Thursday, October 4, 2012

The climb of a lifetime

Oh my God, it’s over! I DID IT! I finished the trail and took to the summit of Mt. Katahdin on September 1st at around 12:30 pm. It’s just surreal. With almost six months on the trail, I still can’t believe I finally made it to the finish line. I feel as though I’ve been born again.
The 100 Mile Wilderness

"It’s so remote you’ll go days without seeing anyone unless you’re in the hiker bubble."

"The roads are only used by the logging trucks. Don’t bet on being able to get out of the wilderness in a hurry."

These were some of the warnings given to us hikers before heading out into the 100 Mile Wilderness from Monson, Maine. On the first day, I ran into about a dozen people who drove in just to go swimming at the top of Little Wilson Falls. One kid on vacation with his girlfriend had no idea that the Appalachian Trail even existed and couldn’t fathom the idea of hiking for over 2000 miles. While he was trying to process all that I was trying to figure out where all these people came from. It was like a bus pulled up with a bunch of tourists from New York City. My plan at this point was to keep going north deeper into the desolate wild.

On the next day, at some 30 miles into the wilderness, I made camp near the Katahdin Iron Works Road where there happened to be several other campers spread out in the area. Only a few of the campers were thru-hikers like me, one was my friend Amy. The other two guys were young students in a hurry to finish the trail before school started again. They had started hiking the trail in Georgia only three months earlier. Three months, let’s see… that means they were averaging about 22 miles a day, even in the Whites and southern Maine. I would have hurt myself at that pace. Anyway, the camp area had at least six other tents with folks who happen to be in the area to tour the Gulf Hagas, a narrow gorge with several waterfalls. So again I was left wondering when the wilderness will become "more remote."

Finally on the third day, there was silence from all crowds. The only sounds I could hear was from the birds singing in the warm summer air, frogs bellowing in the swamps, the occasional bee buzzing by… and the damn rattling of an empty logging truck gunning down the road in a hurry to fill his flat bed. Aside from not having a town to pull into to resupply, this first 50 or so miles in the wilderness seemed anything but remote.

It was later that day however that I discovered what was finally inevitable with warm dry weather… dehydration. In the last few days there was no rain and the heat kicked it up into high gear. I never thought Maine could feel like Florida, but it did. Dehydration was really painful; it was almost like having my kidneys kicked-in by an over active soccer mom. I found myself unable to move a few times. After several breaks and some emergency water sourcing (my apologies to the frog that was ousted from his pool) I had regained my strength to keep going. My only recourse was having Amy around while I succumbed to the true meaning behind "remote." She had to get me water once when I couldn’t move. Thankfully the trail was providing the water when I needed it. Sometimes we hear the saying, "The trail will provide." And it does.

I spent three days dealing with dehydration on and off because it was just THAT hot. I sweat… A LOT. There’s nothing like carrying my bodily fluids on the OUTSIDE in all my clothing while I hike. My choice of hiking apparel usually consists of quick drying material, but I think that is understood to be true while I’m NOT wearing them. Yes, I sweat THAT bad.

Once I got over the half way point the rest of the wilderness wasn’t too bad, other than the previously mentioned heat and humidity. Getting into Abol Bridge just means that the end of the trail was that much closer. I’ve been secretly praying for the end to come, but when it was almost over, I didn’t want it to be. Maine has been one of the most beautiful states I visited on the trail. Hiking Maine as the last state on the trail was like having it for dessert.

Hiking to the top of Katahdin

Four words: Toughest Trail Climb Ever! At first it seemed too easy on the going up the first couple miles. After I started hitting the big boulders I began to slow WAY down. There were rocks that had no foot holds and nothing to grab on to. Some spots seemed to beg for a misstep so that the mountain could claim another life. It was definitely the most technical of all the climbs I’ve ever done. Only Mahoosuc Notch came close in difficulty.

Once I got to the top all the other thru-hikers who had made the climb were there to help in cheering me on to the finish. I’ll admit it. I got very emotional. I’ve made this dream a reality. The day was as beautiful as any I can remember. The weather was better than I could have ever asked for. There were very few clouds, it had cooled down considerably and the humidity subsided. It was a fitting end to the journey of a lifetime.

The only problem with hiking to the top of a mountain is that you must then hike down The trail I had just been on was really tough going up and probably would have scared the crap out of me going back down. So I decided that if I must be scared then I should take the alternate route down called the Knife’s Edge. It’s a hairy ridge walk where there is sometimes little more than a foot of trail to walk on overlooking a very steep drop down the mountain (see the photos). It was a religious experience. "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God… don’t look down!"

It’s Over. What’s Next?

Most hikers coming off the trail have little to do. Some go hiking again. Some go to work to make enough money to go hiking again. Some go back to school like me. Others just sit, get bored and depressed while they gain all the weight they had lost on the trail.

Not me. I’ll be finishing up school this semester which includes my thesis, my last class, and job hunting. I’ve pondered the idea of writing a book, maybe just for the information in my study and for what I’ve learned. Maybe it’ll include more stories of the trail as I have experienced them, as well as others. I’ll have a new career that will require my devotion. And I will have dreams of traveling that will go beyond work and school. Regardless I’ll be busy and will not have time to become the depressed hiker.

While I love to plan, my plan for life right now is to live this moment, remembering the good times on the trail and being aware of other worlds out there. There’s another way of life that I got to experience for six months. For that I’m grateful.

Now I need to get my bike cleaned up and get my cycling legs back. I think I might do a cross country ride.

Photo Gallery
AT Compiled Photos

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Insane Maine, the Trail of Blood

Here I sit waiting for the last supper.. well at least the last good meal I'm going to have for awhile.

I'm over 2000 miles and in the last state of this most awesome and yet painful trip... and I'm loving every minute of Maine. Ok so this wasn't always the case.

When I was going through the plans for the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I figured that 13 miles a day was conservative yet doable. I was right. That was what I had averaged through the Whites. After that though came southern Maine... the brick wall. I struggled to do anything over 10 miles through the southern portion of this beautiful state. This wasn't just because the terrain became harder, it was because I got pelted by the rain gods for days. Everything I owned was always wet. My tent was wet. My clothes were wet. My bag was soaked. My hiker's umbrella seemed to have giant holes in it. Nothing was safe from the H2O that blessed me and the trail. Oh yeah that's right, there was a drought and we needed it... but let's be honest, this wet monkey did not make a happy camper.

On the day I had to go through Mahoosuc Notch, unarguably the toughest mile on the entire trail, it had rained and poured. There was't enough sun to ever dry those rocks out. Still I gritted my teeth to bare the tough task of climbing over and under giant house sized boulders. In some places the only way to get from one rock to the next was to jump three, four or five feet to next table top rock. THAT'S what I call fun when they're wet. The in-between spaces had nothing in them but deep holes sometimes filled with ice that would require a crane or helicopter to climb out of in those conditions. It was quite a challenge with my pack on. I had to get creative a few times and take my pack off and toss it to the other rocks so it wouldn't hamper my leaping abilities. Throwing my 30 pound pack reminded me of one of those ring toss game booths you find at a carnival or the Jersey Shore, except there was no prize... and if I missed (and I did a couple times) I had to climb down to get it.

