Excerpt from “Transformed on the Trail” ~ By Jim T. Ryan
Here is an account from a hiker who completed his thru-hike on the AT. It is very well written and quite emotional. The story, that ends in Maine, of course, is accompanied by some great photos from many stops along the hike from Georgia to Maine. Read the excepts below and then click thru to the entire article, if you like. Feel free to leave a comment, below!
“The day is cold, yet the Maine sun beats down on your neck. You’ve been walking for hours, the last of it over and around boulders the size of dump trucks at times. The sweat beads down, running under the moss-like months of beard growth.
Six months of walking and so much landscape has passed underfoot, brushed past your face, torn at your clothes, bogged your socks and boots. You’re on your third pair of hiking shoes, the predecessors stripped of their usefulness by the mountains of Tennessee, shredded by the rocky remains of the last ice age in Pennsylvania.”
“You’re exhausted, yet you climb the peak in front of you. You can’t wait to be done with this meandering existence. But you dread its end. What next? Where do you go from here?
You just keep walking. There it is. Baxter Peak, the pinnacle of Mount Katahdin. You can see the sign. Adrenaline kicks in, and you begin sprinting the final football field only to stop to wait for the companions behind you. You made them a promise to finish together. You’ll keep it. You’ll finish the 2,186 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) together.”
“For anyone with a bit of wilderness in their blood, thru-hiking the AT is the first long-distance notch in the hiking stick. But finishing the trail is a remote accomplishment. Only about 20 percent of those who set out ever actually finish the hike in a single year. Many quit before they’re out of the first state.”
“My favorite area – the most beautiful area – is probably Tennessee. In Hampton, Tenn., there’s a stretch where you hike along a stream. It’s just absolutely beautiful. The trail is right next to the stream, and it’s flowing. You start at a waterfall. It was a place where I wish I just could’ve camped for a week,” Reardon says.
“He chokes-up with emotion, reliving the final day of his trek. Summitting Katahdin isn’t just a story. He relives it.”
The local Native Americans (the Abenaki) called Bigfoot, Pomoola, long before the white man came to mid-Maine. It is often described as a “large, manlike creature with red fur.”
(all photos subject to copyright)
Summer/Autumn 2013: My brother lives in Medway, Maine and spends a great deal of time in the north Maine woods. Hunting, fishing and working; he spends a majority of his time in the broad wilderness area around Mount Katahdin. He was driving along the Grant Brook Road (map below) and saw this… Bigfoot or Pomoola or Sasquatch or… Whatever it is. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his camera so this was only taken with his phone.
He said, “It ran off. I’m sure it wasn’t a stump but, not exactly sure what it was. All I know is it looked like bigfoot to me.”
If you have photos, videos, stories about the Maine Bigfoot or “Pomoola” please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pomoola sounds slightly reminiscent of the word Pamola which is known to have been a legendary bird spirit that appeared in local Abenaki mythology. This spirit causes cold weather and was believed to be the local “God of Thunder.” The word, Pamola, is still quite prevalent in the area of Millinocket and Katahdin. The next peak along the knife’s edge from Mount Katahdin’s summit is “Pamola Peak.” There is the Pamola Motor Lodge in town. And let’s not forget Pamola Xtra Pale Ale from the Baxter Brewing Co. in Lewiston, Maine. Obviously, quite a powerful word from the native tongue to have survived with such common usage to this day.
We, also, came across this great article online at the Bigfoot Encounters website. We didn’t know there were so many documented cases! The Native Americans called Bigfoot, Pomoola, long before the white man came to mid-Maine. Read from the website…
“The first sightings of the 1800’s that were reported and documented in the State of Maine occurred in and around the Mt. Katahdin area, what is now Piscataquis County, Maine and is located north-northwest nearby communities of Millinocket and Moosehead Lake region. The famous Appalachian Trail ends in beautiful Baxter Park at the highest elevation of just over 5200 ft., atop of Mount Katahdin.
The source of these reports came from a book titled “Camping Out” The book was published in 1873 and was authored by C.A. Stevens, published by The John C. Winston Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The original copy of this ancient book is owned by Chris and Amy Julian who have graciously shared the information in their book.
