The End of the Trail

Apparently the transition from the trail back into the world of easy distraction has not gone as smoothly as I originally anticipated, if it had this post that should be easy to write would not have been put off for as long as it has.  A large part of this has been I didn’t know where I am headed without the easy white blazes on every couple of trees letting me know I am still on my current path. The other part has been that I was reluctant to make this final recap of the greatest set of experiences I have yet witnessed, and didn’t want to feel like I was shutting the door on that stage of life. But enough about now, for now, we are here to hear about the trail and what it was like.

The last I checked in from the trail was while I was in the town of Stratton, ME. So I will pick up from there and try to not bore you with mundane details like, I ate, I walked, I ate more, looked out over mountains, ate more, I slept, repeat. That’s the summary of the trail for six months if it were not for all the majestic moments that the mountains provided.

The day I left Stratton I started the last lag of my adventure. I loaded up with food, ate a giant breakfast, hit the post office, and headed for the trail. I had to walk halfway back to the trail head (about 2.5 miles) before I got a ride. When I got dropped off I started climbing Mt. Bigelow (the last big mountain before Katahdin, at 4,090ft.) I was aiming for the first shelter in the middle of the range, about 12miles, but ended up running late and found myself night hiking.  Trail Lobster ended up catching me and we decided since we were already night hiking we might as well go all the way to Flagstaff Lake 18miles. We camped on a beach, we missed the campsite in the dark, and were serenaded by the loons all night. I awoke to the sun rising behind my back looking out over the lake, I would like to come back here some summer and paddle the 150mile canoe trail across the lake.


Bigelow Mtn. East Peak


Pond on the middle of the Bigelow's


Bigelow Avery Peak


Bigelow's view

Two days later I got to the Kennebec River, after having walked past a few more beautiful ponds with shelters right by the water. Pierce Pond Shelter was one I stayed at that had the shelter within 40 feet of the water, with a good swimming hole. I got to the Kennebec before 11am so that I could catch the ferry across the river to keep us from having to try to ford the unpredictable water. The river is 20 yards across and there is a damn that releases water with no warning system, causing it to be a dangerous ford. That is why the ferry is there, it is run by a Maine Canoe Guide who paddles two hikers and their packs across at a time. On the other side of the river is the town of Caratunk ME, where T-Mellow had moved his car to. I took the opportunity to unload some excess weight and leave it in Ted’s (T-Mellow’s) car so I didn’t have to send it through the mail. From there we took two days to hike the 40 miles to Monson.


The Kennebec River Ferry

We camped at a side trail into town so that we could wake up early and hike to Shaw’s Boarding House to catch breakfast (one of the most recommended breakfasts on the trail.) The meal lived up to the reputation, and I filled myself with three eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and orange juice. Ted had to get back to his car to start driving home to Maryland, luckily Miss Janet was in town and I rode with them to reflect on shared experiences from the trail.  I used the time on the road to stich my pack up and make sure it would make it to the end of the trail (the spine punched through the bottom of the body.)  When I got back to town I got my resupply from the post office and repacked my bag. I plugged my phone in to make sure I had enough battery life to stay in touch with my father and plan how to meet him at Abol Bridge. My charging cables fought me for hours to charge my phone, so I ended up staying in town. I made plans with Hudson, Riza, and Thespian to skip Shaw’s breakfast and get a shuttle to the trail by 7am.


Moose hunting with Miss Janet and T-Mellow

In the morning it was a cold start, but it gave good motivation to get hiking even at such an early hour. I crossed three rivers that day, one being an actual ford that ended up being shin deep, the rest were just rock hops. I camped at a shelter a quarter mile off trail, on a small pond with Riza, and Hudson. The Rough Riders (Hustle and Flow, Mac and Cat(2), Snorlaks, and JackAttack) came into camp and shared the shelter and fire with us around dusk. The next day I set out at 6am with Hudson and Riza again, but I let them go ahead of me when I started reflecting on my trail experience. Being so close to the end I had a few moments where nostalgia slowed my hiking speed to a crawl. I faced questions of what I could have done different, and I was overwhelmed by missing friends I had made and lost.