Then after the notch, I followed that up with rock climbing up the Mahoosuc (or "MahooSuck") Arm. That's basically a rock faced mountain that should require at least a rope and grappling hook in wet conditions. All I had was my flimsy shoe laces and a desire to not slide down the mountain on my butt, back or any other uncontrollable part of my body. I had already learned this in the notch. Once I was hanging on to a rock with just a few finger tips while the rest of me dangled down with my feet slipping off a smaller rock below. It was like a fast Fred Flintstone foot shuffle with no apparent traction and a lack of movement of the rest of my upper body. It was amazing how much strength I had to pull myself and pack back up to where I started, sans a couple scraped knees.

Now that rock climbing on the Appalachian Trail has become second nature, the terrain has changed... AGAIN! Now I'm dealing with rocks, tree roots and mud. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well if God places them in a particular order like mud, root, mud, rock, then it can help build a rhythm to keep going. Problem is this is the AT and God is not that nice. I have to deal with root, mud, rock, root, mud, root, root, mud , rock... enough already.

This terrain has taught me a few things. One, trees in Maine are BIG and so are their roots. Two, muddy ground here is very common even if there hasn't been rain because the trees are so big they block out the sun. Three, rocks here all have mud under them and hence move around the trail while you step on them. Slips and falls are all a part of my daily life now. You can't hike too well when you're on the ground.

The rivers in Maine are a new feature too. Well ok, we've had rivers all along this trail, but none that we had to ford because there wasn't a footbridge. Apparently the trail clubs here don't build footbridges anymore because every year they get washed away by heavy currents and torrential rains. This just means that I have fun getting my feet wet. I do love going across these cold rivers because it does feel awesome on the toes and ankles. Very refreshing! But when the river is swelled... well that's another kind of fun! (REREAD Wet Clothing and Wet Bag section earlier).

My next and last adventure on this trail is the 100 Mile Wilderness. Basically it is probably as scary as it sounds... 100 mile of nothing. No towns to resupply or sleep in. No roads to get out and hitch on. No police. No rescue. And fewer and fewer hikers. Sounds like fun! I just hope that somewhere in this 100 miles there's a moose that doesn't mind if I get a picture. God help me if they do mind. That would be all I need... to get mauled by a moose.

I tell other northbound hikers, "I will finish this trail even if it kills me. So if you should get lost, just follow my trail of blood."

Creepy thought! But now that my second dinner has arrived, I'm starved!

This will be my last post until the trip has ended. I'll post my favorite pictures here and on facebook for everyone to see once I have finished the trail. Cross your fingers for me. I'm almost there and Mt Katahdin is in site!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It hurts SO bad!  All of it! My feet hurt, my knees hurt, and the darned deer flies are a pain in the butt (or in my case the shoulders and back). They have been eating me alive out here. I've again considered quitting because of those little buggers.

And I still survive!

I'm over 1700 miles at this point and have less than 450 miles to go. I'm about 80% complete with the trail and have completed 12 out of 14 states. And what's even more exciting is that I've lost about 40 pounds  :)

Now I'm looking forward to getting back into higher elevations and colder weather to help the days on the trail become more enjoyable. Since leaving Virginia, the trail has flattened out in that there are not many mountains to climb. The trail itself stays covered with mostly rocks and tree roots that tend to cause havoc on boots and body parts.

I've fallen on this trip over 14 times! The last fall I had the other day was the scariest. While I was walking on wet rocks going down hill, both of my feet came out from under me. I landed about 6 feet down the rock slide square on my back. Luckily the backpack absorbed the impact and prevented any serious injuries. Still the thought of that happening in a more dangerous area of the trail is enough to make me pause a little longer on those wet rocks. Last thing I need to become food for the squirrels.

Speaking of squirrels, the red squirrels in Vermont are viscous! I had one in tree looking at me as I was getting ready to take a picture. He obviously didn't want his mug on the internet because he decided to attack me just as I going to snap the photo. He jumped from the tree right at my left shoulder. I just barely moved out of the way of his little dagger claws. He screeched something at me too as he flew by that sounded something like "Bonzai!"  Thankfully the little kamikaze just kept running after he hit the ground as I think I would have lost round 2.

Crazy squirrels are not the only opponents we hikers encounter on the trail. Sometimes we have to deal with idiot hotel owners.

I arrived in a small town in Vermont in hopes of getting a hotel room for a night. I came across the first small motor lodge owned by a gentleman from India named Salesh. Now Salesh was obviously not used to dealing with hikers, and was a tough man to bargain with. The exchange went something like this:

Me: How much is a room for the night?

Salesh: A room is $60 for one night.

Me: Oh that's not too bad. Do you have anything cheaper?

Salesh: No.

Me: Ok, well I may go find a couple of hikers to share the room with.

Salesh: Why hikers?

Me: Because I'm a hiker. See my backpack? I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Salesh: The Appalachawhat? Where you going?

Me: Maine.

Salesh: What?!? Where you coming from?

Me: Georgia.

Salesh: What?!? You crazier than my wife. Why do you want to do such a thing?

Me: Because I want to see so many parts of the trail.

Salesh: Well, you wasting your time. You can drive to these places or see them on tv. My daughters love the National Graphic channel...

Me: Well I appreciate the idea...

At this point Salesh came out from behind the counter to see my gear.

Salesh: Whoa! You smell.

Me: Yeah I know, I'm a hiker. I just want to get my room, take a shower and...

Salesh: Well I have to charge you more!

Me: For a shower?!? Doesn't the room come with water?

Salesh: Yes, but you smell so bad I may need to call a cleaning service after you leave.

Me: Why doesn't your hotel have maid service?

Salesh: Yeah my wife, but she's crazy. She don't always change the sheets. I'll have to charge you $70.

Me: Oh come on!

Salesh: No this is serious, if my hotel smells I won't get customers.

Me: You only have one car in the whole parking lot right now.

Salesh: See! I have a hard time getting people to come back.

Me: What ever. I just want to get a shower and wash my clothes. Do you have a laundry room?

Salesh: Yes, it's coin operated. That'll be another $10.

Me: The washer and dryer costs $10?

Salesh: No I give you detergent and quarters for the machines.

Me: Well I have quarters. How much are the machines?

Salesh: They take $2 in quarters but I give you the right quarters and detergent to use.

Me: Then why is it $10?

Salesh: Because I need to call the mayteg man to come fix the washer today instead of tomorrow.

Me: Nevermind. I'll go to the coin laundry down the road.

Salesh: I can drive you... for $10.

Me: No that's ok. I think I can walk the extra quarter mile.

