Big Cypress and his wife, Moonbeam, started their adventure of hiking the Appalachian Trail on February 14 as The Two Peas, dreaming of summiting Mount Katahdin together in the fall of 2016. Moonbeam experienced a very serious fall, breaking her femur and ending her hike. However, Big Cypress returned with his son (Animal) and continued his northbound trek to Maine. October 6th brought the father and son to the end of the trail. Moonbeam was there, driving a support vehicle along the way. I love this story of diligence and victory. The thru-hike took 236 days!
My last update on The Two Peas found them on September 18 about a day’s hike away from entering the last state on the trail, and 283 miles of rugged trail in Maine. Moonbeam kept such a nice detailed journal so I thought I would take a little extra space and provide a quick synopsis of the end of this wonderful story.
9/19/16: Carlo Col shelter in Maine to Grafton Notch State Park/ME 26 for 14.1 miles
The 19th involved Mahoosuc Notch – the most difficult mile of the AT. Then they went on to Mahoosuc Arm at 3770′. Several times that day Big Cypress & Animal heard…“you can’t or you shouldn’t do the notch & arm on the same day.” Well, hind sight, they wouldn’t, but they did and lived to tell the tale. Several falls were taken. Animal thought for sure dad was gonna need a helicopter off the trail. But after a short rest, and great surprise by both, off they went down the path. Big said, “God took care of me on that one, cuz I know I should’ve been all broken.”
9/20/16: Grafton Notch to East B Hill Road for 10.3 miles.
Hiking Highlights: Baldpate West & East peaks, Dunn Notch and Falls. Slept in until about 6:30. Pancakes, coffee – Big Cypress & Animal hit the trail about 9am. After a five hour hike, Moonbeam prepared hot water for foot soaking.
9/21/16: Start at East B Hill Rd to South Arm Rd. for 10.1 miles
Hiking Highlights: Wyman Mtn 2920′ down to Sawyer Notch at 1095′ and Moody Mtn at 2440′ then South Arm Rd. They tented in backyard of Little Red Hen. Church bells were our alarm clock this morning.
9/22/16: South Arm Rd to ME 17 Oquossoc ME for 13.2 miles.
Highlights today: South Arm Rd, Old Blue Mtn., Bemis Mtn, Bemis Mtn Second Peak, Bemis Stream. The guys headed out about 8 am. After eggs on tortillas for breakfast.
9/23/16: Left at 7:45 am. ME 17/Height of Land view to ME 4 for 13.2 miles then continued on to Redington Campsite 8.0 miles for 21.2 Miles today!
Hiking Highlights: Moxie Pond, Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to, Little Swift River Pond, South Pond and after lunch Eddy Pond 2643′, up to Saddleback Mountain 4120′, The Horn 4021′, and sleeping at Redington Campsite – arrived at 5:30 pm
9/24/16: Redington Campsite mile to Caribou Valley Rd/Caribou Pond Rd for 15.9 miles,
Hiking Highlights: Saddleback Mtn Junior, Orbeton Stream, Sluice Brook, Lone Mountain, Mt Abraham, Spaulding Mtn, and finally Sugarloaf Mountain – arrived at 7:45 pm. Big Cypress & Animal camped out last night and had a tough night with freezing temperatures.
9/25/16: Caribou Valley Rd to ME 27 (at AT mile 2000.9) for 8.3 miles
Reached the 2000 mile goal today! The Crocker Cirque campsite & stream, then up to South Crocker Mountain & North Crocker Mtn. with a well-deserved Nero & Zero at the Stratton Motel. Sunny, 38° chilly & very windy.
9/26/16: Great night sleep and Breakfast at The Looney Moose….big hiker meal & chocolate chip pancakes….delicious!! Trail planning and TV binge watching, Criminal Minds on ION channel.
9/27/16: ME 27 to East Flagstaff Rd for 16.7 miles
Hiking Highlights of today’s hike: Stratton Brook Pond, South Horn, Bigelow Mtn., Avery Peak, Little Bigelow Mtn, to East Flagstaff Rd. The hikers arrived at about 4 pm. Big Cypress, Animal and Moonbeam had dinner, and a walk down to Flagstaff Lake. After a foot soaking, it was off to bed at about 5:30-ish.