I ran out of steam at 17 miles, and set up camp at the nearby shelter. The Rough Riders (plus Atlas) got to the shelter shortly after I did and I was glad to have the company. On the 2nd of October, the next day, I bounced around them and we all stopped to appreciate our first view of Katahdin from the top of Whitecap mountain. I decided to stick with the Rough Riders when we got to the Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to. It was a beautiful spot with a cascading stream 40 feet away in front of the shelter to lull us to sleep. I hiked with JackAttack and Atlas the fourth day in the hundred mile wilderness and deep intellectual conversations made the day fly by. The fact that the rest of the terrain had less than a hundred feet of elevation change till the base of Katahdin might have helped. We passed a dozen ponds and lakes (or the same ones from different points around them) and some of the springs I passed had the clearest water I’ve seen.

Unfortunately the following day sucked, it started raining on us just enough to keep everything damp most of the day. However I had my father and Cat coming to meet me at Abol Bridge. I pushed hard to make 23 miles and got to the road just after dark. Some hikers who were camped just inside the Hundred Mile Wilderness told me they had seen my dad and that he was driving some hikers into Millinocket, so I decided to wait outside the Abol campground store till they got back.

Once they got back, and reunions were over, the decision was made to make camp in the woods. I managed to find a flat spot big enough for my five man tent and proceeded to set it up in the drizzle that carried on all day. It wasn’t the driest camp I’ve made but at least it was out of the weather, except for what wanted to come through the tent walls.


View of Katahdin from Abol Bridge.

I slack packed south ten miles with Cat from Katahdin Springs, back to base camp at Abol Bridge. We passed dozens of hikers, and ended up running late because of stopping to talk with half of them. Spent the night at base camp went into Millinocket for breakfast, then it was time to ascend Mt. Katahdin after months of work. We ran into Miss Janet at the parking lot at the base of the mountain, signed into the register and counted seventy hikers already on the mountain today.


Cat, Miss Janet, Beans(me)

It was forecasted as possibly the last clear day for the season. The trail started up some gradual steps up to a waterfall, then kept climbing and gradually getting steeper. Once I got above tree line we started climbing up house sized boulders and started passing the first of the hikers we encountered. Some had already summited and were on their way down, spirits were high all around. Once I reached the tableland (4620ft) I got my first sight of the summit, which was covered by people. As I was approaching the final climb I could watch a ceiling of clouds form above the peak causing the temperature to drop.


The trail we climbed


Hikers on the peak


Still climbing


Sweet Victory!

When I reached the top (5268feet) the dozens that had been seen had dispersed and only a handful remained. I only recognized one other thru hiker (Indy) still at the top and got to celebrate with Cat and him. We didn’t linger long because of the cold, plus it was a bitter sweet feeling at the top. The trail was over, I still had to get down, but six and a half months of aiming at this and now it was done. Now I was set adrift, so long as I reach the bottom. I think the way down was far worse that up, having to climb down through the same boulder field we ascended (down climbing is always trickier.) When we got to the waterfall, Miss Janet was waiting there to congratulate hikers on the way down. It was good to see her one last time before leaving the trail.

At the parking lot a former hiker/trail angel was cooking up hotdogs as a send off trail magic. I miss the simple joy that comes from seeing complete strangers cooking for hikers on the side of roads. JackAttack and Atlas needed rides south from Katahdin, so we made room in the car for them and loaded in to hit the road. We made one last stop in Milinocket to say our goodbyes to fellow hikers and started the drive south. Atlas was heading back to Montreal and asked us to let him out on route 17 west so he could start hitching across Maine into Canada.

JackAttack was heading to his sister’s in Connecticut and asked to be dropped off at the train station in New Haven. We were happy to give him a ride and it was convenient, seeing as we had to drop Cat back off at college in New Haven. I was saddened by their departure as that marked the end of my thru hike experience, and it is unknown when I will get to see such great friends again.