All of sudden Salesh's wife comes out the back. She's a heavier woman, also from India, wearing a white t-shirt with all sorts of stains down the front...the kind of stains that look like they have been there for weeks.

Wife (yelling): Salesh I heard you taking about me! I'm nit crazy!

Salesh says something very meekly in their native language. I assume he apologized. He then turned back to me...

Salesh (in the same meek voice): I'm sorry. She crazy. I have to live wit that.

Me: Ok so $70 for the room then.

Salesh: No, $80.

Me: For what? I'm doing my laundry down the street.

Salesh: Taxes

Me: Ok well I need to get more hikers to share the room.

Salesh: There will be more of you smelling up the room? Ok I charge you $100.

Me: Oh wonderful... I'm going to camp out somewhere instead.

Well I'm off for more adventures on the AT. Here I come White Mountains!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good bye Pennsylvania - HELLO NEW JERSEY!

Well I'm not going to say Pennsylvania was horrible, but I'm not going to say it was fun either. If anyone ever asks about the views in PA all I can say is that I saw very few.  I spent most of my time looking down so I didn't see much.  The rocks in PA are tough, add a little water and some big rattlers and they get even harder.
I saw several small rattlers like Eastern Diamondbacks and a few huge Timber Rattlers... I'm talking like the the thickness of my arm.  My first encounter with one was while it was raining.  
I found that while the boulders are hard to walk on when they are wet, it can be even harder to try and walk around them when there isn't much ground to step on.  So I in these big boulder areas I find all the "flat" boulders that can provide easy footing even in wet conditions. As I was finally beginning to enjoy my wet saunter though the woods and boulder fields, my trip almost came to quick halt. Hopping boulders one at a time at a fairly quick pace, I moved to step down to a smaller boulder that I couldn't see from a distance. Problem was this boulder moved! I saw a huge Timber Rattler lift his head up as I approached and I quickly shifted my left foot to an adjacent rock on my right which was not so flat. The resulting step made me fall down to the level of the ground using the rocks as a landing pad. The words "May day! May day! I'm going down!" ran through my mind as I hit the rock squarely on my forearms. I don't think I even felt the jolt to my body as my feet were now laying less than a foot from a rattler whose head was bigger than my fist, and I wanted OUT OF THERE! Faster than you can say "Snake bait" I leaped forward about 10 feet from the rock and crash landed on some rocks in front of me. I turned and looked and saw the rattler put his head back down like he was going to go back to sleep.  Ok I guess I was never a concern for him.

Nj and bears

In the first 3 days of being in nj I decided that this is my favorite state on the AT. I didn't decide this just because I'm from jersey. This state has so many beautiful views. There is so much to see in the short time we're hiking through the state. I'm not talking about Newark or the  smog. I'm talking about views of Sunfish Pond, the southern most glacial lake on the AT. I'm thinking of the ridgeline views that overlook other lakes and towns. I envy the open views from mountain balds that I didn't know we had. So now when I think of Jersey, I think of family, friends, dinners, delis, the shore, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and the best part of the AT.

I'll also remember the bears.

I've been used to the bears in Shenandoah that know when to make room for a hiker... by the sound of the poles being tapped together. No here they have to be asked to move. The NJ bears are hungry enough that they can distinguish the difference between a hiker carrying ramen noodles and hiker loaded up on kosher deli food. The bears here are a good indication for hikers to know where to find food too. They tend not to be too far from a road loaded with variety of food options.  Of course they didn't tell me this in the guide books. That would have been too easy.

So far in NJ I've seen 3 bears and heard about 6 more near the trail. It had been really cool to see how they react to hikers. Definitely no need for a gun or bear spray. Still we try to be careful about encounters and storing our food. I refuse to be the hiker you hear about on the news that got accosted by a bear over a Snickers bar. All my food goes into the bear box or gets hung from a tree. There's no guarantees though.

Well with another state down (PA) and over 1300 miles hiked, I'll be going slow this week to get myself setup to be with the family for the 4th of July. That's fine with me since NJ had been so good and Harriman State Park in NY is one off my favorites. It'll be fun!

Sunfish Pond

Rock Sculpture on top a bald in NJ

Bear - Back of the head

Big Bear - Very close

Porcupine trying to get some sun

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hiker challenges

I'm now in Pennsylvania and taken down several states in the last week. So long to Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland! This hike has been loaded with challenges, mostly for the fun of it.

The word "challenges" here takes on different meanings.

The first meaning of challenge is to have to deal with what is presented to us hikers, like bears, bugs, mice, rocks etc.

The bears win every time. We must take many precautions to protect the animals while  we are out here, like hanging our food so the bears can't get to it. We also need to give the bears the right of way. The bears in Shenendoah National Park are very used to seeing people. Hence why I finally got to see my first bear... actually I saw seven. The last encounter was thankfully my last for awhile. On my last evening in the park I ran into momma and her cubs right on the trail. I gave them space and took a couple far away photos. The cubs still very young, saw me as a threat and climbed the first big tree...right next to the trail. Momma bear climbed on the bottom trunk, huffed at me and then just watched what I was going to do. I figured "ok I need to go that way and they are too close to the trail." So I approached them while makin some loud noises and begged them to leave. That didn't work as mom got a little worked up and the cubs climbed higher up the tree. So I backed off again. Next I decided to use my umbrella with a rapid open and close maneuver making lots of noise like a bird flapping his wings.   The cubs went further up the tree and Momma just looked at me like I was an idiot, so I backed off again. Finally I used the international human-to-bear signal for "get out of my way please" by tapping my umbrella with my trekking pole. This momma recognized! She removed herself from the tree trunk and backed off about 30 feet from the trail allowing me room to pass while continuing to tap my pole. After I passed I said "good girl" and she went back to the tree trunk to get the cubs. What a way to get up close and personal.

The next meaning of "challenge" comes as the games hikers like to play on the trail, such as the 4 state challenge. This challenge starts at the Virginia border with West Virginia and continues through Maryland to Pennsylvania, a hike of over 40 in less than 24 hours. One of my buddies, Houdini did the challenge successfully. I however am glad I didn't try. I would have missed all of Maryland and the nice people along the trail. I however did have to deal with the challenge of the rocks in MD.

The challenge I've been looking forward to was the half gallon challenge. At the half way point of the trail hikers attempt to eat a half gallon of ice cream. For our efforts all we get is a little wooden spoon and bragging rights. I ate my half gallon in 22 minutes, not bad considering the darn ice cream was frozen solid.

So far there aren't there aren't any challenges that I've heard of in NJ, but since it's my home state I may make up a new food challenge of my own. NJ and NY are part of what is considered to be the "deli circuit." I'm thinking I need to challenge hikers to five 12 inch Italian subs within a single 24 hours or maybe a dozen potato knishes at one deli. I'm going to be doing some food exploration once I get home. :)

I eat, I eat, and I eat.  So far I have found that I can consume all the junk food I want, have several cheeseburgers, a couple pints of ice cream and still be hungry before bed.  And I've lost 30 pounds! Hiking the AT has been the best weight loss plan EVER!

