The End of Our Epic Trek

November 1, 2017

With just 8.5 miles left of our AT thru-hike, the last day dawned to rainy gray drizzle.  Once again we loaded packs into Edna’s van for the ride to Green Mountain Store, yesterday’s stopping point.  There we ate breakfast with our hostess, enjoying cups of hot coffee and tea as well as delicious omelettes.  As I hugged Edna good-bye, I could scarcely believe our hike was coming to an end.  Our last two nights had been passed in comfort thanks to these wonderful friends.  Now it was time to finish our quest.

Cold sprinkles of precipitation chilled our faces and slid down our necks as we hiked under slate-colored clouds.  But the sunless day couldn’t dampen my feelings of anticipation.  After eight months, our goal was practically in sight!

Water drops beaded across the backs of sassafras leaves and shimmered slightly on flame-colored maples and oaks.  Their beauty reminded me to slow down and savor this last day.

I could scarcely contain my excitement as we reached the northern border of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  Our last half mile of trail was a delight – flat, wide, graveled, skirting a very scenic lake.  Quite a civilized ending after the arduous hills, mountains, cliffs, and rocks we had traversed during our journey.

Dave and Edna surprised us once more by meeting us at the state park with a thermos of hot coffee.  Such a thoughtful treat on this cold day!  But even better than the coffee was the company as Edna walked that last half mile with us, then both our friends posed in front of the Appalachian Museum.  Jay and I had last seen that building on June 21 – four and a half months ago!   Four thousand fifty hikers registered their thru-hike attempt with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy this year.  Only a quarter of those hikers finished.  And here we were, taking the last steps in our 2,190 miles.  Emotions threatened to overwhelm.  We had done it!

Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park was a fitting end to our trek.

 

Author: Sarah and Jay Bigelow

Hi! We live in the Carson Valley in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Sarah is a retired elementary school teacher, and Jay is a retired fish biologist. We are in our 50's, and have been married for 30 years.

8 thoughts on “The End of Our Epic Trek”

  1. Dear Sarah and Jay –
    Congratulations on finishing your hike! What a great accomplishment!
    I had met you by the Delaware Water Gap, Penn the week of October 8th. I was out on the AT for the day with a group from Road Scholar Vacations ! I sent you an email with a photo I had snapped of the both of you !
    Congratulations again and best of luck in your future Hiking!
    Karen Tyrell

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  2. Congratulations Jay and Sarah. I am excited to hear that you completed your journey. That is exciting and impressive. I met you at Mount Greylock. I was hiking with my son and my sister and some of her friends. Safe travels back to Nevada and again, congratulations!
    Mary Ann & Kevin Lindwall

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    1. Dear Mary Ann and Kevin,
      Thank you for the good wishes! We are still so grateful to you both for the gift of the hat to Jay. Have a lovely winter, and maybe you will enjoy reading our further adventures next spring!
      Your grateful friend, Sarah

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  3. Wonderful! I’m going to miss keeping up with you two. You are great writers and have made following you a joy! Sarah, hope to see you sometime when you come to TN to visit your parents (and stop long enough to come play handbells with us for old time sake)!!! Amy Large

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    1. Dear Amy,
      Thank you so much for the good wishes! Playing handbells with your group last January was a total joy. I do hope that I will get the opportunity again! In the meantime, have a lovely holiday season, and perhaps you will enjoy reading our further adventures next spring!
      Your friend, Sarah

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  4. So proud of you Sarah and all of the obstacles that you overcame. I have enjoyed reading about your journey and am thankful that God made our paths cross at Merchants Mill Pond. May Peace, Good Health, Love and Adventure continue to bless you and Jay.

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    1. Dear Connie,
      I, too, am thankful and grateful that our paths crossed at Merchant’s Millpond. You gave me encouragement and good advice just when I needed it! I’m glad you enjoyed reading our blog. Perhaps you will enjoy reading our further adventures next spring. Take care, and thank you, again, for your help.
      Your friend, Sarah

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