Out of the woods and up the mountain
by Margaret TearmanBay Weekly staff writer
Kathy and Greg Reshetiloff, of Edgewater, took off for a journey of a lifetime back in March of 2006. For six months, they lived, walked, slept and ate on the 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail (Vol. xiv, No. 48 Nov. 30, 2006).
They made it as far as Danby, Vermont over 1600 miles when an injury forced Kathy to abandon her hike. Greg continued alone to reach trail’s end atop Maine’s Mt. Kathadin.
Kathy vowed she would return to Vermont and pick up where she left off.
That’s just what she did this July, with Greg at her side.
This time, Greg’s health threatened her second chance at making it all the way.
Back on the Trail
Kathy knew her return to full-time hiking would be demanding. The section she missed on her first attempt includes some of the trail’s most rugged terrain.
“I know it’s gonna be hard,” said Kathy in March, before resuming her hike. “I’m hoping I will have the stamina and strength to finish it.”
The Reshetiloffs returned to the trail in Danby on July 30, picking up right where Kathy left off.
With almost 540 miles of mountains between them and their goal, Kathy quickly found her stride.
“It’s only been four days,” she wrote in her journal, “and I’m already into the swing of things. My legs feel good. Hiking feels good.” Even the blisters didn’t slow her down. “Once I get going and the endorphins kick in I don’t feel them,” she wrote. “I guess it’s the same as any other sport.”
Life on the trail was good as the Reshetiloffs hiked across Vermont and New Hampshire. They crossed into Maine on August 19.
But with just over 300 miles to go, the hike was about to go downhill.
Around midnight on September 1, pain gripped Greg as he urinated. By 3:30am, he knew he needed medical help. He and Kathy, joined by fellow hiker Radar, set out for the nearest town.
By 5am, Greg’s pain downed him; he couldn’t walk another step. Kathy stayed with him while Radar walked on.
“I tried not to think negatively,” Kathy recalls, “but I was worried. I prayed to a lot of entities to keep my Greg safe.”
Two long hours later, Kathy’s prayers were answered when a hiker appeared. He had met Radar, he told them, and his wife was taking Radar into town for help.
“I don’t remember when the first search-and-rescue guy arrived,” says Kathy, “but I started to cry. Greg cried too, especially when he found out he didn’t carry any pain medication.”
Radar soon appeared with another medic and a group of college students. With Greg firmly secured to a plastic litter, his rescuers pushed, pulled and carried him over boulders, through two swamps and out of the woods to a logging road and an ambulance.
Even so, Greg’s rescue wasn’t over.
The ambulance was meet a helicopter to fly to the hospital.
Only after pleas did the pilot evaluate their combined weights and allow Kathy on the helicopter.
With pain medication, Greg was feeling better.
Kathy relaxed enough to enjoy a view of the Maine woods she never expected to see.
The 30-minute ride ended at the hospital in Bangor, where a CT scan revealed 4.5 mm kidney stone.
The Reistheloffs checked into a hotel, fortified with pain medicine, and waited for the stone to pass.
Twenty four hours later, the path was clear and Greg and Kathy were back on the trail.
To the Top
Ten days after walking out of the hospital, Greg and Kathy climbed Mt. Kathadin, reaching the end of the trail.
“I got to do the best part twice,” says Greg. “And I got to do it with Kathy.”
Kathy won’t need a second time.
“I walked straight to the rock with my last white blaze on it,” recalls Kathy. “That was it. I have finished this adventure. Now I can close this book and open a new one.”