An update on my buddy Bill... He's WAY ahead into Massachusetts now doing over 30 mile days.  I wish I could go that many miles, but I'm glad I get to see all that I can instead of rushing through the trail.

Well I should be able to get through a few more states in the next couple weeks. So far I'm through 6 states and have 8 to go. For now my next big goal is Bear Mt, NY where I'll be headed home to NJ for a couple days off with the family.

On we go!

At Grayson Highlands with the wild ponies

Mary visited and hiked 27 miles of the AT with me

Momma Bear (cubs were in a tree)

Harpers Ferry at the ATC headquarters

The half point!

My half gallon challenge

Monday, May 21, 2012

Winter Wonderland... Winter?

Where oh where have I been? Well no where there's a decent internet connection or computer to use. It's been too long since I've had the ability to write a blog (one month exactly) and the battles I faced have taken their toll.

Well after my time off the trail, I got back on the trail and really steamed ahead. When I got back to the trail in Hampton, TN I was at mile marker 425. Today I stand at 856 miles in Waynesboro, VA just at the beginning of Shenandoah National Park and near the end of the long Virginia hike. Here's some of what I encountered.

Let it Snow!

When I first entered VA, I headed into Damascus for a day off and weather updates. Snow was coming our way! When I first left for Springer Mountain in the beginning of March, I half thought I would run into snow in the first couple weeks. Instead I had good weather carrying me all the way through to Virginia... until I left Damascus.

Let me be clear, I love hiking in the snow! It's sleeping in the snow I'm not a fan of. In order to avoid sleeping outside I made a beeline to the Thomas Knob shelter. The snow was packed, the ice was thick and the wind was freezing cold. I thought being in a shelter would be warm, but this place let the wind right through. I spent most of my night keeping the digits from freezing off.

While I enjoyed my hike in the snow, I missed the main feature of the Grayson Highlands, the wild ponies. They were smart enough to stay well hidden in the woods during the snowy weather.

After a good day of hiking and a bad night of sleep, the next day I got back to work to get off the cold mountains. After a mostly uneventful day, I decided to camp at Hurricane camp ground a little further past the shelter with some friends Jacob and Amy. Unfortunately this tenting was not free but the camp host gave us so many things that it made the stop with it. Marsha the camp host gave us fruit, soda, baked us cookies and prepared my favorite for breakfast, hot chocolate! Then she offered to slackpack us up to the next stop 17 miles away at a ranger station. Slackpacking is when someone takes your backpack to your next stop for the night and you get a day pack for the day to hike with a lighter load. We happily accepted Marsh's offer and did the 17 mile hike in just over 5 hours. Sweet!

Taking a Dip

Ever take a dip into freezing cold water just for the fun of it? Dismall Falls was a short side trip on the hike that provided such an opportunity. I spend several minutes in the water just trying to let every part of my body get cooled down. It was quite refreshing, that is until after 20 minutes I had no feeling in most of the my body. The current that took the water over the falls was very strong (yes I was on top of the falls) and that is to say that if I just went limp I would have been carried off like a rag doll over the edge into the pool below. Fighting the current to get to the shore wasn't too bad, it just was made harder by the attacking wasps that I disturbed on the opposite side of the creek. I did lots of ducking and holding my break under that cold current. Very refreshing!

Creative Snacking

I have a new snack! Something I learned and perfected at the Woodhole Hostel just south of Pearisburg, VA. Take 1 Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut and very carefully place 1 marshmallow into the center of the hole. Put the whole thing on a stick and hold over a camp fire until the marshmallow is very brown. AWESOME SNACK... if you're not diabetic. It works good with jelly doughnuts too, just put the marshmallow inside and let it melt.

The Lion King

For the last several years I have had most of my inspiration to hike the AT come to me in the form of a DVD documentary created by a hiker named Lion King. I love the DVD and all the music he used for the show. I've listened to thing 1000 times, watched it at least 100 times and can never get enough of it. Well one beautiful day north of Daleville, VA near the Blue Ridge Parkway I ran into the Lion King headed southbound on the trail. I couldn't believe it! Here I am with the guy who helped inspire me to do this hike! I thanked him to no end and we talked for awhile about his new DVD he was planning on selling at Trail Days. What I great guy! I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about the AT or long distance hiking in general to check out his videos which are called "Walking with Freedom", "Walking West with Freedom", and "A hike on the American Discovery Trail". All videos are sold on Campor's website ( ).

Why am I doing this?

I had some seriously tough days in Virginia. Everyone says Virginia is flat. I DISAGREE! I had hit several days of nothing but uphill for 12 miles. The uphill battles still hurt I don't care how many miles I have under my belt. To make matters worse I had been hiking in bad boots (they gave up on me actually). I had to desperately buy a new pair in Daleville. Big mistake! I bough a pair of Obozs (a new no name brand trying to compete) for $145. After 78 miles they delaminated at the toe and I had to get rid of them. I bought a another pair of Merrel's for less and they are much more comfortable. Still having the pain in my feet, ankles, knees and legs made me question everything I was doing. Add the heat in the afternoon to the uphill climbs and the hike just gets tougher. Hot chocolate just doesn't seem to be an option anymore now that it's warmer. :( I'll just keep on as I remember that there are still several thing I want to on this trail.

Crossing into VA 

Cold snow day on a bald 

Loving the snow 

Skies are clearing 

We pass many cows on the trail 

Big black rat snake 

Me on McAfee's Knob 

Lion King and myself 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Land speed records

State number 2 down! No more stops in North Carolina. Over 400 miles completed including 98 in the last 6 days. Here's another example of a bad day on the trail...

Ever wonder how fast you can run with a 30 pound backpack? Well go to the top of the nearest 6000 ft mountain and wait for the first lightning storm to come along.

After spending three days doing over 17 miles each in an effort to catch up with Bill and another fellow hiker, Hawk. These guys must be flying because I always seem to miss them by about 5 to 8 miles. Bill's last message to me was that they would be at Loft mountain, arguably one of the toughest climbs on the trail before the White mountains in New Hampshire. Well I calculated I could do the 17 miles without a problem even if there was a tough climb involved, after all I've been going up and down like 5  times a day for the last month. So I left out of the Cherry Gap shelter on my way. I stopped for lunch at another shelter about 10 miles down the trail. I even took the time to take a quick sponge bath (I poured a bottle of water over me). Then I  signed the the shelter log book, "Stopped for a break, got naked and drenched myself in water. After all, what's a shark without water? ~ Jaws"

After my good long break I was ready to go. I only had 7 more miles to go and it was only 2:30. Normally I can knock out 7 miles in about 3 hours. Heck I just did 10 in 4 hours so I'm feeling pretty good.