There are at least 6 stories of encounters with large man-like creatures, which the Indians called “Pomoola.” It was also known as “Injun Devil.”
The book mentions the death of a trapper years before. He had been ripped apart and at the time it was thought to be a mountain lion. Who knows? The point that got the Julian’s attention was the fact that the body had been beaten against a tree trunk. Chris Julian went on to say, “I have heard mention that the book was fiction. I am not sure I agree considering the detail and the year it was written. I have checked many facts and to me these are factual accounts, -it’s a diary.””
Experience Mount Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. 2181 miles, 14 states. Great video!
More about Mount Katahdin and the Appalachian Trail
Mount Katahdin (pronounced: kah-Tah-din) is the tallest mountain in Maine at 5,269 feet (1,606 m or just shy of a mile). The mountain was named ‘Katahdin’ by the Penobscot Indians. The term means “The Greatest Mountain” in their language. Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park: a steep, tall mountain formed from a granite intrusion weathered to the surface above the treeline. The flora and fauna on the mountain are those typically found in other regions in northern New England. Katahdin has been known since time immemorial to the Native Americans in the region, and has been known to Europeans since, at least, 1689. Or, possibly, long before. It has inspired hikers, climbers, journal narratives, paintings, local hit songs and a piano sonata. The area around the peak was protected by Governor Percival Baxter starting in the 1930s and is now known as Baxter State Park. Katahdin is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and is located near a stretch known as the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.
Bradenton man to hike trail to spotlight military vet issues
Christopher Davis’ dream was to one day hike the Appalachian Trail to bring awareness to a cause closest to his heart — returning veterans.
To do on someone’s time clock would be an unexpected treat.
His dream has come true.
By RICHARD DYMOND
email@example.com May 12, 2014 website
Davis made a pitch about a year ago to his new boss, Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota.
“There is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Davis told Rosinsky. “When I was sitting in Afghanistan in 2002 with the U.S. Army, I promised myself that if I lived through the war, I would walk the entire Appalachian Trail for a good cause.”
Davis proposed his “good cause” would shine light on the issue of military veterans coming home and having trouble accessing services.
Rosinsky immediately said “yes” even though it meant Davis would be physically out of pocket for five months, hiking with a backpack between Mount Katahdin, Maine, and Springer Mountain, Ga., while remaining on the payroll.
“Chris is still part of our team,” Rosinsky said. “It’s kind of a redeployment for Chris.”
As it turns out, the story of Davis’ May 28-to-Thanksgiving trek and why Rosinsky said yes is as much about Rosinsky and his enthusiasm and passion for military veterans as it is about his bucket list adventure.
‘One step at a time’
Davis, 35, was hired by Rosinsky in January 2013 to be the veteran’s program manager for Goodwill Manasota’s new American Veterans and Their Families Initiative.
Goodwill Manasota is well known locally as a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “changing lives through the power of work.”
It helped 329 veterans find jobs in 2013, according to Goodwill Manasota records.
But Rosinsky said he wanted to go beyond just landing jobs for veterans.
Working with an annual budget of roughly $100,000, Davis helps veterans and their families when they are down and out. Program funding comes from grants and sales of donated items.
“Chris provides information for vets to get housing, jobs, insurance, benefits, social integration, clothing, food, legal aide, transportation and medical,” said Yen Reed, director of marketing for Goodwill Manasota. “He works with hundreds of community partners.”
Rosinsky said Davis has done a stellar job.
“People have visited and said that our program has gotten more traction than other vet programs they are aware of,” Rosinsky said. “I believe the progress we are making is due to Chris.
“Chris’ program is evolving,” Rosinsky added. “We hope to provide services for every veteran in the drawdown as we leave Iraq and Afghanistan. We have a lot of people struggling. We hope that Goodwill is the doorway past that struggle.”
It’s hard to imagine a CEO giving the green light to a key employee to hike the Appalachian Trail for five months, but Rosinsky is more than OK with it.
