In the summer of 1932, eighteen year-old Barbara Follett and her “semi-platonic” friend Nickerson Rogers quit New York City and headed to Maine with the plan of following (or semi-following) the nascent Appalachian Trail from its northern terminus at Katahdin as far south as they could get before winter set in. To make matters tricky, the AT had not yet been cut in Maine, so bush-whacking and guesswork were in order. Travels Without a Donkey recounts their adventures from Katahdin to Lake Umbagog on the New Hampshire border. They then continued their walk over the White Mountains and down Vermont’s Long Trail to western Massachusetts. They had been planning to hitch-hike to Tennessee to continue their journey along the AT, but something changed their minds and they sailed to Majorca instead, spending the winter of 1932 and most of 1933 exploring southern Europe.
“It’s spring,” Nick said.
In the very shadow of New York’s skyline, one solitary white crocus had blossomed in a scrawny patch of grass.
“What shall we do about it?” he demanded.
“What does anybody in New York do about it? Grin and bear it.”
“Come on, Bar–show a spark of life, old gal. I’m getting out of here this summer.”… Read more
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
In the summer of 1931, Barbara, Nick Rogers, and two friends spent some time camping and exploring the Katahdin area of Maine. Later, Barbara wrote about her relationship with the great mountain entitled Rocks.
Transcribing Rocks was a moving experience for me. I’ve climbed Katahdin three times and remember many of the landmarks Barbara describes: Chimney Pond, The Chimney, The Monument, Pamola Peak, and, of course, Knife-Edge, one of the more exhilarating 1.1 miles of trail I’ve walked. Here’s a taste of what it’s like, with thanks to YouTube user roh92cp:
This was the “Knife-Edge” of Mount Katahdin. It was a ragged edge of rock suspended in a space of clouds.
I was trying to climb backwards down a bristling hump, and the foothold I had got up by seemed to have vanished. I felt for it helplessly with one foot. I couldn’t see below, because the rocks were in the way. There seemed nothing to do. I clung, trembling a little. All around, great swift drops into space that swirled with mist. Everything was wet–grasses and hardy vines were pearled with small drops; so were my hair and eyelashes.
I took a chance, and jumped, backwards, for a narrow ledge below.… Read more