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Pretty easy day. Got up early and hit the trail. There were a couple easy climbs that were super easy considering all we’ve been through. Funny how I don’t even want to climb the simplest hill though. It’s like our bodies know the end is almost here so it’s already starting to wind down. Not yet legs. We still have some serious work ahead of us. Even after we hike up Katadhin, we still have to hike quite a few miles back down. LOL! I came up to a sign that said “Donut Pond.” Now they’re just teasing our hiker hunger. I looked but I didn’t see any donuts. I mean, there are mushrooms that look like bagels but that’s about it. The trail today was mostly a dense forest covered in green moss everywhere with beautiful ponds with boulders jutting out at the edges. It was quite a beautiful way to end the 100-mile wilderness. It was bitter sweet seeing the warning sign for the 100-mile wilderness signifying that we left it. It was a beautiful section. I keep thinking back to Antlers Campsite as the best camp spot ever! One on side I’m glad it’s so far in to the wilderness to keep it pristine and away from weekend warriors who’d just trash it. On the other side I wish it was easier to get to as I’d love to go back to camp there again. After leaving the wilderness area, I hit the road that crosses Abol Bridge where I knew I’d have a direct view of Katadhin. It’s an extremely cloudy day so we could see a lot of the base of the mountain but the peaks were covered in clouds. I’m still happy to have gotten a pic on the bridge with the mountain behind me. After that, Sparkle and I grabbed a campsite at Abol Pines. It’s $12 per person but $6 for Maine residents. I’m now a Maine resident but don’t have any way to prove that. I’m still carrying a FL driver’s license. Oh well. We paid the fee and set up our tents to then walk over to the Abol Store & Restaurant. I had misunderstood all the warnings to get cash before leaving Monson because after you leave the 100-mile wilderness, everything here would be cash only and there wasn’t an ATM at the store. I took that meaning the store and the restaurant were also cash only. I went ahead and walked over there hoping they just had a convenience store sandwich or something as I wanted to keep my cash in case I have to pay for a pricy camp spot tomorrow and I was happy to find out they do take credit cards. You better believe I made a bee line right to the restaurant where I got fried raviolis, Caesar salad, bacon cheeseburger and fries and two beers. Then in the store I grabbed a small lemon pie with a root beer to take back to my tent. Yum! Pie after I make my dinner! I’m typing this in my tent and I’m still stuffed after the big lunch. I might just end up having the pie and save the dinner. Ooh, maybe I’ll have a double dinner tomorrow! Hahaha! It’s crazy this trip is almost over and I’ll need to put myself on a strict diet. This body is still going to have hiker hunger but I’m not going to be burning the calories to burn it off. I see grilled chicken salads in my future… with no bread. Oh, I’ll add this since it’s something I’ve been dealing with for the last few days and it’s starting to get a bit serious. I have a new problem. Before I left to hike the AT in February, I went to the dentist for a cleaning. The dentist pointed out that I had a calorie on one of my wisdom teeth. (I have all my teeth including my wisdom teeth.) She said she wasn’t going to fill it because she would rather remove all of my wisdom teeth. So I ended up hiking with a cavity that I hope wouldn’t bother me. She said it was small. Here I am over 6 months later and I’m now dealing with inflamed gums around that tooth and some pretty nasty pain. I’m taking multiple Aleve tablets every day and a couple Aleve PM at night. It’s most painful in the morning when I wake up. I just need to get through 2 more days to get back to the real world and then hopefully find a dentist to get that tooth removed well before I head back to Florida for my celebration party. Wish me luck with that one. Otherwise, I’ll just stay medicated until I can get it taken care of. Fun times!
I have my alarm set for 4am. Sparkle and I are getting up really early to pack up and head off into Baxter State Park and to the kiosk to line up for The Birches signup sheet. Fingers crossed that gets us into the first 12 in line to get on the list. As long as that happens we’ll be set to continue hiking into the park and stay our final night in the woods. Then Tuesday morning we’ll climb Katadhin and get our summit picture on top of the sign marking us as official AT thru-hikers. WOOT!