots as well as blister treatments. My wife and I drove the 6 hours from CT to Monson and spent 2 hours with Blake and Mike. Both guys were a bit worn & torn, bug-bitten in countless places, and dealing with sore feet.

HOWEVER, the look of happiness, delight, and accomplishment on their faces superceded anything about their physical well being. They were delighted with their week. Frankly, they were ecstatic about what they had accomplished in the Wilderness and were eagerly looking forward to Monday when they’d be heading south once again.

Blister first-aid for Blake was a priority as well as a mini-reply of goods that we brought up from CT. I asked about Keith and Lisa Haynie – a couple from the Savannah, GA area who are also thru-hiking the trail north to south. We had met them climbing Mt. Katahdin the week before, and I took a liking to them immediately. In Monson, I was delighted to learn that Mike and Blake had indeed linked up with Lisa & Mike (along with a solo hiker from Maryland) for the entire 100 Mile Territory. As often happens on
this trail, groups and sub-groups form as people move north or south. It is one of the best parts of the entire experience. Standing on the street on Monson, I had no sooner asked about the couple, when they emerged from a small store. They looked just like Mike & Blake in terms of physical wear & tear, but more significantly, they had the same look of pure happiness on their faces. I got a good look at Lisa’s feet – lots and lots of small blisters – and she is one, tough, and determined young woman. You can get more info on the two at their web page:

Lisa & Keith were staying at a local guest house for the two nights; the Maryland hiker was staying at a hostel on the edge of town; and Blake & Mike were connected up with a former thru-hiker who owns a therapeutic massage business in town. In exchange for an hours worth of gardening on Sunday morn, he let them stay at his place. They had a large area on the second floor of his house with a bathroom and shower (!), and they were very pleased not to have to pay cash for their two night stay. Joan and I treated the two guys to a fantastic local Bar-B-Q restaurant, and it was clear that the townspeople there really reach out to help hikers. The owner of a local grocery store even invited the two of them to his daughter’s high school graduation party on Sunday night! Our re-supply mission complete, Joan and I departed for CT in the late afternoon.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Blake & Mike at Mt. Katahdin

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY BLAKE'S DAD: The two hikers left CT on Thursday 2June05 for the drive to Baxter State Park in Maine. The drive up (courtesy of Blake's dad) was only interrupted by a stop in Freeport, ME at the LL Bean store. A motel in Millinocket, ME -- about 16 miles from the park -- was to be their base of operations for two nights.

On Friday 3June, they were in their car at the entrance to Baxter State Park at 5:00 a.m. This early arrival -- gates opened at 6 -- was to ensure that there would be availability to secure a parking space at a desired trailhead inside the park. This park is one of the few in the country that strictly limits who gets in, and if a certain parking area is desired, and it's full, then you are TURNED AWAY AT THE GATE!!

The 9 mile drive from the gate to the Abol camp area and the Abol trail -- parking spaces for day hikers is limited to 18 cars -- took a short time and by 6:30 a.m. Blake, his dad, and Mike were on the trail to Mt. Katahdin. The weather was in the 70’s and bight sunshine and they only shared one day-pack among themselves with water, snacks, and camera. The first half mile was on upward sloping ground through thick stands of trees and evergreens and that was followed by 2 hours of uphill movement through a ravine/slide area that ran up the southeast corner of the mountain. Once the tree line was passed, the black flies and their friends left them alone. A large, glacially eroded flat area a few hundred feet below the summit was the first horizontal movement in hours. There were fields of snow around and, of course, a mini-snowball fight ensued.

The top of Mt. Katahdin was beautiful in its simplicity and since it juts up almost by itself, the views in every direction were incredible. The hike up had been on the Abol trail as it was the only one open to the summit. All other trails, including the actual Appalachian Trail’s HUNT TRAIL, were still listed as not open and off-limits to all hikers by Park Rangers. The Abol Trail (blue blaze marks) merges with the Hunt Trail (white blazes) on the aforementioned flats, and after resting on the summit, the boys decided to descend the mountain by the Hunt Trail. The return was longer by over a mile, but the white blaze marks provided direction in the areas where not even a discernable trail was evident.

Upon arrival back at the Katahdin Streams Campground, Blake and Mike were told that they were the first south bounders this season to use the Hunt Trail from atop Katahdin! Not a bad way to start their trek to Georgia.

Late Friday afternoon, the three hikers used the motel’s hot tub to loosen up sore muscles, had pizza in town, and were asleep by 9:00 p.m. On Saturday 4June, the two were driven pack to the Katahdin Stream Camp Grounds, and after one picture pose for Blake’s dad, the two were off into the 100 Mile Wilderness.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

New Update from the boys as of June 11

This is mike's sister updating their journal. I just spoke to mike on the phone and he and blake made it out of the 100 mile wilderness. mike said "we are covered in bug bites and we saw 4 moose." they are staying in Monson, Maine for 2 days then heading to Caratunk Maine. The boys are in good spirits and have no doubts that they are going to finish the trail. Pictures will be posted soon, and the boys will try to get online soon to add their own entries. So stay posted.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Well this is it. The final post from base camp. It's about 9 in the morning here in CT and we'll be pushing off for Maine in about 20 minutes. I am so happy that the time has FINALLY come to start hiking. My dad is driving up with us and we're going to shack up at a hotel outside baxter state park. The next day we'll climb Katahdin and head south.

I'm very excited and it looks like we'll catch a nice break in the weather.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


On the morning of June 2nd, 2005 I will be leaving everything to live out in the woods and walk from the tip of New England all the way down to Georgia. I can't believe this day has finally come, and I can't wait to get out there and hike. I have a ton of thank yous before I go. Thanks to my Pop and Maddy for buying me all the gear last Christmas, even thought you really didn't want to promote the whole hiking lifestyle. Thanks to my Ma, who had no real idea as to why I wanted to do this, but blindly followed and supported. Thanks to my sister Melissa who throughout all the highs and lows of my thru hike planning, has been there with unconditional love and support. Thanks to my Grandpa and Grandma Benvenuto, Grammy Haber, GiGi, Uncle Pete, Aunt Maria, Aunt Ali, Uncle Jean David, and my 3 cousins. I have been blessed with a great family who all have been very supportive of my upcoming adventure. Thanks to my extended family; the Hunter's, the Augliera's, the Well's, the Gentry's, and the Mannion's. Without these four familys taking me in and making me feel like a welcome part of their family I couldnt have got to this day, they have all been supportive and were always there to feed me dinner. Thanks to all of our sponsors; Granite Gear, JetBoil, and Pacific Health Labs. Finally thanks to all my friends who have kept me in check all these years and been there for me; Spencer, Dave, Johnny, Blake, Alison, Paul, Kate, Brady, Courtlandt, Taylor, and the list goes on. I'm lucky to have the friends I have, and I am thankful everyday that all these people that acctually like me. Oh, and one last thank you to Pop Tart, Andrew Skurka, Tuuli, the staff at EMS in Meriden, and all the members of all of whom taught me the ways of thru hiking and what it takes to complete the 2,174.1 miles.

Hope I didnt foget anyone.