The rest of the drive back to Baltimore was uneventful, fortunately and I threw myself into working my annual fall job harvesting pumpkins and driving hayrides for the Rodgers Farm. For the month I had work with them I kept myself distracted from the effect of reintegrating into society, and thought I was making easy work of it.

However once the season ran out I started to experience apathy towards what I saw as mundane things after having lived so freely and simply on the trail. Everyday wasn’t easy rainbows and butterflies, but life was simplified to base necessities and at that level it was easy to enjoy the good even during the bad. Once home I found myself easily distracted by all the things we surround ourselves with to take us away from the present moment. I settled myself to work on cleaning out my childhood home and packing away the things I couldn’t convince myself I don’t need.

Currently to get myself back into the stream of life, and advancing myself towards goals on the distant horizon, I have signed up to do some WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities Organic Farming). I learned of the program from friends on the trail who had done it and spoke highly of their experiences. One of the things that I gained from the trail was a desire to progress towards a sustainable lifestyle farming and bartering, opposed to slaving away for a mountain of money and insecurities about keeping it safe.

I have recently moved to Ware Shoals South Carolina to work on a farm here for a month, then I am scheduled to travel to a farm outside of Portland Oregon to work for a month or two. I am beginning to form plans to hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in 2016 with a bunch of the friends I made on the AT. It is unknown what the road ahead of me will bring, but there is a bright horizon.


Post forthcoming

Because the grapevine tells a story faster than I do I will confirm the rumors.  On October 6th I successfully completed my hike of the Appalachian Trail. I am working on compiling my records to finish writing a post about the last leg of my trek. And new photo galleries to be added

Through the White Mountains into Southern Maine

I recently finished hiking through the White Mountains, some of the slowest toughest miles, but one if the most rewarding sections of the trail. The mountains climbed up over 4000 feet for most of the summits, and many of the miles were above treeline. The trails hit some steep slick grades, descend alongside waterfalls at some points, and traversed some of ridge lines know for some of the most unpredictable weather patterns.

Entering into the Whites I was lucky enough to slack pack a couple of days with Miss Janet and ease into it. The first mountain we encountered was Mt Moosilauke (4802ft.) Instead of taking it north and having to descend a waterfall we went south and were able to climb up it. Apparently there is a hiker challenge to hike over Moosilauke in a dress, I figured why not so McG, Cheese and I got some from a thrift shop and hiked over in them. It was quite windy and if it hadn’t been sunny it would be quite chilly, this was my first encounter with alpine/above treeline environment. It was a nice clear day so the view went on for miles, we got our first good glimpse of Mt Washington and we’re able to pick out the route we would end up taking to get there.


Moosilauke dress challenge


Moosilauke summit

We stayed in Glencliff that night at the Hikers  Welcome Hostel. Next we climbed over Kinsman Mountain (4358ft,) and passed my first hut at Lonesome Lake. We stayed in Lincoln NH, at a trail angel’s (Chet’s) house. It was a nice place and I was able to hang out with Quest, the blind hiker, before he got off the trail. It was sad to see him leave, I always had good conversations with him. e always had a positive attitude. Before he left we went into Warren NH to try eating the Moosilauke Monster. Quest and McGuyver tried to take on the challenge, eat it all between two people in an Hour and a half, the pizza weighed in at about 8 pounds.


The Food Challenge


One pound slice of pizza

The next day, September 6, we were supposed to climb up Franconia Ridge and walk two miles above treeline. The weather was forecasted for rain thunderstorms all day so I decided not to set out into that. Pretty much everyone else decided that town was the safest option. It was a nice day in town hanging out with everyone, sadly my friends Acorn and Cheese had to leave the trail for a week or so. I set out to hitch out of town with with 3 other hikers. We ended up getting a ride from another Acorn who had hiked this year and summited Katahdin a few weeks earlier. She was in town to hike with a friend of hers she hiked with in the beginning of the trail, also leaving town. So we packed 5 hikers, packs and poles into a small sedan, its amazing what you can accomplish to get a ride.


