As far as we know, Ryan and Catherine Thompson just became the first through paddlers of the 2010 season. After departing Old Forge NY on April 15 (see my blog post on their launch – Journeys on Screen, Water, and Land), they arrived in Fort Kent ME on May 10. It was great to hear from them during their “zero day” at the Northern Door Inn, before they start the next leg of the adventure…a north-south through hike of the Appalachian Trail:
“We wanted to let you know that we completed our thru-paddle yesterday (5/10) at 1:00pm. There are so many words we have to express what the canoe trail meant to us, but now I don’t have the time to share them. We have a growing appreciation for what you, and others, have done for the NFCT and we cannot even begin to express our thanks. We apologize for not having kept in touch with you more, but this is only the second computer we have come in contact with since we have left home (Old Forge).
Right now we are at the Northern Door Inn in Fort Kent. We took a zero today so we could re-supply and gear up for the next leg of our trip. Katahdin is still covered with snow, and as of right now, most of the trails are closed on the north side of the mountain. Even though we will be there early, we are hoping that the rangers will let us up and over the mountain in a week or so. Our goal is to try to link the NFCT and AT together in a way that would be easiest and most accessable for others trying to do a thru paddle/hike. So, tomorrow we will be leaving Fort Kent to continue down the St. John to Frenchville and portage to Long Lake by the town of St. Agatha. You can follow Long Lake (in a downstream direction) to Mud, Cross, Square, and then Eagle and St. Froid Lake. From there you can paddle up the Fish river, or portage on rt. 11 to Portage Lake. We will drop off our canoe in the village of Portage Lake (I have family in the Presque Isle area picking it up) and put on our walking shoes to go 130 ‘ish’ miles down the Pinkham and Telos roads to walk the entire length of Baxter St. Park. From there it’s up and over Katahdin and down to Georgia.”
What an amazing journey Ryan and Catherine are undertaking on two multi-state trail resources. All of us at NFCT wish them the best, and we will be sure to share their stories with you along the way (to the extent that they are able to access computers!).
Catherine and Ryan on the bank of the St. John River at Fort Kent, Maine. May 10, 2010.