Christmas in Caratunk


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Optimist

Optimist looking happy on a dry day in Maine

We finally got our last Post Office care package bonanza today and it was like Christmas morning for the two of us. I say finally because we planned on arriving by July 2ndbut after tough hiking in the Whites and the first part of Maine, we finally made it 6 days later, and with only one casualty which I’ll explain later.

First, thanks to everyone that has been involved in this hike with us. From those following the website, to those calling or texting, to our visitors, those we’ve met while hiking, those that gave us rides to and from the trail, and those that sent us goodies and letters to the trail. There has been so much support it’s been amazing and really made the trip for me.

Now for a recap of the goods: Achilles has come through again with coffee and specialty chocolates. We love it and I had the mango almond chocolate for dessert tonight. Jesse, we split our first Green Plus bar today and were definitely impressed. I agree with the packaging in that many of the “health bars” are really junk food in health bar wrappers. Thanks for keeping us healthy out here. Anita had the biggest box of goodies, some of which will counteract the physical goodness of our Green bars, but will help with our mental health out here. The homemade oatmeal raisin cookies are the best I’ve had from you yet.

We received a very thoughtful letter from Julie’s Mammaw Herndon. So few people write letters anymore and it was so nice to have something to read from her. We also received a smiling, happy update from her sister Laura from Texas. Thanks for thinking of us.

Keith, you are crazy! You spent $40 to express mail a package to us. First, I feel bad that you spent so much and second, I feel horrible that we didn’t make it when we expected negating the rush put on the package. The tabloids were a fabulous idea and this is actually the first time in my life I have ever actually possessed one of these magazines. I also thoroughly appreciated your comments on my calculus courses. In my fondness for being a bit out of the ordinary, I love the “Nerd Alert” comments and take them as a compliment. We appreciate everything you’ve done supporting us on our journey.

We received a tent in the mail! We met a guy named Caribou that has been section hiking the AT since 1995 and has hiked everything from GA to NH. We shared a shelter with him last week during the rain and this man was Johnny on the Spot for every hiker in need. Bigfoot came in hungry, Caribou had a ham and cheese sandwich for him and a freeze dried dinner. I said I’d accidentally sent my headlamp home, he pulled out a spare from his pack. He was local and we asked him about the local outdoor store because we were thinking about buying a new lightweight tent to replace the one we’d sent home. He said we wouldn’t find it there but that he had one he didn’t use and that he’d send it our way. We believed him but tried to not get too excited until this morning. This morning, we had a new tent express mailed to Caratunk and we’re lying in it right now enjoying our new freedom. Thank you Caribou.

And there was one casualty. The woman at the post office said we had the most packages of any hikers this year and she’d received a call from the post office in Millinocket, ME earlier in the day about a package for us. Apparently, someone had sent a package with the town of Caratunk but the PO box for Millinocket and the package went to Millinocket. Millinocket is a town at the end of the trail, a gateway to Mt. Katahdin and one we’ll no doubt go through on our way home. There are no towns left to forward it to at this point as we enter the 100 mile wilderness tomorrow so we asked that they hold it for a week until we finish the trail. We were able to find out the package was from our all time best care packager, Rocket Cop and Jersey Jess. Not only are we sad not to receive the goodies, but I also remembering Rocket Cop telling me something about an avocado concoction he was planning for the last mail drop. I’m somewhat scared to see what will happen with our 6 days behind schedule coupled with another week in a box at the post office waiting for us to finish. We’ll see. Either way, the fact they’ve put so much into our adventure both in time and money means a good deal to us and we’re so thankful to have them as friends.

Thank you all for everything you’ve done for us. We hope we can someday repay all this kindness.

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