there are many ways to thru hike the AT... the traditional way to do it is to start south in georgia and head to maine and be northbound (or a nobo). the less common way to hike the AT iis to be a southbounder and start in maine and head towards georgia. then there's the flip flop and the yo-yo. flipping is hiking a section one way, then skipping ahead and hiking the remainder of the trail in the other direction. yo-yoing is completing the entire trail one way, then turning right back around and hiking it again in the opposite direction.
i have chosen to flip flop and will summit mount katahdin in the next few days, then head south to new york where i left off. i've decided to flip to avoid as much cold weather as possible. my friend joshua who started his thru hike in mid-march will finish his hike today or tomorrow and his weather reports for maine include temps in the 40s on a regular basis in the mornings. i also met a guy yesterday who did the presidential range in the white mountains a few weeks ago and said it was 42 degrees in the morning time. i am not a fan of cold weather and i have no desire to eventually have to hike in and/or pitch my tent in the snow.
i've spent pretty much an entire week off the trail and have turned into a marshmallow. my friends taylor & carolyn picked me up and we spent four or five days at lake champion, a young life camp in southern new york. it's a church camp that targets troubled youth and the program that they have going on is amazing. i was only planning on staying one day but even as an adult guest, i had a ton of fun listening to the messages and participating in the activities (i still suck at rock climbing). the food was amazing, too... everyday, an all you can eat meal that was fit for a king. there was even one morning where the adult guests had the option of waking up early to make the kids' breakfasts. i got to the kitchen @ 630a and was assigned to cooking eggs and by 830, our team of three had cooked more than 700 eggs!!
just as taylor was driving me back to the trail the other night after picking up my new pack, the phone call from joshua came in that made me question whether i wanted to remain on a northbound track. taylor and i had supper at a local pizza place where i had my first slice of NY-style pizza in the actual state of new york. chicken, bacon, ranch and delicious. :) over supper, the decision was made that i'd think my hike out over another night at the RV (tough call there!). in the next twelve hours, i thought and thought and thought about it and decided that i didn't want to hike in the freezing temps later on. also, my cold weather gear is limited, as are my funds for buying more clothes. and finishing in new york would put me that much closer to home, which will make for less gas (and thus less money) to get me where i'll eventually need to be.
so here i am! we're in maine right now and it's cold and rainy but i'm excited about katahdin and i'm really excited about possibly seeing a moose (the one animal left on my "gotta see" list) and we'll see how this all goes in the next few weeks to come. :)