“I immediately considered the fact that the screen got bigger for us to project on,” Rosinsky said. “We can reach a national audience and get people to recognize that vets need assistance.”
While Davis is gone, his assistant, Don Hill, will run the program, Rosinsky said.
Davis said he thinks the Appalachian Trail will be symbolic for veterans.
“It’s not how high or low we go on the peaks or valleys. It’s taking one step after another,” said Davis who graduated from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee last week as the Outstanding Graduate after serving 14 years with the U.S. Army with seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I will make it to Georgia because I will keep walking. I think that’s the message we want to send to vets, ‘If you just take one step and then another, you will get there.'”
Davis can thank the late Guy Kelnhofer of Wisconsin for making his Appalachian trek a reality. Kelnhofer, Rosinsky’s uncle, was captured in Wake Island during World War II and spent four years in a prisoner-of-war camp.
“I saw some of the issues he had coming back,” Rosinsky said.
Rosinsky noted veterans like his uncle don’t always get needed services but it’s not because the services are not available.
“When vets come out, they tend to get isolated,” Rosinsky said. “It’s not so much that things aren’t out there, it’s just that there is a lack of focus and a lack of assistance to help them access what is there,”
30,000-plus Manatee County vets
Manatee County has 36,000 veterans, Davis said.
“The 2011 census reported 81,000 veterans in Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Hardee counties,” Davis said. “Manatee is definitely in the top three of Florida’s counties for number of vets.
“There are young vets as well,” Davis added.
Davis recalled a recent case where he helped a vet access a Veteran’s Administration housing program for chronically homeless vets.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to what we can do to put vets back on track,” Davis said.
Goodwill Manasota will be getting a lot of value out of Davis’ trek, Rosinsky said.
“Chris is going to do a blog where people can follow him every day (available through experiencegoodwill.org or linked directly at trailjournals.com/goodwillwalking),” Rosinsky said. “We will also hook up with media all along the trek and give updates on his progress. Some people will go out and walk with him.”
Rosinsky plans to meet Davis at Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., in August and walk about 100 miles over a week.
Davis is also fundraising. People can donate from five cents to $1 per mile at experiencegoodwill.org, which will have links on the home page, Reed said.
“Whether he raises $2,000, $10,000 or $50,000 for his program is inconsequential when you look at the impact of raising awareness over that longer period of time,” Rosinsky said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @ RichardDymond.
Wow. I just found this great article from Yankee Magazine. The story of what’s going on with the north Maine woods, a national park and what Roxanne Quimby is doing and… why! The article is quite long but very interesting! It looks at the plight of:
1. the locals who feel they deserve to access the land as they wish; to hunt, fish, hike, camp (like they have always had) – even if they don’t own it and the owner of the land doesn’t want them doing that there.
2. a few wealthy individuals who see huge tracts of Maine land being sold to foreign entities for division and development – and want to preserve it in its entirety (with access to visitors), possibly as a national park.
Jym St. Pierre, Maine director of a group called RESTORE: The North Woods, says in the article, “The biggest reason we don’t have a national park in Maine today is because we’ve had a de facto park for generations. People feel entitled to that land, just because it’s always been there.”
Roxanne speaks about The Whetstone Bridge and how locals are feeling the hurt with the loss of a back-woods east-west road…
“These two pieces of land here effectively stop all east–west traffic. This bridge, the Whetstone Bridge, here — it’s one of the very significant nails in the coffin because it’s the only way to get across the river for something like 30 miles. Okay, you can go over the bridge, but you can’t go across my land with a car. So you can have your bridge, but it ain’t doin’ you any good. I’m closing in, and I’m doing this to demonstrate that you cannot leave this to chance.”
She is speaking broadly to those who oppose a park, those who ironically also claim they believe in property rights: “Yes, it’s a private road, but it’s been in such permissive use for so many years, people forget that the state doesn’t own that road.”
Up there, where she is pointing, people slapped bumper stickers onto their cars and wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Ban Roxanne.” Letters to the editor condemned her. But… she agreed to keep open two important snowmobile trails that cross portions of her land, perhaps heralding a thaw in her relations with area sportsmen and residents.