April 10,2015. I am in Danielsville PA, a very small town, two days from NJ.
So I thought I would share with you some stats and opinions about the AT.
The AT is 2189 miles long. That is about 5 million steps.
There are about 2500 steps in a mile. When I hike 10 miles in a day, that is 25,000 steps. I often do 12 mile or 30,000 steps. Or more.
In the course of today’s hike I climbed a mountain from 350 feet to 1600 feet. That is well over 1000 feet. It also ignores the 600 feet I descended befor I came to the mountain. Then I descended the mountain to where I am at 1100 feet with lots of other ups and downs along the way. So more than 2000 feet of elevation change with ups and downs. Since a normal home has an 8 foot ceiling, each flight is about 10 feet. So you get where I am going. Each day’s hike can Involve climbing about 200 flights of stairs with a 40 pound pack on your back
So Stairmaster has nothing on hikers.
So I am of the opinion that the AT is one long marathon Stairmaster combined with a treasure hunt. That’s because the trail is. It is not always marked well. So you have to snoop around to find the next trail blaze marking the path. Often I get lost and have to back track.
A running marathon is 13.1 miles. The AT is like a marathon every day for 5 months. Hike
But does that mean I am complaining? No.
I merely want to point out what an endurance contest this is.
Some hikers are speed hikers and cover over 30 miles per day completing the AT in just over 2 months. Too fast for me. But I salute them.

Easter Sunday. I am in Pine Grove PA

Pretty small and poor area. I stopped to pick up food from home at the Post Office. The weather is better.
Let’s talk a outing peeing in your sleeping bag. I used to get up in the middle of the night to pee at least once. Then a gal biologist told me to stop waking everyone else in the shelter up banging around. How do I do that? She produced a mason jar almost full of golden liquid. Get yourself a wide mouthed bottle like Gatorade. TAke it to bed with you. When you need to pee, go in the bottle and be sure to screw (eeww!) the cap on tight. I could do that. Understanding the mechanics of male anatomy it seemed simple. For her it seemed more comicated. Funnel? I didn’t ask.
For me it is a blessing not to have to crawl out of my sleeping bag into the cold and dark. But it always feels wrong. I know that Madonna pees in the shower thanks to the miracle of mass infotainment. But peeing in the bed even knowing that it is into a bottle makes me want to roll up a newspaper and say BAD DOG! So I cAn easily fill a 20 ounces Gatorade bottle. Watch out. Don’t overfill! Get a bigger bottle. Uggie Iggie

Made it to Boiling Springs PA

Sunday March 29. I got an invitation to spend the night with friends I met on the Trail. Fred Schrom works for a landscaping company. He was contracted to chop down dead trees near shelters that might fall on the shelters, or campers, who sleep in or near the shelters. This effort got started after an AT hiker got killed by s falling tree at the shelter just north of Harpers Ferry where Dave, my hiking buddy, and I spent our first night. It’s a freak accident. Just about as likely to happen on the Trail. I see dead trees that have fallen across the Trail all the time. The Trail volunteers do a great job of maintaining the AT. They get out there with chain saws and remove the dead trees that block the Trail.

Back on The blog after technical difficulties

Sorry folks. I haven’t been able to blog since 3/17. A lot has happened. My hiking buddy, Dave Hedrick, had to leave the Trail after 5 days with some kind of stomach problem. It caused him to have no appetite. So his wife came to pick up and brought along a wonderful surprise for me: my wonderful wife Joan. We 4 had a meal nearby. Dave couldn’t eat anything much. I hope he gets well soon so he can rejoin me farther up the Trail.
When we got to Dalgren camp site there were no hot showers. Rats! Not until “the season” in April.
We stayed the first night in the Ed Garvey shelter. That is where the unfortunate accident happened-a tree fell on a hiker and killed him. So MD reacted by sending in the chainsaws to cut all dead trees near shelters. Nice. But it is just as likely for a hiker to get hit by a tree along the AT. They can’t protect us from everything. But is the best response trey could do. It wouldn’t look good to do nothing.
At Ed Garvey we camped with two marvelous midshipmen from the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD on spring break. Taylor (gal) and Chris(guy). I taught Taylor to play the Nose flute. She was good so I gave her one. She was thrilled with my nose version of Anchors Away. She loves that song. She better had! She’s in the Navy now ! I put in extra florishes and harmony. It’s a good feeling to put a smil on someone’s face.
The attached picture ( boo, I can’t seem to get pictures to upload) is me at the MD/PA border aka Mason Dixon line. Days later. I had spent the previous night at a B&B/ hostel in Cascade MD run by a terrific Mom named Elizabeth Gilchrist. She picked me up at the Trail head, drove me to the post office to pick up the food his from Joan and back to the Trail head again. What s giant breakfast of pancakes, 3 scrambled eggs, baked pears, milk juice and water. I finished it all.
Thank you Joan for sending me a variety of interesting dinners with instructions (in case I am an idiot). Couscous with veggies and tuna was my favorite. I eat double portions as I am burning lots of calories.