9/28/16: East Flagstaff Rd to Otter Pond Rd for 16.9 miles
Hiking Highlights for today: West Carry Pond & Lean To, East Carry Pond, Scott Rd., Carrying Place Stream, Pierce Pond. The guys arrived early at about 230-3 pm. Trail meals and soaked feet. Hit the hay about 5 pm.
9/29/16: Otter Pond Rd to Kennebec River 3 miles then to Moxie Pond/Troutdale Rd for 15.3 miles
Hiking Highlights: Canoe across the Kennebec River, Pleasant Pond Mtn and nice hiking day. This morning they splurged and had pancakes at Harrison’s Camp. The hikers arrived at about 3:30, in good spirits and both wanting a foot bath tonight. They had a small campfire and dinner before
9/30/16: Moxie Pond to Lake Hebron parking area for 21.5 miles today.
Highlights: Moxie Bald Mountain and several stream & the East Branch of the Piscatiquis River. Supposed to ford this river, but all hikers have said it’s a rock hop, as water levels are crazy low. Big & Animal were on trail by 7 am. and completed the 20+ mile trek at 4:00 pm.
10/1/16: Lake Hebron mile to Otter Pond Near Long Pond Stream Lean-to mile 2089 for 18.6 miles
Big Cypress & Animal were on the trail about 7 am. After a 4 pancake breakfast whipped up by Moonbeam. The hikers’ voices were heard again at 4:30. Snacks, foot soaking, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were on the menu. Bed by 6 pm. “Hard to believe we are under 100 miles left, 99.2 to be exact.”
Animal met with an angry group of ground nesting yellow jackets. He suffered about a dozen stings but Moonbeam was on the rescue with anti-itch cream & anti-histamine Crisis averted.
10/2/16: Otter Pond to Katahdin Ironworks Rd for 14.5 miles.
Hiking Highlights: Barren Ledges, Barren Mtn., Fourth Mtn., Mt Three and a Half, Third Mtn. Columbus Mtn,, and Chairback Mtn.
Big Cypress and Animal were off at a few minutes after 7. Animal arrived at 2:15, Big Cypress arrived about 30 minutes later.
10/3/16: KI Rd to Jo-Mary Rd for 28.7 miles.
Only about in the 50’s for high temp. Moonbeam arrived at Jo-Mary Rd. Paid $12 for herself & truck, plus $10 for 2 nights’ sleep out on the roads in the area. Tacos for dinner.
10/4/16: Jo-Mary Rd to Pollywog Stream for 23.5 miles
Hiking Highlights: Nahmakanta Lake, then Nesuntabunt Mountain, Pollywog Gorge. Big miles yesterday and big miles day tomorrow!!
10/5/16: Pollywog Stream to Katahdin Stream Campground @ Baxter Park for 27.4 miles.
Biggest Highlight today: Rainbow Ledges with a view of the finish line of Baxter Peak and Mount Katahdin.
10/6/16: SUMMIT DAY – Awake at 4:30, anxious for the day! On the trail at 6 am. Animal was hiker #1087 and Big Cypress #1088 to summit Katahdin. Cold morning (30-40 degrees) but close to 70 for the high today. Clear & sunny & gorgeous. For the accomplishment, Animal received a special card for completing his 582 miles. The trek down the mountain ended about 1:30 pm. The words of Moonbeam are quite appropriate:
1:30 pm, Big Cypress logged in the trail register that party of two returned from the summit. So….when I saw a brown hat & blue shirt through the trees, I knew it was Big. I started walking towards him and I completely lost it, I was a blubbering mess. Just about hysterical!! We hugged for several minutes and I regained my composer. We sat & talked & Big Cypress ate, while we waited for Animal.
When Animal finally arrived, I greeted him up the trail with a fist bump and congratulations!! Ok, so Big and I were talking about this last 5 miles. “If I didn’t have to go up there in order to finish I wouldn’t have, I would have turned around & went down.” “It’s a dangerous mountain & precarious edges.” Hats Off and DEEP bow to those who have reached the sign for that famous finish picture and Conquered their fear of heights etc….