Friday, February 12, 2016
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My New Kind of Cross Training

Check out this not Ohio weather in this photo

Holiday Who-be What-ee? Cross training, like many of you may know, is a form of  high speed train jumping where a given passenger, disgruntled with their current train situation, for any number of reasons such as, fart smells, too many snakes on your train, crying babies, or gun fire, jumps onto a different train on another track using a plank of wood or the bad-assery of their legs. Cross training can be achieved by…. Perhaps another time folks, I think I jumped the gun. My train jumping blog shall be written after I have perfected my jumpin’ skillz. Actual Cross Training Let me start over. Cross training is important for not only every sport known to everyone, but the Appalachian Trail. The act of cross training can aid in injury recovery, strengthen muscles not typically used in just raw hiking… so injury prevention, and it can lighten up boredom caused by ... Read More »

Cold Is All

Photo credit: Tim Rifenberg

The Enemy Let’s talk about cold. Cold like you’ve never experienced for a length of time you didn’t think you’d survive. Cold with permutations you’d never contemplated. Cold that shrank your world to one idea: itself. Cold that seeped into not just every part of your body but every corner of your mind until nothing was left. Cold that made your decisions for you. Cold that canceled your ability to do anything but want to not be cold. The Outing From the time I got out of my car at the Hawksbill Gap parking along Skyline Drive in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park Saturday afternoon at three p.m. until the time I got back into it Sunday morning at eleven-thirty, the amount of time that I was not completely consumed with how cold I was adds up to maybe five hours: the one hour we were walking uphill to the Hawksbill ... Read More »

Gear, Glorious Gear


After my trial run, here is what that remains. Pack Klymit Motion 60 41.4 oz Tent/ Shelter Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2, w/ foot print  42 oz Sleeping bag Zpacks 30 (warmer weather)/ Big Agnes Bellyache SL 17 14 oz / 39 oz Sleeping pad Therm A Rest Z lite 12 oz Footwear Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX 38 oz Bedrock Gabbro 8.6 oz Socks Injinji liners Darn tough Gloves/Mittens Outdoor Reasearch Metamorph Gloves 2.5 oz Hat Zpacks fleece hat .95 oz Rain/wind jacket Marmot Precip 11.4 oz Umbrella U.L. Trekking Umbrella 5.8 oz My stepdad helped me rig up a hands-free system. Stove Jet boil flash 15.25 oz Water purification Sawyer squeeze 3 oz Electronics Smartphone Nook GlowLight Plus (It’s waterproof and lasts for weeks on a single charge!) 6.9 oz Goal zero battery pack  6.4 oz Hiking poles Pacerpoles – Carbon (favorite piece of gear so far!) 17.9 ... Read More »

And Now We Wait


Larry and I have no special reason for attempting an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. We just decided we’d give it a try because we can and want to. We’re considered “mature” hikers, imagine that. There’ll be quite a few of us on the trails. “Mature” hikers can be seen participating as day hikers, section hikers, extended trip, week or weekenders or thru-hikers. A thru-hiker is someone who hikes the entire Appalachian Trail all 2,189.1 miles of it within a one year period. A thru-hiker can choose from several options to accomplish this goal. Hikers may start from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain Georgia and hike to the northern terminus at Mt Katahdin Maine or vice versa. Another option, the one we’ve chosen, is called a Flip/Flop where we’ll start at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (the middle) hike north to Katahdin Maine. We’ll then go back to Harpers Ferry (by other ... Read More »

Two Muses


My hike starts in six weeks.  All the decisions are made.  I’m continuing to make minor tweaks to my gear.  If I make windscreen prototypes every day looking for the minimum size it takes to produce optimal stove performance, does that make me an ounce shaving lunatic?  I hope that this blogs gives its readers all sorts of useful information about how to finish an AT thru hike.  This particular post will offer none that, however.  I’ve got this brain worm and I think I have to write about it to get it out of the way.  You see while I have dreamed of walking the Appalachian Trail for 45 years or so, I’ve never dreamed of writing about it.  The thought of carrying a notebook and mechanical pencil on a thru hike was at one time abhorrent to me.  My God, do you have any idea how much those ... Read More »

I Think I’m In Love

It was that first time seeing Mt.Washington in New Hampshire. Have you ever heard the stories about the first time someone saw the ocean? Reverse it and swap out that vast ocean for a mountain with an attitude problem and that’s when I fell and I fell hard. Now when I say fall I don’t mean I fell off the mountain otherwise I’d have a bad headache and a long story to explain at the ER. I come from Florida when the beaches are fine and the bumps and hills are finer? That’s the drawback….it’s as flat as that pancake you just had at Cracker Barrel. One Book Started It All I hope I get to thank him one day because AWOL is the man who inspired me to set a new path for my life and it’s exciting to have the possibility of inspiring someone to undertake such an ... Read More »

Music To Move Myself Down The Trail

Since I’ve only ever hiked for two weeks running, not the 5+ months of the upcoming Supported Through Hike, and its always been with hiking buddies, I’ve never worried too much about how to pass the time on the trail. But for this hike, put a 64 gig memory card in my phone, and am loading it with music, Ted Talks, and audio books.  Hikers my age sometimes look askance at earphones on the trail.  But I think I’ll need it.  So in the mornings I’ll use some worship music, mid-day some Ted talks or audio book, and when the afternoon drags on, some oldies. Out of every 9-10 hour day, I anticipate spending about half of it with audio stimulation, and the other half being fully present on the trail. Here’s one category I’m loading up on – the music I grew up with, the 60s, 70s and 80s, ... Read More »

Learning from Example: Interviews with Successful Thru-hikers

Tanner Critz and Andrew

They say it’s better to learn from example than from experience. Learn from others’ mistakes! It’s one thing to read books and blogs about other people’s experience on the AT, but this week I was lucky enough to meet TWO successful thru hikers and learn what worked for them. In both meetings, I felt like a Padawan talking to a Jedi. They have been there and succeeded. . . how did they do it?  The Local Celebrity This winter I was reading End to Ending, a memoir about hiking the AT, and about halfway through I glanced at the author bio. . to realize that the author Tanner Critz lives in Little Rock! Fast forward a few months, and a mutual friend offered to introduce me to Tanner. Yes, please! Of all the books I’ve read, Tanner’s gives the best description of the social aspect of hiking the trail. He ... Read More »