What a Welcome Home!!

It has been a week since I reached the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine. Thanks to my dear friend, Mark, who drove all the way to Maine from Ohio to pick me up, I had a two-day road-trip back to Springboro filled with fellowship and relaxation. Cathy and I spent the weekend sharing lots of stories from the trail and from the city that filled our lives during the past 5 months.

My welcome home from the school was truly incredible. The administration arranged a hike/parade on campus that made me feel like a celebrity. The students lined up on the sidewalks and as I hiked down the campus, they cheered for me and then followed me to a central location where there was a nice presentation and I was able to address the entire student body. There were actually two parades – one in Miamisburg in the morning and a second one in Xenia in the afternoon. I have never given more high fives in all my life. I was so humbled and honored by this special reception. God is faithful!

The news media came as well to report the story and I have attached a link to the coverage of one of the local news channels.( http://www.abc22now.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/wkef_vid_22546.shtml ) The same channel did a follow-up interview with me this morning at their studios (http://fox45now.com/shared/news/features/morning/stories/wrgt_vid_910.shtml ). What a thrill to be able to talk about my hike and the faithfulness of God.

My sister, Diane, came up from NC to be part of the celebration. It was special to have her here because she supported me in so many ways during the adventure – she was always so positive and encouraging throughout the hike. I was thrilled that she could be part of this welcome home celebration.

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One More Summit Photo

I mentioned yesterday that there was a group photo-shoot on top of Katahdin with all the thru-hikers that made the summit that morning. I was the last to arrive at the sign. It was amazing because the group was already gathered around the sign when someone saw me coming. I heard someone shout my name and urged me to join the picture – then the group started to cheer for me and shout my name. They told me to touch the sign and then join the celebration.

After my hand slap on the big brown wooden sign, someone suggested that I climb the sign for the picture. I could not believe the place of honor that was spontaneously mine.

I thought I would share this photo with you as well.

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The Finish Line was Surreal!

Katahdin is this daunting mountain from a distance and her call of intimidation does not disappoint. The climb was strenuous and rocky but such a thrill to summit.

We left about 7:00 am and reached the big brown sign about 11:30. I celebrated with a dozen other thru-hikers. I was the last of the large group to arrive so I got to stand on the sign for the photo – I felt so honored to have that special spot.

Some very special hikers from YWAM hiked to the top as well. These three guys ministered to me in powerful ways throughout my journey from Harpers Ferry. Bamboo, Ungerwhere, and Mountain Light are friends for eternity.

I have attached a photo of Mark Shaeffer, my dear friend who drove all the way from Ohio to pick me up, and RaceWalker, who hiked the last 450 miles of the trail with me.

God is faithful. I am truly overwhelmed by His grace.

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September 24 -I Made It

Today was a perfect day to summit Katahdin. More details tomorrow but I am officially a Thru-Hiker!!!!!

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September 21 – Moose in the Wilderness

Day five in the 100 mile wilderness involved a fantastic moose sighting. RaceWalker and I were hiking along a stream and saw two moose directly across the stream from us (mom and youngster). Attached is a photo that really looks like a moose (no chipmunk this time).
Maine continues to be beautiful but rugged. Lots of stream and vistas that take your breath away.

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September 20 – Day #4 in the Wilderness

Beautiful day for hiking in Maine. It was in the 30′s when I woke up at 5am, but the sun warmed us up by 9:00 and the rest if the day was quite pleasant.

Some beautiful scenery today – vistas, ponds, and cool running streams. Maine is so lovely but I am looking forward to climbing the Big Mountain.

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September 23 – Ready to Summit

I hiked the final 10 miles to the base of Katahdin with plans to summit tomorrow. The weather forecast is for a sunny day and I am looking forward to climbing the final mountain of the AT. The adventure has been fantastic and God has been faithful to lead me every step if the long way home.

The trees are starting to change colors in Maine and the trail today was simply gorgeous. The photos below capture just a few of the visual impacts that the path presented today.

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September 19 – White Cap

I past the last hundred mile market (2100 miles!!!). I am about 1/2 way through the wilderness and on top of White Cap Mt. Looking forward to Katahdin.

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September 18 – Less Than 100 Miles

I have less than 100 miles to complete the hike. I ended the day with just 85.9 miles left if the adventure.

The Barren Ledges were particularly beautiful with a great 360 vista.

Very excited to finish up this fantastic trek through 14 states.

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September 17 – Day #1 in the Wilderness

I started my trek across the 100 mile wilderness today. I hope to cross the wilderness in 6 or 7 days. It is call a wilderness because there are no towns and only a few roads in the area.

On day one I saw beautiful ponds and waterfalls. I got to ford to steams – these are fun but the water is ice cold.

The hike is coming to a conclusion but I long to be back home. Thanks so much for following and I hope to update as often as possible all the way to Katahdin.

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