I hope that everyone is enjoying 2008! The year of 2007 was one of my best. Gosh, I got to spend 8 months hiking and canoeing. Folks, it doesn't get much better than that.
Charlie Mahler of Canoeing.com and Canoeing.com, as Rob mentioned earlier, has taken an interest in my 2007 hiking/ canoeing adventure. In addition to the story they wrote I recently took the time to answer several questions for them. My responses resulted in another set of follow-up questions that I will answer shortly. Once Canoeing.com posts to their website I will provide a heads up. However, you should not wait for my story to check them out! The following responses are a sampling of what you will soon be able to read at Canoeing.com:
1. Canoeing.com: What prompted this epic journey of yours?
Jason "TDS" Bivin: Charlie, Thank you for taking an interest in my story and the time to ask these questions. I was attempting a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and while at The Sauffley’s, a hostel, I read about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. This water trail was officially completed in the Spring of 2006, the same time I was hiking the PCT. About this time a kid from Wisconsin was hiking around us and we spent some time talking about paddling. These talks got me thinking seriously about a future thru-paddle of the NFCT. It was Spring time in Portland, OR, some friends were starting AT, CDT and PCT thru- hikes, I was miserable with my job and a long term relationship I was in was ending. So I needed a change. After some consideration I began a preliminary plan to do both the AT and NFCT in one season, hoping to be the first to complete both. I had to do it or I would have been crazy. I announced my decision and began planning. Once I sat at the rock atop Springer Mountain, GA, the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, I never thought I would fail. It was on!
2. Canoeing.com: Now that it's completed, what do you think will be the enduring impact of it for you?
Jason "TDS" Bivin: Well, Charlie, first I would say that it is not yet completed. Not totally 100% completed. I was not able to paddle some 160 miles of the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I did complete the 2174 mile Appalachian Trail but there is still some work to complete. My plan is to wrap up the NFCT miles next Spring. I did set out to be the First to thru- paddle the NFCT and thru-hike the AT in one season. I fell short of this accomplishment due to low water conditions on much of the NFCT and time but still accomplished a great deal personally and 2700+ hiking and canoeing miles in eight and a half months.
What will endure time will be the lessons I learned along the paddle, the experiences and the people. Some pretty amazing things take place in the wilderness and I had the privilege of seeing some of them this year. At a campsite in New Hampshire a black bear watched me eat dinner from just several feet of where I sat by campfire, while paddling down the Allegash River a bald eagle snatched a meal from the water just in front of my canoe, bull moose enjoying breakfast close enough that it might be considered we had breakfast together. What I learned about long distance paddling was brand new. I experienced white water river paddling, big open lake paddling and bog paddling for the first time along the NFCT in 2007. No matter where I landed, there were always great people in close proximity. Many folks helped along the trail, many friends and family helped from abroad. All of these people make the experience both possible and memorable.
...Best of luck in 2008 and THANK YOU to everyone that helped make my 2007 AT/NFCT experience premium!
Regards and Happy Trails,
Jason "Totally Different Subject" Bivin