Today is the 146th day on the trail for Steven and Matt Spydell of Independence, and today or Sunday they plan to walk up Mount Katahdin in central Maine, completing their hike of the entire 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail.

Just a few more steps.

Today is the 146th day on the trail for Steven and Matt Spydell of Independence, and today or Sunday they plan to walk up Mount Katahdin in central Maine, completing their hike of the entire 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail.

“Thar she is .... Katahdin!” they posted on Facebook on Friday.

The father and son set out the day after Easter, April 5, on the southern end of the trail, outside Atlanta. They have run across bears and rattlesnakes and have been caught in snow, rain and fog. They have struggled with triple-digit temperatures and scarce water. They have hiked under a full moon as lightning flashed in the distance.

There’s been more of it this week.

“Miserable conditions,” they posted Thursday. “Pouring rain and a sore hamstring, from Draggin’ Tail’s fall number 16, is slowing us down. (Draggin’ Tail is Steven’s trail name.) May climb Katahdin Sunday instead of Saturday. Hope our end of trail ride out of Maine is flexible.”

They are doing all of this for a cause, raising money for Water for People, a group that promotes self-sustaining water and wastewater systems in developing countries. The website http://hikingforwater.org/ – where Steven and Matt have posted pictures – says 6,000 people worldwide die each day from water-related illnesses.

This weekend several relatives are gathering with Steven and Matt to hike up the last mountain. They have stopped along the way to visit family and plan to do some more before coming home in about a week.

Steven, 56, took a leave from his job as a superintendent in the Independence Water Pollution Control Department to make the trip, and Matt, 18, worked hard to graduate a semester early from William Chrisman High School.

The trail crosses 14 states. The hikers meant to average about 15 miles a day, depending on weather, terrain, fatigue and other factors. Some days they have made better than 30 miles. Sometimes they stop for a day at one of the many hostels along the trail for a shower, supplies, a decent bed and rest. They’ve made no mention of it in their recent posts, but they expected the last 100 miles – “the wilderness” in central Maine – be especially challenging, with none of those amenities.

They’ve been carrying 30-pound packs and, as they have progressed 20 boxes of food have been mailed ahead from home. There are other treats, too. “The blueberries are getting in the way of our hiking,” they posted July 1 from New Jersey.