Category: Trips

NYE

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Ventured out to the champs-élysées early…

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than scooped mom up and headed out to the park beneath the Eiffel Tower at around 11 to set up for midnight.

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Kind of an anything goes party in Paris where street vendors will sell you bottles of champagne on the street in advance of the calendar flip.

New Years Eve

Paris

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We have arrived. Day 1 was beautiful and a bit chaotic. Lines for the Eiffel Tower are staggering. Place is amazing and real close to the tower. Neighborhood is very quaint. We are in the 7th arrondissement which is central.

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Today we we visited the Sacre-Coeur which is a church in Montmartre with the 2nd highest point in Paris.

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From here we got our obligatory picture in front of Moulin Rouge and strolled along the Seine and through the grounds of the Louvre. Didn’t make it in because we arrived just as it was closing but the sight of the place from the outside was impressive.

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Gearing up for New Years festivities. Planning on the Champs-Élysées early and scooping up mom for the Eiffel Tower at midnight.

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Early Paris

Landed and made our way out. Must have logged 5 miles walking all over the city. Highlights were the quiet and architecturally beautiful neighborhoods around Coit Tower and the lounging Sea Lions resting on the docks of Fishermans Wharf where we had a clear view of Alcatraz. Telegraph Hill was an extremely angled road that I remembered from the crazy scene from ‘The Hulk’. After this we wandered through Chinatown but while it may have been bigger than the one in NY I enjoy the layout of the one in NYC much better. Finished the day at 21st Amendment ‘Brewery’ which, like most breweries, wound up being no more than a glorified brewpub carrying a wide variety of offerings.

The highlight may have been the campsite we spent the first night in. Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, Centennial campground offered amazing views of the bay, bridge, and city all in one. We had dinner on a picnic table as the sun went down and the lights of San Fran appeared in the distance.

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San Francisco

It’s Official

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Climbing Katahdin

When you get to the end you expect the mountain Katahdin to be a simple punctuation mark on a long and sometimes painful journey. Once you start up you realize quickly that the climb up is going to be maybe the toughest climb on the entire trail. You start up from a nice comfortable riverfront campsite at the base and enjoy a leisurely but steadily ascending but once you start seriously climbing you realize that you are going to be in for a grueling day. The climb up incorporates elements from many other mountains we encountered along the trail. You can basically put your hiking poles away because your hike begins with a steep hands-on climb up with intermittent boulders lining the way toward what has been described by Spit Walker as a vertical Mahoosuc Notch which basically means that you take perhaps the most technically demanding mile along the AT. As you climb hand over foot up the face of huge boulders you realize you are hanging onto a huge rock for dear life as you look over your shoulder at the steep dropoff into the valley below.

I can not describe the feeling that came over me as I realized I would be taking my final steps. The Katahdin sign represents the culmination of a long, arduous journey that has been quite a drain at times. The relief that I can walk on my own for a while without the aid of white blazes gives me a sense of freedom believe it or not even though I will miss every single aspect of what the trail has to offer.

To make matters a little more perilous I was goaded into heading back down the mountain over the other side on a narrow, jutting, and mounding series of smaller peaks that are known as the Knife Edge. The name alone represents just how dicey the descent can be but since I came up one way (Hunt trail) I figured it would not be a wise idea to start backtracking miles now so I went up and over the peak and down the very ridge that conjured up the very intimidating name.

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