I left the Trail to attend a family function. My oldest daughter is engaged to be married. Her future in-laws came to town and I had to be here in Silver Spring for that. They are great people.
But now it is time to get back on the Trail. Destination Maine and Mt Katahdin. My older brother, John, agreed to be my trail partner for the Hundred Mile Wilderness and on to the finish line. That will be fun. He’s a hoot.
Could meet a moose? At the moose-eum. Or the moose-ic hall !! Stay tuned as we leave for Maine on June 1.
I’m staying at the home of Jess Treat who rents rooms for $35. Hot shower. Hard to say no to that. She picks you up at the trailhead even though that is 3 miles away. No charge. Includes breakfast. Jess is a real treat. No pun. She is having her writing club over this afternoon for 2 hours. Unlike a book club where you talk about the book you all read, they write prose and poetry together and make suggestions. I have never known writers in such clubs. Jess teaches Spanish and writing at a local college and runs this hiker hostel on the side. She says that business has been steadily growing the last 7 years that she has been doing this. She says others who are also renting rooms to hikers say the same. She likes it because it is not all year- just spring thru fall. And she gets to here all sorts of stories which is always good for a writer !! She frequent visits Mexico City so of course we had to trade stories on that topic. She is impressed with my Spanish.
Today I hiked up Mt Everett 2600 feet. On the way down I met one of my new heroes: Orange Crush. He likes to wear orange and he crushes the miles hiking 28 miles per day. Wow. I usually do 10-12 miles per day. He started in Georgia Zfeb 28 and expects to be at Mt Katahdin by June 10. Before I could get his picture he was gone, like the Lone Ranger. Who was that masked man? I don’t know but he left this silver bullet.
He reports some good news which I did not know. Most of Maine is relatively flat. The NH side is mountainous, a continuation of the NH White Mtns. And Mt Katahdin is surrounded by Mtns. But the infamous 100 mile wilderness is mostly flat. Of course this does not mean that Maine is a cake walk. It has boulders that you must climb over or around that are as big as cement trucks.
Maria McCabe who rents out rooms to as many as 5hikers per night for $35 each. She still has a little Italian accent but she sure can talk! Stories about meeting her first husband, an American GI, at a dance in Italy just after the war was over. Married in Pisa, where the leaning tower is.
What a sweetheart!
Other news. My wife Joan will be coming up to Pittsfield MA to join me for a few days hiking in the western MA Berkshire Mountains. We have reservations at inns and B&Bs along the way to North Adams. No roughing it for us on this stretch although we will do “some” hiking during the day.
You can see even from up on the ridge tops where I spend most of my days that this section is loaded with money. It is also supposed to be loaded with deer ticks that can cause Lymes disease. I haven’t seen a tick on me since PA. Deet to the rescue I guess.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.