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Thursday, August 25, 2016
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Miles 1700-1900: Rutland, VT to Dream Lake, NH

Franconia Ridge in the Whites-- 2 miles of exposed ridge line across Mt Lincoln & Mt Lafayette

This may have been the best, and longest, 200 miles so far!  We have created an art of stretching out our time in order to be here longer! From Rutland, we hiked through Gifford Woods State Park to Killington, up Quimby Mt, and down to several streams. The Lookout Cabin had great sunrise views from the rooftop. The next section is full of ups and downs with several opportunities to pop into small towns or marketplaces. As we crossed the Connecticut River, we said goodbye to Vermont & hello to our 13th state, New Hampshire! Hanover is home to Dartmouth College and the whole town is an interesting mix of ivy league students and hiker trash. Tons of free stuff/resources for hikers. Next, we climbed Moose Stand enjoyed precipitous drop-off views from Holt’s Ledge. Lambert Ridge is made of quartzite and offered us excellent sunset views. We went up in ... Read More »

Home is where you make it. 

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Howdy!  On the 15th of August, I had been living in the woods for 5 months. I have been calling The Appalachian Trail ‘home’ for over 150 days. Wow, I guess it’s true when they say “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  I look back on myself 150 days ago and I can say I’m certain that squeezing my life into a backpack and leaving the Midwest to travel up the East coast on foot was the best decision I could have possibly made. Because something I’ve learned is that when you turn your life into an adventure of uncertainty, you grow in unexpected ways.  It’s hard to believe how accustom life as a thru-hiker has become. In the last five months I have slept in some interesting places that could fit under the category of “home.” So for this blog post, I wanted to give a glimpse of what ... Read More »

Trail Update: Days 22-32

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Day 22: August 6th Zero Day in Rangely Day 23: August 7th Our stomachs were feeling a little funky from our dinner at the pub the night before. We ate burgers at Sarge’s Pub, maybe not the best choice. Got our stuff together, regaurdless, and hopped on the shuttle back to the trail. On the trail by 6:50 and thankfully it was mild. Around lunch time we reached Sabbath Day Pond Lean-to. As we were filtering water, we could hear thunder. The clouds rolling in were dark so we hurried up to the shelter right before the sky let loose. Just as the rain stopped, King Bisquick and Moose Tracker arrived. They had just seen a moose! At the end of the day we had to descend down to a highway, and then a bit further to reach our campsite. When we got to the highway, we found a bench ... Read More »

They Say It’s the People; They’re Right

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This one time, at Fontana Village, back in early May, I was hanging out by myself in the lower level of the lodge when I heard the door open behind me, and a voice. “You ain’t one-a them hackers, are you?” the voice said. I looked up as a 70-something man came around the sofa into my line of vision. He wore thick glasses, and white hair protruded from underneath a light gray cap with wings embroidered on the front. I smiled. “Yes, I am,” I said. “You hacking the whole thing?” He placed his palms carefully on the backrest of the sofa across from me and stood waiting, incredulity and delight already on his face. “That’s the plan.” He said his name was Paul and that he was there with friends. They had come to Fontana not precisely because of its proximity to the Smokies, but because it was ... Read More »

This family has caught the AT bug!

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For as long as I can remember, my dad has always talked about his time on the trail as being one of the best parts of his life. He met lifelong friends and had some crazy adventures. So many that my family and I are sure he could write a book. (Hint. Hint. Dad, you’re retired now! Write a book so everyone can read your stories…!) My dad has always been adventurous. Even as a kid he’d adventure around on his own and once he wound up lost on some guy’s farm that was too far away from home for a kid to be alone at his age. I definitely received his adventure gene because since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be just like him. So far I can cross off traveling the world and jumping out of an airplane off my list of awesome things my dad ... Read More »

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again 

As with every day life, the trail comes with its ups and downs. The downs make me appreciate the ups with a greater intensity of gratitude.  I leave Caratunk feeling refreshed and ready for the trail with my new shoes. I arrive at the Kennebec river excited for the ferry. I hop in and grab a paddle without missing a beat telling the man “I feel like pocahontas!” It’s a beautiful day for hiking. I take off up the trail singing along to my music and enjoying the weather. I see a sign pointing east that says “waterfall.” I’m covered in sweat (an everyday occurrence) and immediately make the decision to get in! I don’t swim as much as others do on the trail simply because I cannot swim very well however, this waterfall has a perfect ledge of rocks for me to hold onto while I cool off. Feeling renewed, I ... Read More »

Coming Home

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John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” These past several weeks, I have begun to understand what he meant. At least the tired part. But also the home part. Our July on the trail has been incredibly eventful. It began with a wonderful weekend home celebrating the Fourth of July and it is ending with some stunning glimpses of the Presidential Range. After the 4th, we returned to VT and were greeted with cold, rushing streams and locked bear boxes. I was taken with the ruggedness of the terrain and the lush, green forests. My Dad joined us just in time for a 10 mile trek up three mountains in steady, cold, drenching rain. He was such a trooper! And became quickly acquainted with Ver-mud. The next day, ... Read More »

The Final Countdown

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It is hard to believe this long journey is coming to an end, but with less than two weeks remaining, it is slowly starting to set-in. Yesterday was the first night that I woke up in the middle of the night, wide eyed and thinking about what life will be like after the trail. There are so many possibilities that it is overwhelming and I still pray that God will continue to lead me in the right direction. Last night, I also reflected on how the past few months have been. It feels like I have lived a lifetime these past few months, moving in and out of different phases of the trail, social circles, and even myself. There have been times that I have felt on top of the world and times that I never felt so utterly helpless. The trail has been a humbling experience and has slowly ... Read More »

This Week’s Best Instagram Photos from the #PacificCrestTrail

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Thru-hiking season is in full throttle on the #PCT! And there are some great photos floating around thanks to all the hikers out there! Unfortunately, if you are reading this right now, you probably aren’t out on the trail (thanks for reading if you are!). Good news, this is the next best thing! If you’d like to be featured, we search Instagram for great photos with the hashtag #PacificCrestTrail, #PCT and #PacificCrestTrials (our personal favorite) and select a few standouts each week for your viewing pleasure. Here’s some visual splendor chock full of the insta-greatness we have all been waiting for. The following photos were taken between 8/7 and 8/12.  The mist rolls in, Crescent Lake #pacificcresttrail #pacificcresttrials #pct #pct2016 #nomadlife #digitalnomad #hiking #oregon #usa #olympus A photo posted by Samantha Veen (@gurlsam) on Aug 7, 2016 at 9:42am PDT WELCOME 2 OREGON. 📸: @cheesebeard_hikes . . #pct #pacificcresttrail #pct2016 #mexicotocanada #pacificcresttrials #sunsoutbunsout #oregon ... Read More »