Franconia Ridge

The ascent up to the ridge was rough and straight up. Acorn and her friend A-Jack caught up to me and I made it to the top with them. We summited Little Haystack (4800ft,) and climbed down and up to Mt Lincoln (5089ft,) then Mt Lafayette (5260ft.) I then camped around Mt Garfield below treeline. The next day I stopped in at a hut (Galehead Hut) for the first time to see if they had any leftovers, unfortunately they did not.

I camped in Crawford notch September 8th so I could have a full day climbing up to the presidential range. I passed Mt Jackson (4052ft) then stopped in at Mizpah Hut to regroup before starting up past the rest of the presidential range. From Mizpah it was a 13½ mile stretch above treeline. I passed Mt Clinton (4312ft) then Mt Franklin (5004ft) to end up at Lakes of the Clouds Hut where I was able to do a work for stay. I had to scrub pots that night and sweep out the hallway the next morning, but I got a warm place to sleep out of the wind and they gave us the leftovers the guests didn’t eat. It was a perfect staging area to climb to the summit of Mt Washington from at 6288 feet. The second highest mountain on the trail, and known to have some of the most unpredictable weather in one storm the wind set a record of 238 miles per hour.


Mt Washington approach


Lakes Of the Clouds Hut



View from Mt Washington


A rare view



The crew at the top (MaGuyver, Catchup, Walrus, Beans(me))


Madison Hut and Mountain

I continued on that day past Mt Adams (5500ft) and over Mt Madison (5366ft) to make it as far below treeline as possible, seeing as a storm was said to blow in that night. The storm held off long enough to get packed up and hiking the next day. I made it to Pinkham Notch where I took shelter in the cafeteria and grouped up with a bunch of hikers who were going b into Gorham to resupply and shelter from the storm that was wrecking the mountains. The next day I climbed up Wildcat and took refuge in a ski cabin after the near vertical climb after town wore me out. It also seemed like a good spot to try to catch the northern lights that were supposed to be visible that night. The next day I got a meal at Carter Notch Hut for a bit of work scrubbing bunks, I ended the day at Imp Shelter after a hard 10 miles. It was a cold windy morning and I was not to shocked to find ice on some of the trees climbing down the mountain.

At the bottom of the climb I found myself back in Gorham at the White Mountains Lodge and Hostel. McGuyver and I did a work for stay there by doing a bit of chainsaw carving.


The rough out


The final product


Plus a hiker bench


And some mushroom stools

It was probably the nicest hostel I’ve stayed at, clean and the owner Marney was the sweetest woman. It was hard to leave after zeroing for carving, but we were just miles away from Maine and it was time to enter the last state on the trail.


The MAINE line

My last night in New Hampshire, September 16th, I camped at a lake with a few other hikers, we were woken up in the morning by splashing in the water. McGuyver and I got out in time to watch two Moose in the pond. The hiking got extremely technical and involved a lot of scrambling up and down wet rocks. I slipped coming off one and slid down a bog board stretching my ankle back and causing it to stiffen up for the next few days. This happened just before the Maine border and a climb down a cliff to the shelter for the night. Again I was shocked at how rugged this trail is at times. The next day I knew I would be slow so I forced myself out of camp early. This was good because it took 4 hours to go the first 4 miles. By noon I was on the edge of the Mahoosuc Notch, claimed by many to be the hardest mile of the AT. My buddy Ted (T-Mellow) was driving up to hike a few days with me and I decided to push another 10 miles, making a long late 15 miles. Knowing that I didn’t have spare time I started my decent into the notch. When people say its the hardest mile on the trail, that its a mile of boulder scrambling, its hard to believe them. I started climbing through the notch at 1pm and I had barely gotten to the other end by 3pm only one mile further. The trail led you right through a boulder field with many of the rocks the size of a house, it wound over around and even under as many rocks as possible, three times it took you through tunnels you had to crawl under rocks.