I’ll take a break now and blog more later

March 17 St Pattys Day we took off !

From Harpers Ferry WV with my hiking pal, Dave Hedrick. We went 7.3 miles straight up! Stayed st the Ed Garvey Shelter. A guy was killed at that shelter just s few days earlier when a tree fell on his head. Freak accident. We aren’t worried. Beautiful weather. View of the Potomac from high on Weverton Cliff. Temp below freezing st night. Water froze on the ground. Just a little nippy. Met lots of nice hikers midshipmen from the Naval Academy I taught her to play the nose flute. She learned right away.
We’d 3/18. We hope to make it to Dahlgren shelter tonight. Showers. I hope they are HOT showers.

Appalachian Trail hike to start March 17

Charlie’s Retirement PartySt Patty’s Day to bring us the luck o the Irish. My hiking partner is Dave and he has Irish heritage, and I am IBM, that Irish By Marriage, to my wonderful wife, Joan Flaherty. 100% on both sides.
We are thinking to start in Harper’s Ferry WV, the HQ of the ATC, Appal Trail Conservancy, which is about the middle of the AT, and hike north to Maine. Then take the bus back to WV and hike south to Atlanta. Why? Because it avoids the crowds of hikers that all want to start in Georgia in the spring. The ATC recommends this “flip flop” approach to save wear and tear on the AT.
And what is with this Donate button? I am doing this hike as a fundraiser for various non-profit causes/organizations, mostly including environmental efforts, stop global warming, electric cars, solar energy, energy efficiency. But I also hope to raise money for the Y, formerly known as the YMCA, to help youth. And the Rotary Club’s Stop Polio Now campaign. I am on the board of these organizations. All donations will be split among these groups, or you can earmark, by sending me a message at Some are pledging a penny a mile, which is just over $20 if I make it all the way. Many don’t complete the thru hike in one year, but rather do it in sections over a course of years, which is great, too, but we hope to make the whole dang thing in one year, March to September/October.

Charlie takes off on Appalachian Trail March 17, 2015.

I will be using this web site, normally reserved for my hoped-for electric motorcycle cross-country run, in the sun, for a “through hike” on the Appalachian Trail, which runs 2187 miles from Georgia to Maine. My pal, Dave, and I want to do the whole thing in about 5 months. 5 million steps. I hope we make it, although usually only a small fraction of those who start a thru hike actually make it all in one year. Others do a section and come back next year to do another section or finish. Some take several years of section hikes to do the whole Trail.
Stay tuned here for updates. Or join us for a weekend or a week of hiking. We welcome the company.

Bloomberg poll agrees – Americans support carbon rules

Americans by 2 to 1 Would Pay More to Curb Climate Change

By Lisa Lerer – Jun 10, 2014

Americans are willing to bear the costs of combating climate change, and most are more likely to support a candidate seeking to address the issue.

By an almost two-to-one margin, 62 percent to 33 percent, Americans say they would pay more for energy if it would mean a reduction in pollution from carbon emissions, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.

While Republicans were split, with 46 percent willing to pay more and 49 percent opposed to it, 82 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents say they’d accept higher bills.

America supports GHG controls

Two-thirds of United States residents support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to reduce power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to a poll released Wednesday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The survey found that 37 percent of respondents strongly support EPA’s proposal unveiled June 2, and 30 somewhat support it. Twenty-nine percent oppose it, the poll found.

More generally, 57 percent of respondents said they’d approve of a policy that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if even if meant higher electricity bills. That is the highest approval rating for that question since NBC and the Wall Street Journal started asking it.

Read more:

Coal jobs down, Coal tonnage mined up.

mining employment is a fraction of what it was during the heyday of coal mining in the 1910′s and 20′s:[6][7][8][5]
This chart didn’t reproduce at all. What is happening is that the first number after the year is the coal produced in that year, followed by the number of mine jobs, followed by the productivity of the miners. Coal production up, jobs down, productivity per miner up. Wages stagnant.


Total U.S. Coal Production

Total U.S. Coal Miner Employment

Annual Production Per Miner