Well after I left the shelter... almost immediately, it started raining. Then it got worse... and worse... and darn it, worse. I had to stop a few times to remind myself why I was doing this. I really wanted to get to hang out with the guys again.

After the first four miles of negotiating wet trail, mud and some minor puddles I managed to get to the "hard" part, the last three miles, all up hill... No, up a mountain! The first mile I was working really hard since the grade up the trail increased dramatically and was very muddy. For every step I took, I slid back half a step. Needless to say I wasn't going very fast.

On the second mile, I had a hand-over-foot climb to several false summits. Then just as I was getting to the first of two peaks, here comes the thunder. I don't want to say I had a close call, but close enough to see the tree that got hit and for my hair to stand up. I didn't know lightning could come out the bottom of a tree. I don't expect the birds hanging out for cover at the base of the tree did either. Well, I thought to myself, "as much as I like fried chicken, I'm not sticking around!" I think if someone clocked me going down the hill I would have gotten a speeding ticket. Anything to keep from getting the hairs on my behind from being singed. I'm not a stunt man, but I sure must have looked like one as I jumped and dove down the rocky ledge slipping and misstepping most of the way. I even did a Tarzan swing off of a couple tree limbs. I managed to get down into the next gap and was spared from any more fireworks. But now I had to hang out and wait for the lightning to pass before proceeding back up the next peak.

After waiting for about 30 minutes on my rubber sleeping pad (holding my ankles), I continued. The last mile and half had to be the worst. All up hill through mud and puddles over a foot deep. Everything I had on me, including me, was soaked. I even put my hikers umbrella away because that was just useless at that point.  "After all, what's a shark without water?"

Now I just wanted the shelter. I climbed FOREVER! And it was starting to get dark! Where did the time go? On my final steps of the trail, I happen to look up and see a sign. With my flashlight in hand I read the sign telling me I was 0.1 miles from the shelter. FINALLY! The end of the worst day on the trail ever. Well at least I'll get to tell the guys about it. When I stepped into the shelter, Bill  and Hawk were no where to be found. Man those guys fly!

"Ok this is double hot chocolate day."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trail Angels

OK so I first need to thank everyone for the birthday wishes on Facebook. I spent my birthday at the Standing Bear Farm Hostel ( The owners have a great setup where everything in run off the honor system. There are some resupplies available, showers and cozy fire to sit next to at night.  On my night there, however, the owners' two little girls went the extra mile and decided to bake me a birthday cake.  It was very sweet of these two little girls who have never met me before to do something so nice.  It did make my birthday special.  They were little trail angels.

Trail Angels are people who do very special things for hikers to help make their day a little better. I've mentioned before that as a hiker I've received Trail Magic in the way of free meals, sodas, and fruit. Well it is usually trail angels who provide the magic.  But the magic isn't always something you'd expect.  In the case of my birthday it was these two girls making a 40th birthday away from family special.

A few days earlier I had hit Newfound Gap with Bobber. As soon as we got there a fellow named Mark was there to greet us with chips, sodas and ride into Gatlinburg. If you've never been to the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg lies on the borders of the western park boundaries. It's 15 miles from Newfound Gap and an entire day's hike.  Mark really saved our butts.  He was once a thru-hiker and knows how special it is to get the help when you really need it. Mark and his wife work really hard to help others out in the the area, and that makes them very special to the hiking community.

After a night of gorging in food in Gatlinburg, the next morning Bobber and I headed over to the nearest outfitter, the NOC, to see about getting a shuttle ride back to the trail. The NOC has a strict schedule for shuttles and they only carry about 4 hikers at a time.  Well at 9am the best we were going to get from the NOC was a 3pm shuttle.  Luckily there were angels in the making that happened along behind us.  A couple from Ohio, Robert and Katie, in town on vacation saw us at the NOC and started asking questions about our gear and the hike.  We gladly told them everything they could want to know. Well Katie told us how afraid she was of the mountains and cliffs.  She explained how bad her fears were from taking a trip the day before into the Smoky Mountains.  She said she couldn't stand the thought of driving on a mountain looking down the the steep cliff walls from the road.  Well after learning we were trying to get back up to the TOP of the mountains with no luck, Katie put here fears aside and said she would gladly see us get there.  Robert and Katie drove us the 15 miles to the top of Newfound Gap... and then refused to accept any gas money from us.  This type of help was so unexpected and makes them very special people to go out of their way for us... complete strangers to whom I feel I owe a special thanks.  So to Robert and Katie, thank you for being our Trail Angels!

I have other trail angels that have been my support system all along since planning this hike.  MOM and DAD! They have been caring for my cats while I'm on the trail.  Recently one of the cats became very sick to the point it didn't sound like she would make it. But with the right care and love she is doing much better now. I can't wait to hit NJ to see them!  Thanks Mom and Dad for taking such good care of them.

My biggest trail angel and supporter has been Mary. She has been making sure I get everything I need while I'm on the trail. She has been experimenting with making dried meals for re-hydration, forwarding snacks we purchased before I left, and most importantly makes sure we get to talk when the cell service provides the opportunity.  She's my Trail Angel and I miss her so much.  Luckily she came up from Florida this weekend and picked me up in Hot Springs, NC. We got to spend quality time together in Asheville visiting the Biltmore. What a great birthday weekend!

Well it's 274 miles down. Mary will be dropping me off on the trail tomorrow morning to meet up with Bobber again. We will be off to tackle the rest of North Carolina and Tennessee.  Here's some pictures from one of the best places I've seen so far on the trail, Max Patch.

Walking up to Max Patch

View from Max Patch

The trail across Max Patch

Just kicking back on Max Patch

Making it into Hot Springs after an 18 mile day

Carrot Birthday Cake sent by Mary to Hot Springs... SWEET!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trail Lessons

This trip has been getting harder. I expected this be somewhat of an uncomfortable experience, but there are days that make hiking the trail seem impossible.

Now I'm not talking about bad weather. I can deal with getting wet IN my tent. I'm not talking about carrying everything on my back for 8 to 10 hours a day. That's just a part of learning what I need to carry to survive out here. I'm talking about the other hardships of being on the trail.

The hardships include the pain the body goes through, being away from loved ones, and the other unexpected annoyances that make this difficult.

When I'm in pain, there is nothing better than rubbing in Icy Hot to soothe the aches. But what do you do when you put Icy Hot on your body and you don't feel it? I can't believe the pain is that intense... it truly doesn't feel like it. But come on, I can't feel Icy Hot on my feet? I had to rub some on my upper-inner thigh just make sure it was working (yeah that's smart).

So the solution... Ibuprofren or Vitamin I as we call it on the trail. It keeps the pain to a minimum on some nights. Stretching is another helping technique. It's just too bad that I didn't bring my yoga mat. The real answer is that the pain will eventually go away... or at least require less than a hundred pain pills. With being on the trail comes the acceptance that being uncomfortable every day is just a part of the adventure...and having major pain is just a bad day.

