AT Thru-Hike #81 – Sir Fob W. Pot, AT Thru Hiker

“You can do anything you set your mind to, man”. – Eminem, Lose Yourself

“I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone, I swear I lived.” – One Republic, I Lived

Day 149

I awoke to the wonderful smell of sizzling bacon. I followed my nose downstairs where Grandma Toni had prepared a huge breakfast. She brought me a plate with four pieces of French toast, two eggs, and three strips of bacon. Grandpa Jerry explained that the syrup on the table was “the good stuff” from their own farm. It was the best syrup I’ve ever had. Sorry, Aunt Jemima. Just as I finished off my first plate of food, Grandma Toni brought out a second plate identical to the first one. “You’re not my first thru-hiker,” she explained. I ate everything but the 8th piece of French toast. After packing up, I thanked this amazing couple for their generous hospitality and gave them each a huge hug. I then returned to the trail and continued my northbound journey to Katahdin.

Trail Magic!
Trail Magic!

Near mile 1782.4, Cape Moonshine Road, a gentleman was set up right along the trail in the woods providing Trail Magic! It had been over an hour since I had Grandma Toni’s breakfast so I was definitely ready for the 4-egg omelette Big Tom was offering. He has been doing Trail Magic on this spot throughout the hiking season and had an obvious love for hikers and the AT.

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After a fairly easy 9.8 mile day, I arrived at NH 25 and headed east .3 miles to the Hikers Welcome Hostel. After eating and re-supplying at a nearby gas station, I joined Firefly, Pyro, Tin Man, Kiwi, Virginia Creeper and several others in the hiker lounge. Later, my hiking buddy Foxfire came strolling in and said, “Fob, John says hi.” “John who?” I replied. Foxfire answered, “Some guy named John in a pickup truck pulled up by me as I crossed a road earlier today and asked me if I knew Fob. When I told him I did, he said he loves reading your blog on Trail Journals and to tell you hello and keep hiking and writing.” That’s just crazy. John, whoever you are, thanks for that message and for reading my blog and following my journey. You and others who have posted comments on Trailjournals or Facebook have had a huge impact on me at some times when I really needed it. I read and appreciate every comment.

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After some discussion on which two movies to watch of the hundreds of options, we settled on the rather strange combination of Road to Perdition and Joe Dirt. If the United States ever ceases to be and a future civilization studies our culture, may they never unearth a Joe Dirt DVD and judge us based on it.

Day 150

As the dozen or so hikers found seats around the table in the hiker lounge, there was a little more excitement and nervous anticipation than normal. Part of that may have been due to the smell of dozens of pancakes about to be served to us by the hostel staff. But even more than that, our minds were on the mighty White Mountains that awaited us. We were like a bunch of anxious football players in the locker room moments before the big game.

Paper Beats Rock
Paper Covers Rock

Most AT thru hikers consider The Whites, which run from New Hampshire to southern Maine, to be the most difficult section of the entire trail. New Hampshire has forty-eight 4000 footer mountains and most of those are in The Whites. They include 6288-foot Mount Washington, home to the worst weather on the planet, and Mount Madison, which some consider the AT’s toughest climb. The Whites are also home to Mahoosuc Notch, a mile long boulder field that is considered the toughest and most fun mile on the AT.

So The Whites are a huge test and challenge for AT hikers. The Whites are where you most need your 2000-mile, rock hard trail legs. The Whites are where you tap the reservoir of courage and determination you’ve been building up since Springer Mountain. The Whites are where you’re glad you had that 4th egg, 6th piece of bacon, and 7th piece of French Toast.

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Fueled by pancakes, coffee, and adrenaline, I exited “the locker room” and excitedly made my way to the base of 4802-foot Mount Moosilauke, the first of the mighty White Mountains.

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And that, dear readers, is where my AT blog comes to an end. I have decided to shift my energies from writing a blog to writing a book! The book will hopefully be released some time in 2017. It will cover my entire journey, to include the not yet blogged about last 35 days on the trail. It will detail, among other things…

– A devastating fall in southern Maine that left me bloodied, shaken, and minus a trekking pole.
– A crazy mile-long rock scramble through Mahoosuc Notch, and a brutal climb up and over Mount Washington in high winds and rain.
– An incredible final week in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness.
– An amazing reunion with my wife, dad, and a life-long friend.
– My final climb and (spoiler alert) summit of Katahdin! That’s right, Fob is now officially an AT thru hiker!  On September 13th, I became the 650th NOBO hiker to summit Katahdin!  I hit every white blaze on the 2189.1 mile AT and carried my own pack the entire way.
– The final moments and my thoughts as I delivered my mom’s ashes to their final resting place.
– How my faith in God has changed as a result of my hike.                          – The results of our collective fund-raising efforts to help the Colon family adopt a child.
– My AT superlatives, lessons learned, and recommendations for future hikers.
– My plans for the future to include a few new bucket list items.
– A long list of people to thank who have helped me, cheered for me, enabled my AT journey, and encouraged me to write a book.

