CAMDEN, Maine — Two 2011 Camden Hills Regional High School graduates left June 15 to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, traveling from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. The more than 2,180-mile trail is the longest continuously marked footpath in the world.
Although New Hampshire’s White Mountains have their challenges, Maine’s section of the trail is reputed to be the toughest. Hiking guides state that hiking northbound, which most do, you have completed 80 percent of the trail but only 20 percent of the work at the New Hampshire border.
Logan Sampson of Lincolnville and Adrian Jaques of Hope were happy to have made it beyond Vermont before Hurricane Irene blasted through, causing damage that closed that section of trail. Nonetheless, they had to hike Pennsylvania trails covered with knee-deep water and trees crashing down around them. Once the sun reappeared, so did the copperheads and rattlesnakes.
They joined the “Half-Gallon Club” at the general store in Pine Grove, Pa., where tradition invites hikers to down an entire half-gallon of ice cream to celebrate passing the halfway mark of the A.T. At the Appalachian Trail Conference headquarters in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., they learned that they were hikers Nos. 35 and 36 to make it that far (southbound) in 2011.
If all goes well, the hikers will make it back to Maine sometime in November. To inspire these young men as they complete their journey, donations to the Maine Appalachian Trail Club may be sent in honor of Logan Sampson and Adrian Jaques online at http://www.matc.org or by mail to the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, P.O. Box 283, Augusta, ME 04332-0283.
The MATC manages and maintains 267 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine with more than 1,000 volunteers who donate more than 20,0000 hours of love and labor each year to keep the trails accessible to all.