The Appalachian Trail

The Postmark Adventures of Kelvin Kindahl, Part 18

August 8 -- Perham was the northernmost post office of the whole trip. Oxbow, the last new post office that I would get before heading to North Carolina for the PMCC convention, was my post office number 1,799 on this trip. It was also one of the smallest of the entire trip.

Oxbow is a tiny, remote town, several miles off the main road. The post office is in a private home, set up in the front hallway, not walled off from the rest of the house. It was the first post office like this I've seen on this trip. While that used to be fairly common at small forth class offices, there ware very few left like that now. The family dog likes to snooze on the post office counter.

August 10 -- This was the last day of the hike for Ann. On her last day, she hiked up and over Mount Katahdin, from Katahdin Stream Campground to Roaring Brook trailhead parking area, both within Baxter State Park.

After hiking most of the 2,100 miles carrying a backpack, and having the "look" of a through-hiker, Ann walked the last day "disguised" as an ordinary day hiker. At the end of the trail, nobody else around knew she had walked there from Georgia, rather than a few miles away. As for most through-hikers, at the end of the trail is somewhat anti-climactic. There is no party at the end, no finish line with cheering spectators.

Instead we drove back to the cabin of some friends and had a small celebration there. Then we left for Asheville, NC and the PMCC convention on Monday, driving right through Massachusetts without even stopping at home.

Final Notes -- The convention station post office was post office number 1,800, and Pak-N-Post contract station #309 of Asheville was post office number 1,801 of the trip, on Saturday, August 16. The contract station was one of the very few post offices I accidentally missed, but I was able to locate it five months later, still on the same trip!

Acknowledgement -- At the conclusion of this series, I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Vick Steward, who has been responsible for getting my post office journal into the Bulletin. Considering how sloppy my writing can be, especially if I was tired, or if my hands were cold, Vick has done an excellent job of deciphering, typing, and sometimes editing my scribbles. Any misspellings of town names or other mistakes that may have shown up are due to my own illegible handwriting. I hope PMCC members have enjoyed reading this

All in all, the trip was quite an adventure, a lot of fun, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Ann and me. One thing I can say has happened as a result of this trip is that I now save a lot more postmarks for the museum than I used to. After purposefully saving one of every postmark I picked up along the way for the museum, I have continued that habit. In truth I don't know why I didn't do it before, but it is better to start now than not at all.

It was an incredible experience, one which continues to affect both of us in many ways, some of which show up at odd times. It was great to be able to spend six months traveling, visiting post offices, freed from many of the responsibilities of normal life, but is was still wonderful to go home again, following the convention, after six months away.

Bulletin Editor's Note -- During Ann's journey along the Appalachian Trail, Kelvin visited 1,799 post office he had never been to before, and about another 150 he had visited previously. He garnered 3,178 postmarks for his collection, and presented the Postmark Museum with a duplicate set in commemoration of Ann's dream journey.