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Wow, I Didn't Realize I Had Disappeared

Hey there folks! I had no idea I had been gone from here for over a month. My thoughts are always thinking of what to say and I fill pages in my note books. But some how I didn't put them here. Oops! Thank you so much for being patient. Those of you who follow me, know my scattered brain eventually comes back from it's journey from the unknown.

We also finally came back from our two week, extended to 7 week road trip. It was hard leaving Mom and Dad in the sunshine state and also our dear friend Sharon in the mountains of North Carolina. But it is always great to be home in the great state of Maine even with this weird spring.

I am not sure you can even call it spring. It is June 12th and there is still snow on top of Katahdin. The temps and wind feel more like September. But just when you think you have jumped into the future with winter just around the corner, the breeze stops and you are violently attacked by the blood sucking state bird the mosquito. When they are at bay the flesh ripping black fly, defenders of the wilderness are gnawing at you every chance they get. If that isn't enough, after the sunsets the no-seeums penetrate your screens easily for an after dinner dessert. All of which remind you it is definitely spring in Maine.

The snow on Katahdin has delayed the Appalachian Trail thru- hiker 2019 Southbound (SOBO) class. Every day hopeful hikers descend on Millinocket to start their trek south. If you have been to the airport or Concord bus station you may have seen many of the wanderers excitedly, anxiously, and maybe even a little bit fearfully waiting for shuttles or hitches. The Northbound (NOBO) hikers started their treks average date mid February and early March. Part way thru each group will pass on the trail with a nod and fist bump, all that is needed but speaks volumes.

The AT Lodge in Millinocket, Shaw's Hostel in Monson, The Baxter State Park, and countless other people like myself have been helping the SOBO's adjust reservations, give shuttles, advice, updates, and whatever specialty we offer to help this class of hikers modify their plans due to the late opening of Katahdin. Some people think, "What's the big deal?" for many hikers, it is a once in a life time experience, some are seeking the trail for healing, other's to figure out life, and other's why not? For all, it will be a life changing experience. I have been offering shuttles and a place to stay. I feel a tad guilty in the fact I think I am getting more out of being around these incredible people then I am giving in return.

Being a part of this fantastic group I know how the "real" world views us as a bunch of crunchy, berry, twig eating bums. When in fact we are all very intelligent, self-motivated, many economically sound, and have come to the realization that everyone should have a stint with nature. Life can wait.

When I sat down to write I didn't know exactly what I was going to say. I just let the words guide me, sometimes that can be scary but more often very rewarding. So, I guess today was just a huge shoutout to my fellow hikers. Northbounders, many of you have been on trail for 3-4 months, congrats for however long and however many miles you have completed or not. SOBO's hang in there, yes the Northern terminus is not open yet, but it will be and you will have great stories to tell about all the other stuff you got to see and do while you waited for the trail to open. Enjoy and reach out if you need anything.

Emily - AKA Black Bear

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