Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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HOWEVER, the look of happiness, delight, and accomplishment on their faces superceded anything about their physical well being.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.


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