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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: May 14, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: Some days I feel like a beast of burden

Written by: Carey Kish

Carey Kish is currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,200 miles over a period of 5-6 months. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here (read them all). You can also follow his journey on his Facebook page.

May 5, 2015: Damascus to Lost Mountain Shelter, 16.2 miles, 9am to 5pm.

It’s never easy to leave a trail town, especially if it’s Damascus (but not if its Gatlinburg!). I was ready to rock by 7:30, but needed to wait an hour until the PO opened so I could mail a box of stuff home and a package ahead to Pearisburg.

MoFo and Pilgrim were up at the ungodly hour of 5am (before that actually, but that’s when I woke up). I was able to get back to sleep, but woke again at 6:30 to find Drop Bear getting packed. God love her she’d made a pot of coffee so I got up. I could’ve slept a couple more hours easily though.

Drop Bear was gone by 8 and it was just me at the hostel. Always makes me feel a little lonely. Good reason to get back on the trail. A half hour later I wandered down the quiet main street to the PO and got things mailed. Back at the hostel I said goodbye to Paul, our host. Can’t say enough good things about Hikers Inn, it’s been great in every way, clean, comfy, quiet. A little vacation of sorts.

Before leaving town I picked up a letter from my Mom. She used to write to me on my 1977 hike, and now 38 years later...

Before leaving town I picked up a letter from my Mom. She used to write to me on my 1977 hike, and now 38 years later… Carey Kish photo.

Left town the back way, through the neighborhood behind the hostel to the Virginia Creeper Trail, a well-known rail-to-trail, then out to US58 past the old Dot’s. The Creeper Trail follows the highway for a mile, then heads uphill into the woods. Nice day for walking, if a little on the hot side.

Climbed and climbed to a wooded high point then descended to cross the highway again. Next was a short section on the Creeper Trail, then a big climb up to Saunders Shelter, some 8 miles from town. Met Drop Bear at the shelter side trail having lunch along with Jeopardy from Maryland. Chatting with Jeopardy we discovered that he too had a heavy pack coming out of town. “Would you like a beer,” he says. The Aussie and I agree to split one, and it’s gone in a few swigs. Yeah for on-trail magic!

Out of Damascus the AT follows the Virginia Creeper Trail for a couple short stretches. But most of that first day is big up and down. Carey Kish photo.

Out of Damascus the AT follows the Virginia Creeper Trail for a couple short stretches. But most of that first day is big up and down. Carey Kish photo.

Down and down after lunch. Speaking of, I’ve got a heckuva bag of lunch and snack foods that is weighing down my pack big time. Don’t know what I was thinking in Food City yesterday, but I’ve got it now and it must be eaten. But the pack is carrying like a rock today. Guess I’ll get over it.

The AT followed the Creeper Trail again for quite a while, offering pleasant and easy walking through the valley of what I believe is the Holston River. After crossing a long bridge over an old trestle, the trail headed up for the next shelter. Glad I stopped at that little stream a ways back to refill my water bladder, because now I’m sure needing it.

Rain spattered down for the next ten minutes. Trail eased off and soon I was at the shelter. Bunch of hikers here, most are tenting do there’s plenty of shelter space. Drop Bear pulled in soon after and grabbed a spot. She looked beat too. Tough day with heavy packs, big mileage, heat and humidity, lots of climbing.

Tomorrow it’s up and over two 5000-footers, Whitetop and Mt Rogers. Gonna be good day.

Lost Mtn Shelter was a great rest spot for a lot of hikers after a tough first day out of Damascus. Carey Kish photo.

Lost Mtn Shelter was a great rest spot for a lot of hikers after a tough first day out of Damascus. Carey Kish photo.

 

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