Monday, December 22, 2014
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Somewhere Out In America It’s Starting to Rain

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In the Summer of 2010 I was living in New York and rescued a dog from Georgia. Not just any dog, the world’s best dog.  Her name: Abigail Georgia Cohen.  We’ve been together almost everyday since.  Some would say we’re inseparable.  She has been my loyal and faithful hiking companion in the Catskills and Adirondacks from the beginning.  So when I recently decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, I wanted Abby to come along.  She loves the mountains just as much as I do, maybe even more. But Abby hates the rain.   Flash forward to present day and we are now living in California.  The whole state is experiencing a drought.  It never rains here.  Until last week, when it did.  It rained so much.  Abby was miserable and didn’t want to go for her walks. One look at her big brown puppy eyes peeking out from under the ... Read More »

Reasons to hike the A.T

We all have our own reasons, divorce, job loss, retirement, just out of college, a thrilling challenge to get you into tip top shape etc. These are the most frequent reasons I keep hearing. But what about the lost souls, the wanderers on earth who can never seem to find somewhere to feel truly at ease. Itchy feet syndrome, if you will. Living in one of the biggest cities in th U.S, life becomes rather mundane, fast. Sure, there’s so much to do, all the time, a constant distracting haze, beckoning you to spend more money, to buy more stuff to fit into a tiny apartment that you pay way too much for. This, for some, is heaven and that’s fine, to each their own. But after 3 years, all that I’ve seemed to have accumulated is a sore kidney, many bad decisions, an abusive relationship, a dead end job ... Read More »

Dear Class of 2015 and Beyond

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It has been brought to my attention that certain areas of the trail and a few businesses have some beef with our people. We get smelly, we rip apart buffets, and we party like rock stars on our breaks from the trail. We can’t help these things. There is no way we can shower daily on the trail. After spending a week in the woods, I don’t even notice that my body is in desperate need of a shower. I just get used to it. Obviously, we’ll do some damage to an all you can eat buffet. Our bodies are starving for nutrition and you can only eat so much trail food before you’d give your left leg for pizza or some unidentified Chinese food. Alcohol becomes a comfort device for some. We use it to wind down at camp. We use it to celebrate an accomplishment, especially when we ... Read More »

The Top Instagram Photos from the #AppalachianTrail This Week

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We continue to peruse all of the wonderful pictures from Instagram with the hashtag #AppalachianTrail and #AppalachianTrials and select a few of the best each week. This week we take a look at photos snapped between 12/01/14 – 12/08/14. If you would like your picture to be included, be sure to use the hashtag #AppalachianTrail and/or #AppalachianTrials (we give preference to this one).  And follow Appalachian Trials on Instagram for even more AT love. Here is this week’s best pictures from the #AppalachianTrail:   @damnhawk1984 kicks off this week with some adventure planning. Making plans for a #nobo #thruhike of #ShenandoahNationalPark the second week of May. Who wants to join me? #appalachiantrail #appalachiantrials #AT #hikerlife #hikertrash #shenandoah #virgina #sectionhike #sectionhiker #millerhighlife #highlife Every now and then Shenandoah just likes to pretend it’s the Smokies. @rufusb22 at Bear Church Rock in Shenandoah National Park. Bear Church Rock, SNP With Virginia finally behind him @brocarcj hits the home stretch! The longest state on the trail, Virginia, is ... Read More »

My AT Prep: Backpacking Through New Zealand!

New Zealand here I come! Photo courtsey of www.aptouring.com

Guess what friends? Just 28 days until this traveling tarheels starts her 11-week journey in New Zealand! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a year and it’s a great opportunity for me to go on some kick-ass shake down hikes to test of my gear and build my backpacking stamina. For the first 6 weeks I will be taking a class on social entrepreneurship two days a week at the University of Otago in Dunedin. My partner in crime (aka travel partner), Maria, will be taking a class on wine and business (yes, her final includes a wine tasting). I am so grateful that my MBA program encourages us to study abroad during our two-year program. When else am I going to have the opportunity to spend nearly 3 months exploring a country on the other side of the world? Maria and I make great travel companions. I ... Read More »

The First Real Shakedown Trip

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This weekend, Ian and I went on our first shakedown hike together. Linda looked at the temperature and opted out. Once again, we kept it pretty simple. We drove out to the Berkshires and hiked from Jacob’s Ladder up to the October Mountain Shelter, a distance of about 7 miles. This was a nice easy hike and gave us an opportunity to check out some of our gear. A quick “out and back” overnighter. Ian came out to Northborough from Boston Friday night and we packed our bags, then got up early on Saturday and drove out to the Berkshires. The drive out took much less time than planned, and then we hiked faster than I expected. Instead of arriving at the shelter at around 3-4PM, we got there just after noon. It was another nine miles to the next shelter, so we decided to stay put. That gave us ... Read More »

2 Things I Never Dreamed I Would Do

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Well here it is, my first post, maybe my first cyber-public appearance since Myspace was the cat’s ass. I never really pictured myself as a bloggster, but here goes nuthin.  Two things I never dreamed I would do:  The first, you guessed it, write a blog.  The second, you guessed it, attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.  Unfortunately it’ll  be about 5 months before I get to give the latter a go.  But in the meantime I will have a chance to polish my grammar, figure out how to post a post, breakdown and buy a smartphone and then learn how to it. So I guess before I dive to deep into my first post, I’ll just cut it off here and save myself from a ramble. Read More »

My 30th Shakedown Hike

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For my 30th birthday I wanted to do something amazing. I didn’t want to go to a bar and drink, or have a party at home. I could do that anytime. I decided to do a shakedown hike for my A.T. adventure next year. So I drove 10 hours to Fontana Dam and mapped out a 50ish mile route in the Smoky Mountains. It ended up being my best birthday ever. I woke up and watched the sunrise from a fire-tower, went to sleep to the sound of a stream, stepped in bear dung; it was amazing. I learned so much about myself in that week, I can only imagine what will happen in 5 months of hiking. This is what I learned on my shakedown hike:   #1  It doesn’t matter how many blogs or books you read to prepare yourself for thru hiking, you will not know how ... Read More »

Oh boy, am I out of shape.

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When I’m not writing, I am actively stalking everyone else’s Appalachian Trials posts, and it’s a bit alarming to see all of these shakedown hikes and fitness reports coming in. I spent this summer training for a burly trail race: lots of running, hiking, and backpacking (spoiler alert: I still did terribly). But since the race back in mid-September, I have not exercised at all, minus some climbing gym sessions and throwing the Chukit for the dog. Last night, Rocky came home after a 13-hour day working construction, and I was in the same La-Z-Boy I’d been in when he left, still squinting at the article I had yet to complete. The only thing that had changed was the addition of nacho cheese on my sweatshirt. This is tragically normal for me as I settle into hibernation mode. My winter routine is a cycle of eating nachos, feeling bad about myself, ... Read More »

Hiking for My Life

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Trigger Warning: Suicidal Thoughts   Buckle in kiddos, this is going to be kind of a downer. I’m really hoping this post doesn’t come off as too self-indulgent. Part of the reason I wanted to blog for Appalachian Trials was to share my excitement, my adventures, and my perspective of the trail. But also, in full disclosure, I wanted to write about my battle with mental illness. I’ve been suffering from clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, trichotillomania (hair pulling), and recently diagnosed with bipolar II. Mental Illness is very real and should be treated as seriously as physical illness. I’m a very vocal proponent of breaking the stigma of mental illnesses so here it is: how hiking the Appalachian Trail might save my life. The AT gives me something to look forward to “My life has no purpose.” Last winter was the worst of my life. Of course, I had spent ... Read More »