Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Home > Uncategorized


Arriving at Rock Gap Shelter


Days 9-12 brought us to mile 106 on the trail, at the Rock Gap Shelter. Not long after the last post Kyle picked up a couple extra hiking sticks and started hiking double-pole style. He said he felt like he was a mechwarrior (these big robot suits that fight each other in an old video game we played) and I suggested that be his trail name, Mechwarrior. The name stuck for a little while but he’s still looking for a truer trail name. Kyle also has started hiking exclusively in the Teva sandles he brought, and his knee is doing much better. We think his hefty Solomon trail shoes could have been causing the problem. The Tevas work pretty well, you really don’t need much more than that. My feet have been doing well. I’ve been using sock liners, taping hot spots with leukotape, and using body glide on my ... Read More »

The Back Burner, Catching Up, and Letting Go


3 weeks to go. I’ve been pretty relaxed. I’ve felt things. I’ve realized things. I haven’t packed my pack yet, or made mail drops. I usually do my best work under pressure. In February, I decided that I was not going to get back on the A.T. until I step foot on Springer. That deal I made with myself is still going strong. I’ve been enjoying the calm before the storm. From what I hear, I’m supposed to be obsessing over gear weight, mapping out my daily mileage, and completey consumed by my thru-hike, but I’m not. Instead,  hiking is simmering on the back burner and I am spending all of my time catching up and letting go. I’ve decided this is my way of dealing with my pre-hike jitters. It was brought to my attention that I am so relaxed and calm for someone who is about to live ... Read More »

That Four Letter Word Every Thru Hiker Loves, Snow! Oops, I Mean Zero

What the heck is that?

3/27/2015-The rumor mill of the trail was ablaze all day that the temps were going to be below freezing Friday night.  We had been listening to trail rumors for a while. The day we hiked to Gooch Gap we decided to go to Helen, GA instead of Hiawassee because we heard the town had norovirus. Whenever weather or noro is mentioned we are likely to pay attention. We had been hiking all day in rather cold wet weather. Nothing like thunderstorm weather, just your average miserable foggy, wet, and windy day. We had planned to take the stretch between Dicks Creek Gap and Winding Stair Gap in five days. Instead, we did it in four and came off at Rock Gap, because of the threat of sub-zero temps.   After spending the night at Top of Georgia tenting in the front yard, because all bunks were full, we loaded up ... Read More »

Coco and Earl — Days 14 through 20 — Scotch, an Oatmeal Pie, and a Shelter


Our third week on the AT! Yay for us. Since the last post, Earl and I have hiked 58.1 miles taking us to our current distance of 165.9. Feel free to check the math. I’m not too picky about these things these days. I do know the total is accurate. Here are some highlights! * Upon reaching the summit of Wayah Bald, Earl, Kiwi, Puma, and I met a group of men finishing a five-day backpacking trip. They were happy, friendly, and ready to lighten their loads for the final half mile to their cars in the parking lot. We were happy to assist them in their goal. We started off with some 27-year old Scotch. Turns out I really like Scotch when it is 27 years old! And I really like it when it is consumed before 11am after a brief climb. We also were the recipients of three-year-old ... Read More »

Mile Marker’s First Two Weeks


Wow! It’s already been over two weeks  on the trail – I started from Springer on March 10th. My apologies for not updating this sooner, I’ve been using Instagram and Facebook to regularly update folks, usually via photographs. I’ll try to update this weekly but it all depends on Internet access and whether my phone holds up against the elements – I’ve already had a scare with getting it wet.   So, how do I sum up the last two weeks? I’ll first start with a list of what I’ve done: 1. I’ve hiked 207 miles. 2. I’ve hiked 191 of those miles with a buddy I’ve met on the trail, who goes by the trail name “Cookie Monster”. 3. I’ve adopted a new trail name, “Mile Marker”, due to my new habit of writing down the mileage left to go above my tattoo on my heel, which, if you ... Read More »