Having a relationship and doing the trail is another issue. I want so badly to talk my girlfriend but there is never enough cell service in the mountains. I'm actually carrying two phones, my regular phone which has all my maps, guide books and photos from the trip and a pre-paid phone. The extra weight (3 ozs) is worth it. So far we've been able to talk everyday, even if only for a few minutes. Still I miss her... and we're working on that too. :)

Another thing that makes this tough is the terrain. When I'm hiking for 5 hours I would expect to be putting some serious miles behind me. Well that's just not true. On a couple occasions we had a goal set and didn't meet it because it took FOREVER to get where we wanted to go. We've had some long 6 mike sections. Ever seen me roll my eyes? I do it every time I see stairs on the trail...and there are a lot of stairs.

I've fallen twice now, slipped over a dozen times and tripped hundreds of times over sticks and tree roots...
Banged my knees and ankles...
and hit my head on tree.

And on top of all that I found out that my nose sweats.  No, not the outside.  I'm tried of constantly blowing my nose.  I don't have a cold; it just sweats... kind of like when I eat something really spicy and it clears my sinuses.

The good news is that I found the perfect cure for any of this. HOT CHOCOLATE!

Everyday is tough, but everyday there's a reward... whether it's a mountain top view, a cool breeze on hot day, or something different that I've never seen.  But on tougher days there's always hot chocolate.

Fontana Lake from the south

Fontana Dam from the south end

Bill and I crossing the dam into the Great Smoky Mountains NP

My view from Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good-bye Sweet Georgia

This week marked several milestones on our hike along the AT. Wednesday Bobber and I passed the border into North Carolina. Thursday we had our longest hiking day with over 19 miles. Then on Friday we passed the 100 mile mark.

Here's some photos to recap the week:

Crossing into NC
Bobber at one of our first peaks

View after the toughest climb on a 19 mile day, Albert Mt

Trail Magic setup by college students on spring break, free food is awesome!

This WAS steak, ribs, shrimp and chicken. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jaws on the AT

It’s been one week and I’ve traveled several miles along the trail, made a few friends, and a name for myself.

I started late on the 6th heading up Springer Mt where I met Bill.  Bill had just come 8 miles straight up the Approach Trail. The Approach Trail starts in Amicalola State Park and takes several hours of hard work to climb to the starting point of the Appalachian Trail.  I decided against doing this.  I think of the Approach Trail to be kind of like pre-season football, it’ll get you warmed up… but could also cause a season-ending injury. I got a ride up to the top along a forest road and glad I did. Bill still reminds of his trip to the top.

On Springer Mt, Bill and I had talked briefly and together we decided to head to one of the first shelters on the trail, about 2.5 miles in.  It was after all 4pm.  Once we hit the shelter we met several other people who also had started for the day and couple others who were finishing up a section hike.  Most notable was Eric.  Eric is from Wisconsin, just like Bill, and an experienced trucker. Of course you would know this just by talking to him; his ability to cuss made me blush.

The next day the three of us headed out to tackle the AT. In 3 days we traveled over 30 miles to Neels Gap. On the way, we took our time, saw the sights, and had a few laughs.

Eric was not doing too well with his 50 pound pack and his choice of clothing.  Every time we went uphill he began to call himself the furnace.  By mid-day on day 1 he had taken off every layer up top except his jacket, which he kept unbuttoned, earning himself the trail name Bare Belly.  We always knew how far behind Bare Belly was when he started cursing the mountains. We were good to wait him out and give ourselves a few minutes to breathe. This eventually caught up to us though.

On the second day we had planned to hit Neels Gap after 15 miles but it got late before we knew it.  That night we camped out at Jarrard Gap and got pounded by a rain storm that seemed more like a tornado. I had not slept too well any other night as I’m still trying to get used to sleeping on the ground, but this particular night I slept like a baby through most of the storm.  I didn’t care as long as I was dry and all my stuff stayed dry. The tent did wonders that night.

Once we got to Neels Gap, we stayed at the hostel and got that experience in for the first time.  It was great. Mainly because we got to experience our first bit of trail magic too.  Trail magic is when someone does something special or really nice for hikers.  That night a church group came in to cook us hamburgers.  The food they laid out included plenty of fixings, an awesome potato salad, desserts, and cat food.  Cat food!?!?  The hostel had a couple resident cats that had food dishes kept on a table by a window.  One of the hikers, Peter, decided to just go around the room taking what ever food was laid out.  So as I passed him I noticed the big juicy hamburger on his plate and next to it, dry cat food.  I warned Peter that the food was REALLY dry and he may need to some water to wash it down. I then pointed to the cats’ water dish.  He looked at me funny not understanding, so I told him to take the cat food off his plate.  Peter was promptly named Whiskers.

Well after leaving Neels Gap, Bill and I had continued on for a few days of serious hiking. We traveled up several peaks a day, some much longer than others.  All we could think was how Bare Belly would have faired with us. He decided to lag behind since our pace was too much for him.  Probably a good thing as each hiker needs to do what they want on the trail and try not to follow anyone else’s itinerary.

Our unplanned itinerary has been wonderful so far, even with the pains I have in my knees, back, legs etc.  Bill and I landed in Hiawassee yesterday and decided to take a zero day today after all the hard work. A zero day is a day off with zero miles. Tomorrow we will leave behind Georgia and march on into North Carolina with Franklin as our goal destination.

Funny thing happened on the way here. A couple nights ago we saw some transitions as we got ready for another night in the woods. Bill, or Billy Bob as he is known at home, became known as Bobber with other hikers.  And for me well I picked up the trail name of Jaws. It’s either on account that I have several shark tattoos or because I just don’t shut up sometimes…   or maybe both.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And away we go...almost

They say that getting there is half the battle. If that is true, then I should get a medal just for the commute to the trail.

I took a bus to "Hotlanta" yesterday and stayed the night in the worst hotel ever conceived. The free breakfast consisted of dirty, already peeled hard boiled eggs and warm orange juice. I once found half of a watermelon left in the sun at a trail picnic site more appetizing. The coffee was good though, even if the tops were too big for the cups... by about 2 inches! Of course the girl that worked there said she knew that, but still asked me to put the top on anyway if I take the shuttle bus to the airport. I looked at her and lightly flicked the coffee top with my finger and watched it fly off the cup and the table. Yeah ok, like that top will keep me from spilling the coffee all over myself and the driver.

Anyway, back to the commute.  While on the bus yesterday I spent most of the day figuring out how to get to the trail. There's many options and most are expensive. I decided I would take a bus to Gainesville, Georgia and then taxi to the trail, a $125 option. This was the best I could do since my schedule of getting into town didn't sync with the hiker hostel pickup schedule, the $70 option.

So after checking out of the Uncomfort inn, I got on the train from the airport to the center of Atlanta to the bus station only to find the bus to Gainesville  FULL. I laughed and told the lady at the counter "no problem." In truth it wasn't as I'm finding that going on this trip without a jump-off plan liberating somehow. 