Mahoosuc Notch


The trail crawled through here

I eventually made it to the road that night and ran into McG who told me T-Mellow was shuttling an injured hiker to town. While I was waiting in the parking lot watching stars I saw six shooting stars.

I’ve been hiking with T-Mellow for the past  5 days and over 60 miles, from Andover to Stratton. They have been some of the most challenging hiking I have done on this trail but some of the most rewarding. Southern Maine is as beautiful as it is rugged. I am also lucky to be hitting it at the perfect time of year to catch the leaves changing for fall.


Cameras cant capture the colors


Chalk art


Bald pate Mt


One of Maine's many ponds


Well I just officially left the long trail and am heading east towards new Hampshire.


Killington Peak

Today I climbed up and over Killington, the first 4000 foot mountain since southern Virginia. It was a hard climb but well worth the effort. It has inspired me to look into getting a winter job on a ski slope so I can have access to a mountain to learn to ski on.

The past few days on the Long Trail have been gorgeous. The AT follows the long trail for 105 miles from the Vet/Ma border to Killington Vt. I have passed some amazing views and a few beautiful ponds.


I am in my last quarter of the trail and excited, and scared, to be nearing the end of my journey. I have maybe 50 more miles in Vermont left, and hope to be in Hanover New Hampshire by Saturday morning. Trail talk says that from Hanover expect to take another month to reach Katahdin. Lately I am reminded of Game Of Thrones, winter is coming! I have been watching the mountains, and more and more recently the leaves have been getting colored. I’m hoping to make this last stretch in less than a month and avoid falling into winter weather, it has occurred to me that I’m heading north into the oncoming season.

All in all it is an amazing journey and every day reminds me I’m alive and learning.

Continuing through Vermont

Mile marker 1647.2 otherwise known as Manchester Center, VT. The trail has returned to mountains again, unfortunately it has been filled with mud, rocks, and roots.

Northern Massachusetts was wonderful, Dalton was a great town and I was happy to take a zero there in order to get a package from the post office. Tom Levardi was a generous trail angel who lets hikers camp in his back yard or sleep on his porch, he also offers slack packing and rises around town. On Sunday while we were waiting for the post office Cat, Baird, Dragon Born, Young Gandolf and myself went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Then Monday we decided to slack pack to Cheshire Ma.

The next day Cat and I set out to climb Mount Greylock, the tallest peak on the trail in Mass. It was a gorgeous day, and the climb went well. We got to the top with Ginga Ninga where we got ice cream and played a couple of games of checkers. This allowed us to catch an amazing sunset from the summit.


Sunset Mount Greylock


Gnomes on Greylock

We were then lucky enough to start a conversation with a park employee who was checking on the tower and he invited us to climb the tower, currently closed until renovations are completed.

We climbed down the tower to a deserted field where we decided to cowboy camp to catch the sunrise. This was also Cat’s last day on the trail before she had to return to college. There couldn’t be a better end of the trail for her. The next day we did 6 miles into Williamstown where she was able to catch a bus to Connecticut. It was a sad day for me, but there was nothing to be done but continue hiking. They say laughter is the best medicine, if that is the case walking might be the second best. That being said it has been months since I last hiked as a solo hiker, its a strange feeling to not have constant companionship.

From Williamston it was 4 miles to the Vermont line and the beginning of the Long Trail. I met a fellow north bounder, Hermes, and hiked with him for a few days. We went into Bennington together where I got my cold weather clothes and he got a ukulele. We then continued to Stratton mountain, where Benton Mackay developed the idea for the Appalachian Trail. It seemed fitting to me that on the same slopes as I was climbing yesterday that Mackay’s dream of a connector trail between communities has become that and so much more. It serves to connect people on a personal level. Everyone I have met has been a friend I never knew, and all the towns I have been through I have seen the same spirit in the citizens.