Hiking with a Partner: Obstacle or Trial, It Doesn’t Really Matter When It All Boils Down To Me

Sadie in the danger zone

3/24/15 Picking a hiking partner for a 2189 hiking odyssey shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many factors to take into consideration like personalities, abilities, and values just to name a few. But the most important factor could be hiking style. My cousin Lisa/Sisu Sadie and I/ Sisu sookie seemed to have a pretty balanced pace in Minnesota. Four days into the trail, I was having serious doubts. People with the word turtle in their trrail name were faster than us. We were four days into our hike and I was thinking we were moving more like snails. Cooked snails to be more specific. I felt at the pace we wert moving we would arrive at Katahadin, Maine in 2020. On day five,  all my thoughts changed. We started to move in tandem.  Our pace wasn’t fast, but it was steady.  We were starting to get stronger. We were getting ... Read More »

Blood Mountain to Dick’s Gap


Days 4-8 we finished around mile 70, closing up our first week on the trail. We’re starting to find a rhythm and get used to spending time in our tents. Day 5 the temp dropped to the low forties, as low as 39° the next day with nasty cold rain. But thank god day 7 opened into some sunny weather as high as 70°, and it will hopefully stay that way for a few days. Shortly after my last post we made it up a steep slope very fast—maybe too fast—and were feeling good. Kyle wanted to do a kamehameha wave (from the tv show Dragonball-Z) at the top but I said I’d do a Beowulf instead. I yelled “Beowulf” from the mountain top, something I’ve been doing since high school (inspired by the epic poem and the awflawesome film in which Beowulf bursts out of a surpent’s head and ... Read More »

Hiawassee GA-Fontana NC: It’s raining it’s pouring, Hare won’t stop snoring


166 miles in; Daily is between 10-15 Still doing really well. My knee and Hare’s hip seem to be doing better, but there are still various bouts of pain in my shins, my knees, and my ankles. Like clockwork, by mile 10 of each day, our feet start getting really sore and yelling at us to sit down. I’ve started imagining these migrating, isolated pains as being caused by a nasty little gnome. When my knees hurt, he’s sitting under my kneecap, turning a wrench. When my shins hurt, he’s poking them with a nail. And at mile 10 each day, he starts bashing the soles of our feet with a mallet. My imagination is out of control. Actually, the best miles are the ones where I’m daydreaming or cooking up weird thoughts. Random buried memories have started surfacing after I’ve been staring at the wet leaves, fog, and trees ... Read More »

Up, Over, Down & Repeat: Neel’s Gap to Muskrat Creek

We made it and almost missed this tiny sign that indicates the border change.

We stayed a second night at the Blood Mountain Cabins. If you get there early enough to grab a cabin, do so. It’s a short walk from Neel’s Gap, is $60 and the owners will do your laundry. They don’t, however, take reservations for thru hikers. It’s first come, first serve. But, if you’re willing, you can share with other hikers who come in late in the evening, so we shared the cabin the second night with Grinch and Kosmo, two guys from North Carolina who are hiking as far as they can in two months. Staying another day turned out to be a good idea. The day was rainy, foggy and cold and our knees still ached from coming down Blood Mountain. (Note: I think I am off in my days. When it reads March 11, for example, the account may have taken place on March 11. It may ... Read More »

Peeing in the Woods and Other Unlady Like Pursuits in the Great Outdoors.


3/18/15 Since I was a child, I have had many opportunities to pee in the woods. Hello, I grew up in Northern Minnesota and camped a lot. With age, peeing in the woods hasn’t gotten any easier to do. I thought it would be fun to write a little bit about it.  Besides, this day ended with struggle and I thought it was time for humor to kick in. The Squat: This is when your pants or around your ankles, you squat and pee. Here are a few general problems that can occur with this method. If you are too far from the ground, there is something called splash back. Fluid rains down from a great height and the next thing you know your pants, shoes, and socks  are now covered in pee from it hitting the ground and coming back at you. So,  now you learned to get lower, ... Read More »