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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

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Posted: February 14, 2018

Hiking the Appalachian Trail: One Mainer’s account of the long journey from Georgia to Maine (part 3)

Written by: Carey Kish

Do you dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, of slipping away from civilization for a while, paring down to only the simple essentials that can be carried in a backpack, and taking on a challenge that is bigger than yourself? It takes about five million steps to hike the AT from end to end, and the real first steps – to decide to do it and then make a solid plan, are perhaps the most difficult.

The Appalachian Trail isn’t the longest footpath in the world, but it is arguably the most famous and certainly the most traveled. The complete 2,189-mile trek is the ultimate backpacking adventure and the hike of a lifetime for many hikers. Several thousand people attempt the trail every year, but only a fraction who start actually finish.

In 2015, this hiker walked the entire AT – for the second time, the first in 1977 – from Springer Mtn. in Georgia to the summit of Katahdin in Maine, taking 189 glorious days to go the distance. From mid-March to early October, I wrote a series of columns for the Maine Sunday Telegram chronicling the long journey, and I have compiled those accounts into a four-part series.

Part 3 presented here covers the final leg of the long walk, through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and finally, the Great State of Maine and Katahdin! I hope you enjoy this armchair adventure and find inspiration through my footsteps enough to maybe tackle the big hike yourself one day. Click on the highlighted links to read each piece. Enjoy!


Weary, but unrattled by the perils underfoot. Our hiker encounters snakes and bad weather, but gets closer to the end of his long trek.

Early one morning in Connecticut, I came oh so close to stepping on a rattlesnake. This rattling rattlesnake! Carey Kish photo.


Beyond Vermont, the high and mighty peaks of New Hampshire. Carey makes a side trip, to MacGrath’s Irish Pub at the Inn at Long Trail, for hearty fare and a pint of Guinness. His trail name is Beerman, after all.

On the grand traverse of the Presidential Range it was 70 degrees and windless, unheard of weather for September 1. Carey Kish photo.


The long journey leading to the final steps. With 13 states behind him, Katahdin awaits Carey Kish.

Maine finally! 287 miles to go and no maps or guidebook required… Carey Kish photo.


Carey Kish signs off on that long journey to Katahdin. After 189 days and 2,189.2 miles, the end of the trail is reached.


The sign. THE SIGN. Baxter Peak, end of the AT, Katahdin. Carey Kish photo.


A walk in these woods rates sequel. Ample solitude, natural beauty and a life-changing experience are the rewards of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Hike the Appalachian Trail again? A third chance at the adventure of a lifetime? Damn straight I would. Carey Kish photo.


You can also follow my day-to-day progress on the AT through my blog, picking up here near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border: Six-Moon Journey: The man behind the bullet-proof glass. 


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