I wanted to post this the day that I leave, but I need to get the link to this post for the subsequent scheduled posts, so I will need to do it now, making a double post for today.
I'm so tickled that many of you, my blogging friends, want to "come along" on this hike with us. So I have scheduled a post for each day that I'm gone. There is only one place along the way where I may be able to do a live post, otherwise this will all be things I know in advance. However, I have previously scouted this area in a car, and in 2003 took a Volunteer Vacation on the Kek to see what it was like. With that information and pictures, I've created something to show you each day. Here is our itinerary, just for the hiking days. There is a fair amount of travel time and two days to get a car spotted at the west end and our supply boxes placed.
|Judge Magney State Park||Hazel Campsite||8.8|
|Hazel Campsite||Woodland Caribou Campsite||9.3|
|Woodland Caribou Campsite||Swamp River||9.1|
|Swamp River||Pigeon River||7.8|
|Pigeon River||Pine Lake||12.5|
|Pine Lake||Pine Lake (day off)||0.0|
|Rose Cliffs||Topper Lake||10.6|
|Topper Lake||Gunflint Lodge||9.1|
|Gunflint Lodge||Gunflint Lodge (day off)||0.0|
|Gunflint Lodge||Bingschick Lake||10.1|
|Strup Lake||Drumstick Lake||9.0|
|Drumstick Lake||Fernberg Road||8.5|
Don't the words themselves just send a thrill through your bones? Clearwater? Rose Cliffs? Agamok? I've been planning this hike since 2004, and now, in just a few days it's going to happen!
There are four of us going. Marie and I, longtime hiking buddies, and two other veteran hikers, Ed and Lyle. This gives us a nice safety margin in case of trouble. There is currently a thru-hiker on the NCT, and he just came from the west. He found the snow still so deep that the trail was impassible, and he bailed out, to come back later. We are hopeful that the 10-day time lag between his attempt and ours will clear the snow. But you can read about his experiences at Nimblewill's Journal, scroll down to April 22.
This is a wild and dangerous area for hikers, and we are not taking this expedition lightly! Today I am also thinking more about this issue since the man who is currently missing on the Appalachian Trail Ken Knight is one step away from a personal acquaintance. I have emailed him, and I do know some of the people who have gone to help search for him. Even experienced hikers make mistakes. We are going to try NOT to make any serious ones.
So each day's scheduled post will link back to here in order for anyone who stumbles into the middle to be able to get oriented, if they so desire.
See Arrowhead 2009 Hike Route