As luck would have it, ten minutes later I got a call from Bill, a fellow who does last minute pickups in Atlanta to the trail for less than the bus option. I emailed him last night just incase. Bill said it would take 3 hours to get to me...and as I'm expecting 3 hours to go up north. Well that's fine with me! I'm happy there are folks out there doing this service for hikers.

Well, in order to meet Bill, I had to get back on the train and head as far north as I could, to the end of the line. One again I found myself in laughter as this darned train station was in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't even a vending machine...just the wind blowing...with tumbleweeds rolling by. I have to wait here for 3 hours? Ahhhhhhh, no. I got on the train for the last time and went south one stop where they have a Starbucks. Yes, coffee! I called Bill who said he was happy to adjust the pickup point.

Thank heavens, it may be dark when I start hiking today, but at least I'll be there.

And away we go!

PS. I did eat that watermellon

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giving myself a little time

So originally I planned to get up to the Springer Mountain area today and start my hike tomorrow.  That plan has somewhat changed. I've postponed leaving until I can finish the website that goes long with my study.  It is very important to the study and I just can't leave it behind. This also helps me because I have more final planning to take care of for the trip, mainly my mail drops and food preparation.

How am I handling the food situation?
Well for one I'm purchasing most of my food in towns as a resupply. However there are times when getting into a town or having the necessary staples available is an issue on the trail as well. That's when mail drops become important.  Someone back home has to take the responsibility to send food from time to time to a general delivery address at the post offices along the trail.

What kinds of foods will I carry?
Well the usual healthy stuff isn't always an option.  Getting fresh fruits and veggies in town is great and probably will even be craved. I can possibly even carry enough for a day or two once I leave town.  Bringing anything that will spoil is a bad idea.  Canned goods are just too heavy. So what's left? Peanut butter, Nutella, dried goods, ramen noodles, stuffing mixes, potatoes... lots of carb heavy foods.  The general rule of thumb has been to carry 2 pounds of food per day.  That can get heavy since most foods may contain water.  I've elected to use freezer bag meals, home made versions anyway.  Put a package of stuffing, onion soup mix and butter buds into a zip lock freezer bag, then boil some water and add it to the freezer bag.  The bag does not melt as it can handle the heat.  This makes for a quick no mess dinner that can be spiced up or changed according to tastes.  I can add foil packed chicken, tuna, salmon, dried beef, or anything else easy to carry out.  The bulk of the dinner, the stuffing, can be anything that is instant or quick cooking too like egg noddles, minute rice, instant potatoes, and couscous.  I also like some powered soups.  For breakfast, instant oatmeal, grits or cold cereal with powdered milk.  Snacks throughout the day include trail mix, nuts, dried fruits snacks, snickers, protein bars, pop-tarts, crackers and peanut butter, sliced pepperoni, and hard cheeses (wrapped in vinegar treated cheese cloth).

Water is very frequent on the trail right now but may be harder to find in the summer.  I'll carry only what I need for the day for now. Once the summer hits I may bring an extra bottle.  I'm going to filtering my water using cheese cloth and a bandanna. Then I'll put chlorine drops to kill anything lurking within.

Well I need to back to planning and my website.  I post again just before I leave, probably March 5th.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preparing for My Trip and Study

As most of my friends know I have been tying my thesis in with my hike. So far I have successfully been able to do that by selecting a good topic related to my degree program. My study on pack weight will hopefully bring new data to the domain of backpack weight limitations. If not anything, I'll be able to identify the reasons hikers quit early on the AT and possibly discover new trends.

Most people who hike the trail try to be very prepared and bring as much as they want to carry. I for one will bring what I need and hope that I didn't forget anything.  The pleasurables for this trip will be at a minimum. I took care of some final gear and clothing issues this week... hoping that I'll stay warm and dry.

I recently took off for NJ to see the folks and drop of some of the gear Mom wants to send me because she's itching to do her part. Of course I had to go over all the gear with her and tag everything since I don't expect her to know the difference between a sleeping bag liner and a bivy. Anyway, she'll be ready when I need something. Support system #1 - CHECK

When I get back from the north preparing my survey announcements, I'll be going over more detailed information on the mail drops with Mary.  These drops will provide food that I will not be able to get in towns on the trail. They will even supplement some consumable items such as ziplock bags, handy wipes and   anything else I may need along the way.  Support system #2 - CHECK

Preparations for the study:

After leaving NJ I headed up to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to enlist the help of local businesses in announcing my survey to hikers that come through their doors.  It was a nice couple days... in the freezing cold! (Hey I live in Florida now... 26 is REALLY cold.) All the people I spoke to seemed really interested in what I'm doing and all decided to lend a hand somehow.  Great!

Even better... I was contacted by Mike, the owner of Travel Country in Altamonte Springs, FL and he is one board with sponsoring my study.  I'm very excited over this.

Off to the Mid-Atlantic states... Met with a couple business owners today, including The Doyle in Duncannon, PA.  They host over a 1200 hikers in a season. They were so helpful that I could probably never thank them enough. Vickey there even gave me some tips to look out for on the trail.  What a great place!  I'll be seeing them again in a couple months.

Tomorrow off the meet some more businesses and try to stir up more support, then back to Florida for final preparations. The very last thing will be my website for the survey, which is already under construction.


Once in a while I get asked what my itinerary looks like. So it's now posted here.  Anyone who wants to join me for a few days is more than welcome. :)