It is great to be climbing mountains again, but I’m ready to find a place to settle down for the winter. I have been watching the mountain sides and slowly I am seeing color creep into the leaves. Soon the mountains will be a gorgeous masterpiece, but shortly after that the trees will be bare again. Its an odd sensation knowing that I have hiked all the way through spring and summer.


Stratton mountain Fire tower


View from Prospect Rock

Great Barrington

I have finally made it to New England! I feel as if this entire time in the back of my mind I have been pushing hard to get here, there is something alive in the rocks here that constantly pulls me to these mountains.

I left New York, NY on August 2 by taking the metro north from Grand Central Station to The Appalachian Trail Train stop. I hit the trail with the goal of making it to my family’s place in Great Barrington by the 7th for my birthday, requiring an average of 15 miles a day for the 5 days I had to make it. Thanks to the proximity of the trail to civilization in this section I was able to communicate with my sister and find out that one of my cousins and her daughters would be in Boston on my birthday and that if I wanted to see them I would need to get here sooner.

Fortunately the terrain was agreeable and Cat and I were able to make an average of 20 a day. Also once I got to Salisbury CT Nicole would be able to come take most of our gear, except what we needed for a day, so that we could slack pack the last 25 miles into town.

Unfortunately the day we were trying to get to Salisbury I slipped and fell on some muddy wet rocks at Great Falls outside of Falls Village CT. Because my knee took a bad hit on the landing and it was getting late in the afternoon, still with 8 miles till town, we decided to detour and do some road walking bypassing a climb over two mountains. This proved to be a fortunate choice. While we were strolling down the side of a dirt road a man in a pickup truck pulled up and asked where we were heading, then mentioned that his wife likes to take hikers in for the night occasionally. He said that he had to run some errands and talk to his wife, but that he would probably come back our way and pick us up if he could.  Not ten minutes later another pickup truck pulls up from the other direction and a woman tells us her husband mentioned something about two cute hikers walking down the road, seeing as I hadn’t seen anyone else she told us to hop in.

The woman Kiki, and her husband Peter adopted us for the evening, much to Cat’s and my delight, gave us a bed, a shower, got our laundry done, and fed us a great meal.  They had the coziest little house I have seen, and beautiful landscaping.  This was some of the best timed trail magic that I have received, while I was expecting to make it to my cousin’s and uncle’s the next day anyway, my knee was sore and bruised from my fall and I  don’t know if I was going to be able to push I to the miles I wanted out of it.  However I was able to clean off in the shower then take a nice long soak in a tub of hot water to relax my sore joint.  The dinner was also one of the best meals I had had in a long time, charcoal grilled steak!!

During to course of our evening our host noticed one of the Gnomes I am traveling with and expressed  interest in them. I explained to them about Going Gnome, my cousin’s business, and that I had started carrying needle felting supplies. Because of their interest, and the fact that they collect various toys and figurines (the house had 86 pig decorations scattered about) we decided to stay up and make a Gnome for them to share their house with.

The next morning, the 5th we met my sister at the trail head on route 41 outside of Salisbury at 7:45 where we dropped our weight and started our slack pack into Massachusetts. We climbed over Rika, Bear, and Race mountains and were rewarded with some spectacular views. The Berkshire Mountains have not failed to impress with its views.  Halfway through the hike Cats back developed a rash, suspected from a reaction to laundry detergent, and took some Benadryl resulting in us deciding to head down Race Brook Falls Trail, instead of going over Mt Everett, to end the hike for the day and head to the compound.

It is good to be with family and able to relax for a day or two. At the same time so that I don’t fall to far behind on the trail I am still going out to do day hikes with a slack pack. Cat and I went over Mt Everett on the 6th advancing ten miles up trail and making it to Great Barrington officially.  I was able to take my birthday off and explore town and enjoy the day, and got a great surprise of my mom coming up to visit from Baltimore. On the 8th Nicole and I went on a hike yesterday ten miles from route 7 to route 23.

It has been a great break of hiking, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing my family, but inevitably the trail beckons me to return to it and set out again with my home on my back.  I am aiming for Katahdin by the middle of September and to reach that goal I need to do about 16 miles a day, a nice easy pace that I don’t want to fall behind of.