If you would like to receive an email when the book is ready for ordering, please send your email address to thebigsteve66@gmail.com. I will not share your email address or use it in any way other than to notify you of the book’s release.

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Hiking the AT has been the most challenging, difficult, and interesting thing I’ve ever done. It was everything I hoped for and more. I’m thankful to God for sustaining me in every way imaginable on this incredible journey. And I’m thankful to each of you for joining me on this journey and encouraging me each step of the way. Thank you so much for reading my blog! And thank you in advance to each of you who will take the time to read my eventual first book.

Trail Flirt
Trail Flirt

Perhaps I should close with some lyrics from a 1985 Mr. Mister song that came to mean a lot to me during my six long months on the AT…

Kyrie eleison (Lord, Have Mercy) down the road that I must travel,
Kyrie eleison through the darkness of the night,
Kyrie eleison where I’m going will you follow?
Kyrie eleison on a highway in the light.

Sir Fob W. Pot, AT Thru-Hiker, Class of 2016

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27 thoughts on “AT Thru-Hike #81 – Sir Fob W. Pot, AT Thru Hiker”

  1. Congratulations and well done! I am definitely looking forward to your book! Do you think Tom Hanks will play you in the movie?

    1. Thanks, Stump! Funny you should say that because several people have told me I look like him. Poor guy! Got you on the book list.

  2. Looking forward to reading your book but hoping to hear more about it directly from your lips! Hope to be able to meet up with the two of u in the near future. Love both of you!!!

    1. Love you guys too! Sorry we missed you at church Sunday in Manassas…heard you were out of town. But we got hugs from your grandkids so that was cool. Got you on the book list.

    1. Thanks, Erica! There will still be some posts…just about other things…like our RV travel adventures. Not quite the same as hiking the AT but still pretty fun.

  3. Thanks Steve for all your blogs and your writing abilities is so discreptive. I do want you to let me know when your book comes out and you can sign it to your South Walker church softball coach, many years ago. A Christian Brother…. Love to you and Janet!

    1. Thanks, Rick! Or should I say, Coach Harris! You were a fine coach, as I recall…always encouraging me to lay down a bunt to get on base! I’ve got you on the book list. Go Cowboys!

  4. What?! No more blogs?! I have read everyone of them. Used a couple as Wednesday night devotional thoughts. Thanks for taking me along on this adventure of a lifetime. Sign me up for the book. And when you and Janet are in Tullahoma, let me know. Would love to see you and to have you come speak at church.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog and were able to use a couple of them. Looking forward to seeing you and sharing some thoughts with your church. I’ve also got you on the book notification list.

  5. WOW congrats Steve what a journey Janice and I are so glad you made it. Hope to meet you again someday. We want that book. Again Congratulations that is the trip of a lifetime. Thanks for keeping in touch along the way. Janice and Haynes

    1. Haynes – I’ve got you on the book distribution list…and rest assured you’ll be in it for the amazing Carvers Gap Trail Magic! You guys rock!

  6. Have thoroughly enjoyed your posts, Steve, and can’t wait until the book is published (I want a copy!). I have thought about your Mom (and Dad) during your trek. They have many reasons to be proud of you. And I know that Janet must be “over the moon” that you’re “a thru” and “through.” Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Sarah Keith! I wish you could see the spot where I placed my mom’s ashes. I need to post a photo of that at some point. I appreciate all your positive comments and support throughout my journey.

  7. I will really miss your blogs and can’t wait to read your book; hurry up and write it! Thank you for sharing your journey with the rest of us. You rock!

  8. I’m going to miss, or I should say, I’m already missing the almost daily posts about your journey. I tracked you two ways in the AT guide book that I purchased at Amacolola St Pk. One when your blog posted, and another when you posted daily pictures and comments. You have the gift of writing that took readers right along behind you on the trail. Well done! I am looking forward to your book!!

    1. Maurine – you were my/our first Trail Angel and I hope to capture the impact you had on me in the book. Thanks for following my journey and cheering for me…even months before I started! Still remember the Neels Gap McD’s like it was yesterday!

  9. Consider me signed up. You can just bring mine and Brandon’s copy with you when you and Janet return to Tuscaloosa. Knew you could do it! Great job, Fobster!

  10. Great job, Fobster! I knew you could do it. Consider me signed up for your book. Just bring my copy with you when you and Janet return to T-Town.

    1. Will do Peter. We’ll bring copies for you and Brandon…in exchange for the opportunity to climb a ladder with some roofing nails!

  11. We will miss reading your blog but eagerly await the release of your book. So please put us on the notification list!
    Sounds like you’ll still be posting adventures here. Look forward to hearing of your and Jan’s travels.

    1. Hey, Deann…I’ve got you on the book notification list. And yes, I’ll be blogging some about our RV adventures, just not quite as often.

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