Date AT Mile Stop and Notes State and Section
1-Mar 8.1 Hawk Mtn Shelter Georgia
2-Mar 21.1 Suches - Woody Gap  
3-Mar 31.7 Neels Gap  
4-Mar 43.2 Low Gap  
5-Mar 58.6 Tray Mtn   
6-Mar 69.6 Hiawassee  
7-Mar   ZERO DAY  
8-Mar 81.4 Muskrat Creek North Carolina
9-Mar 93.9 Carter Gap  
10-Mar 109.8 Franklin, NC  
11-Mar 125.6 Cold Spring   
12-Mar 137.1 Nantahala O. C.  
13-Mar 153.1 Brown Fork Gap  
14-Mar 165.8 Fontana Dam - Get Permit GSM Smoky Mtns
15-Mar 179.6 Russell Field  
16-Mar 194.3 Silers Bald  
17-Mar 206.8 Gatlinburg, TN  
18-Mar   ZERO DAY  
19-Mar 222.4 Tri Corner Knob  
20-Mar 237.2 Davenport Gap  
21-Mar 247.7 Painted Branch or Groundhog Creek Sh NC-TN Border
22-Mar 255.9 Roaring Forks  
23-Mar 273.9 Hot Springs, NC  
24-Mar   ZERO DAY  
25-Mar 293.5 Little Laurel  
26-Mar 306.2 Flint Mtn  
27-Mar 325.1 Bald Mtn  
28-Mar 342.0 Erwin, TN  
29-Mar 354.1 Deep Gap  
30-Mar 368.2 Clyde Smith - Grassy Ridge  
31-Mar 382.7 Overmountain Shelter  
1-Apr 391.9 Roan Mtn, NC  
2-Apr 410.3 Moreland Gap Tenn
3-Apr 425.0 Hampton, TN  
4-Apr 448.4 Double Springs  
5-Apr 466.9 Damascus, VA VA - Southwest
6-Apr   ZERO DAY  
7-Apr 482.7 Lost Mtn  
8-Apr 494.9 Thomas Knob Grayson Highlands
9-Apr 514.0 Grayson Highlands, Hurricane Mtn Campground  
10-Apr 530.6 Partnership  
11-Apr 542.2 Atkins, VA  
12-Apr 565.2 Chestnut Knob  
13-Apr 589.2 Helveys Mill  
14-Apr 613.2 Wapiti  
15-Apr 629.8 Pearisburg, VA VA - Central
16-Apr   ZERO DAY  
17-Apr 653.0 Bailey Gap  
18-Apr 680.0 Niday  
19-Apr 703.7 Johns Spring  
20-Apr 722.5 Daleville, VA - Roanoke  
21-Apr 741.0 Bobblets Gap  
22-Apr 754.5 Bryant Ridge  
23-Apr 764.7 Thunder Hill   
24-Apr 777.1 Matts Creek  
25-Apr 799.3 Brown Mtn Creek  
26-Apr 817.4 Montebello, VA  
27-Apr 835.5 Maupin Field  
28-Apr 856.3 Waynesboro, VA - YMCA camping VA - Shenandoah
29-Apr 863.3 Calf Mtn  
30-Apr 883.7 Loft Mtn - EAT  
1-May 897.7 Hightop Hut  
2-May 918.1 Big Meadows  
3-May 932.5 Byrd's Nest Hut #3 - Stop Skyland EAT  
4-May 950.0 Gravel Springs Hut / Matthews Arm Campground  
5-May 963.4 Front Royal, VA - Jim & Molly Denton Sh  
6-May 987.0 Rod Hollow VA - N / WV / MD
7-May 1004.8 BlackBurn Trail Center / David Lesser - donation  
8-May 1016.6 Harper's Ferry  
9-May   ZERO DAY  
10-May 1027.7 Gathland SP/Gapland Rd/Crampton Gap  
11-May 1048.4 Ensign Cowall   
12-May 1065.3 Antietam  Penn
13-May 1078.7 Quary Gap  
14-May 1096.0 Pine Grove Furnace SP / Iron Masters Mansion  
15-May 1115.2 Boiling Springs  
16-May 1140.9 Duncannon,PA  
17-May   ZERO DAY  
18-May 1152.1 Peters Mtn  
19-May 1170.1 Rausch Gap  
20-May 1187.6 The 501  
21-May 1211.3 Port Clinton  
22-May 1233.9 Allentown Hiking Club  
23-May 1251.6 Palmerton, PA  
24-May 1267.4 Leroy A Smith  
25-May 1287.6 Delaware Water Gap - Donation  
26-May 1298.1 Mohican Outdoor Center NJ/NY/CT
27-May   ZERO DAY  
28-May 1319.0 Gren Anderson  
29-May 1337.3 Jim Murray Property / Pochunk Mtn - Donation?  
30-May 1350.9 Vernon, NJ  
31-May 1368.0 Wildcat  
1-Jun 1387.6 William Brien Mem / DETOUR LP to Lichen Tr ADD 6 MILES  
2-Jun 1394.0 Bear Mtn  
3-Jun   ZERO DAY  
4-Jun   ZERO DAY  
5-Jun 1422.9 RPH  
6-Jun 1439.7 Telephone Pioneers / AT RR Station - Trip to NY?  
7-Jun 1460.9 Mt Algo / Bulls Bridge or Kent, CT  
8-Jun 1480.6 Sharon Mtn Campsite  
9-Jun 1493.9 Salisbury, CT  
10-Jun 1508.0 Hemlock Mass
11-Jun 1524.4 Montery, MA  
12-Jun 1543.5 Upper Goose Pond - Donation or WFS  
13-Jun   ZERO DAY  
14-Jun 1561.1 Kay Wood  
15-Jun 1581.3 Mt Graylock  
16-Jun 1594.5 Seth Warner - North Adams Resupply VT
17-Jun 1616.1 Goddard Sh  
18-Jun 1635.4 Stratton Pond - Fee?  
19-Jun 1646.1 Bromley - Manchester  
20-Jun 1662.6 Big Branch  
21-Jun 1685.3 Gov Clement  
22-Jun 1705.9 Stony Brook  
23-Jun 1727.4 Thistle Hill  
24-Jun 1743.5 Velvet Rocks / Hanover NH
25-Jun 1758.7 Trapper John  
26-Jun 1765.4 Fire Warden Cabin & Tower / Hexacuba  
27-Jun 1785.3 Glencliff, NH  
28-Jun   ZERO DAY  
29-Jun 1793.3 Beaver Brook  
30-Jun 1802.3 Eliza Brook sh White Mountains
1-Jul 1813.7 Liberty Springs camp - N. Woodstock Resupply  
2-Jul 1821.4 Garfield  
3-Jul 1835.9 Ethan Pond / Bartlett, NH  
4-Jul 1849.9 Lake of the Clouds / Bartlett, NH - Work for Stay or pay  
5-Jul 1864.8 Osgood - Resupply Pinkham Notch  
6-Jul 1877.9 Imp  
7-Jul 1885.9 Gorham, NH - Hiker's Paradise  
8-Jul   ZERO DAY  
9-Jul 1897.7 Gentian Pond  
10-Jul 1907.3 Full Goose Sh Maine
11-Jul 1919.3 Baldpate Lean-to  
12-Jul 1937.4 Andover, ME  
13-Jul 1954.4 Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to / Little Swift River  
14-Jul 1963.8 Rangeley, ME  
15-Jul 1974.5 Poplar Ridge Lean-to  
16-Jul 1988.7 Crocker Cirque - Detour Sugarloaf MT / Stratton  
17-Jul 2001.1 Horns Pond Lean-to  
18-Jul 2019.0 West Carry Pond Lean-to  
19-Jul 2038.7 Pleasant Pond Lean-to / Caratunk, ME  
20-Jul 2051.8 Moxie Bald Lean-to  
21-Jul 2069.7 Monson, ME - Lake Shore House  
22-Jul   ZERO DAY  
23-Jul   ZERO DAY  
24-Jul 2088.8 Cloud Pond Lean-to 100 Mile
25-Jul 2105.6 Carl A Newhall Lean-to Wilderness
26-Jul 2124.5 Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to  
27-Jul 2146.0 Wadleigh Stream Lean-to  
28-Jul 2169.1 Abol Bridge  
29-Jul 2179.0 The Birches - Sign up at Abol Bridge  
30-Jul 2184.2 Katahdin Mtn