“New” states

When I started hiking this trail I never thought that I would say New Jersey is the best state I walked through, before New England, even though I knew the western part of the state was nothing like the stereotype of the state. The trail through the mountains was gorgeous. Heading out from Delaware Water Gap we passed a fire tower, a bunch of ponds and lakes to swim in, a Sunrise Mountain, and eventually came to High Point NJ. When we got to the High Point monument we climbed up an observation platform that overlooked the mountains and offered a view of the monument and we decided to camp there.


The High Point Monument


Our camp at high point


From High Point the trail turned more East and dropped down into the a series of low valleys along the Jersey New York boarder. These were a very nice section of trail because they were so dynamic, we would change between going through woods to fields. We would be going over hills to marshy boardwalks, and even a few miles of road walking, until we got to the Pochuck Boardwalk, a beautiful mile long boardwalk over a marshy stream and the pochuck river.


Another part of new Jersey I really enjoyed was the small towns we went through. In the course of one day we passed through three towns that all had nice little grocery stores or farm markets. My favorite town that we visited was Warwick NY, right after crossing out of New Jersey for the last time on the trail. The town had a drive in movie theater that allowed hikers to walk in and camp. An awesome farm market, Pennings,


that I seriously considered staying at and working for a while. When we were walking out of town on Sunday a woman stopped and offered us a ride, without even having to try hitch hiking, and drove us to the town farmers market walked around for half an hour with us then dropped us off at the trail. The best part of the whole town though was the fact that everyone was supper hiker friendly and wanted to know about the trail.

From Warwick the trail went over some impressive rocks and past a little water fall on the way to Southfields where I got my next resupply, the town had little to note other than a cheap motel for people going to shop at Woodbury Commons.

When Cat and I got back on the trail we ran into old friends of mine who I hadn’t seen since southern Virginia. They told us of their plan to take an upcoming side trail, The Long Path, and hike into New York city. The Long Path runs from upstate NY near the Vermont boarder down to the New York, New Jersey boarder in NYC. From where it crosses the AT it was 50 miles into the city. For a change of pace and renewed perspective on the woods we decided to join them on their adventure. We were able to catch a ferry to a train so we could cut off the section of trail through Harlem and get into the city during the day instead of walking in through a ghetto at night.

So far the city has been great. It is not nearly as overwhelming as I was expecting. Yesterday we hiked around the city with our packs doing some of the tourist things. We visited central park, walked through Times Square, and sat on the steps of the Post office across from Penn station. Everywhere we went people would stop us and ask if we were from survivor, or naked and afraid (apparently a new reality tv show about being stuck in the woods).


Times Square

Post past due

It has been a long time since I have checked in. I have been wrapped up in enjoying as many moments as possible on this journey. And every time I think I will have time to post the experience has pulled me back in.

I started typing a post a couple weeks back, but never had service for it, then forgot I had it.

At the psychological half way point. I got my picture taken at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. I’m the 749 hiker to pass through this year on a thru hike.

Picture (was to) be posted from the next computer I get to. I have been separated from my camera since then, I’ll say I list it if it doesn’t get found and brought up trail by another hiker.

I made it here a little faster than I expected. I walked most of the Shenandoah’s on skyline drive because the views were better, and the road is where the original trail was. Day tripper and I met a lot of cool people who were at the waysides (general store).

Our friend Rocky had to get off the trail because he got a job opportunity. He has been the first person who I had been hiking with that had to leave the trail. However it was bitter sweet because he had a rental car to go to an interview in D.C. so he came out to meet us and say goodbye, for now. It was a bitter sweet parting.

[Back to the present]

Fortunately our friend Cat got back on the trail there after visiting Pittsburgh with friends after Bonnaroo. DayTripper hiked with us for another day before cranking out crazy miles to catch his friend RockSloth.

Cat and I then fell into a strange point between bubbles on the trail where we were the only hikers for days. In this time we crossed the 6th state off the list of states we have been through, and My brother and Natasha came to visit. Seeing as Winthrop had left me in southern Virginia, and i have been without a trail gnome for over 500 miles, Tasha left a gnome kit with me. Myrdoc of the woods was created soon after


Myrdoc of the Woods

Once we got close to Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the halfway point, we fell back in with hikers on the trail.

However being so close to home and cats father working in Baltimore,  we decided to visit for the fourth of July. We also used the trip to get rid of extra weight we had in our packs, I was able to shake 6 pounds out of my pack.

Back on the trail we passed though Duncannon and I left an AT gnome in the first shelter out for fellow hikers to pick up and travel with.


#ATgnome #GoingGnome

At that shelter some old friends of ours (we didn’t know were behind us) caught up and we have been hiking with them for the past week. Together we made it into Port Clinton. The past few days have been amazing, it has been a super moon so we have done two full moon night hikes knocking out good miles for the days total. We walked into a trail magic barbeque during a summer rain storm yesterday, one of the best spreads I’ve had since Georgia.

Cat and I had to go into town today so we fell a bit behind the group, but it has been a day of magic. We went into Hamburg Pa, stopped in at Cabela’s first to walk around and see the museum of wildlife we don’t ever see in the woods, even though it’s all around us. Then we stopped at McDonald’s on our way to Walmart, shopping as a hungry hiker is never good, and while we were hanging out in the store a Trail Angel started talking to us about hiking and then invited us to their home for showers, a ride to Walmart and back, let us spend the night and will take us to the trail in the morning. This experience is just another point that helps emphasize my view that the community is the best part of the trail.

I will try to stay connected, not just to the trail and woods, but here as well.

Happy Trails and Good Hiking,


Well I’m almost in Waynesboro Va, I was 20 miles outside the city when the crew I had been hiking with; Jolly Jumper, Golly Green Giant, Hard Head, Landslide, and MacGyver; when we decided to hitch down the mountain to Devil’s Backbone Brewery for dinner and drinks. We then were allowed to camp on stage in the brewery lawn and got a $5 breakfast in the morning. It was a great experience that I never expected to have, camping at a brewery.

The yesterday as we were hiking out MacGyver received a message from some friends asking him to come to Bonnaroo and that Miss Janet was coming to pick him up and drive to the festival with us. I happened to be at the right spot right time when I got to the road crossing he was going to wait at as Miss J pulled up as I was deciding if I wanted to go. I decided to take a detour to make some good memories off the trail with great people. I’m starting to feel like a “dirty hippie” good thing I got a shower this morning.


All loaded up and ready to hit the road

700 down

Today I am visiting Salem Va to stop in with some old friends from Roanoke. It has been nice to be back in this town, I always forget how peaceful it is.  In the past week I passed the 600 mile point, just outside of Bland Va, and the 700 mile mark, yesterday before Catawba where I got off the trail.

Every time I reach one of these little milestones I get a boost of accomplishment. Hikers on the trail ahead of me have been marking the hundreds with sticks forming the numbers to let people know how far they have come. I always enjoy it because it gives me perspective on the fact that everyone ahead of me has been past this point, and while I may not know them we share a common bond by having walked up and down the same mountains seen the same views. It helps me feel that sense of community when I can step back and look at that angle of the trail.

I went over some parts of the trail yesterday I had taken day hikes to while I was going to college in the area. The one I remember the best was the dragons tooth. A rock out cropping that gives a great view of the Catawba valley. I took the time to walk out to it and climb to the top.


As many mountain vistas as I’ve seen I never get tired of taking in the majesty of it.


Hiking down from the top of the mountain was some of the most technical hiking the trail has thrown at us yet. I didn’t take any pictures of it but I had to climb down these rock slabs, some of which had to have ladders bolted on. It was a little sketchy but I had a blast going down and only had one point where I almost busted my butt.

Apparently yesterday also happened to be the day of the lizard, I saw two lizards on the trail.


The first lizard


And the second