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Tuesday, September 1, 2015
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She’ll Either Kiss You On The Lips, Or Kick You When You’re Down

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Mother nature…. the trail…. you never know what she is going to do. She’ll either give you terrain that is soft enough for bare feet or she will give you slippery and jagged rocks. She will either give you perfect 70 degree weather or a blanket of fog that gives you chills. New Hampshire…. well…. let’s just say she  is definitely bipolar. She beat my legs to a pulp with her lack of switchbacks. She blinded me with fog. She froze my snotty nose with her wind and caused me to pee on my own leg.  She made every fiber in my body tense up to the point of stiffness due to trying not to fall on her slick and steep body. She pelted me with her sleet like someone trying to stone me in a town center. Seeing trekking pole marks reminded me of the claw marks of someone’s ... Read More »

Mile 110

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    As soon as you leave Springer Mountain, your count begins. Some count up: 1,2,3, etc. and  some count backwards: 2181, 2180, 2179, etc. Every mile is a milestone when thru-hiking the AT; every mile counts and we count every mile especially mile 110. Franklin, NC What’s the big deal? Well, that’s a great question. Let me sum it up for you. Awesome people, hiker friendly, Amish Wagon Deli, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Trail Days, Lazy Hiker Brewery, Rosebud Cottage, showers, good food, and a well known gem, Outdoor 76. Outdoor 76 Outdoor 76 co-owners, Rob and Cory will rock your world with knowledge, re-supplies, holding on to your mail drop, several craft beers on tap, and the most important element of a hikers existence, footwear. When it comes to feet, Rob is hands down the most knowledgeable, thorough prescriber of new hiking shoes. I once heard him say, ... Read More »

Having “No Shame” has defined my trail experience

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The trail is a beast of its own kind and I got brave and brought my own beast along. Having “No Shame” (aka Star) with me for this journey has changed my entire hike.  When I decided I was not only hiking the AT but doing so with a dog my game plan had to change.  The idea of rolling onto town whenever I wanted was no longer an option, instead carefully planned food drops have outlined my trail to town time. People are always asking, “what is it like hiking with a dog?”  This question has so many different levels to it.  Hiking with a dog is wonderful, challenging, rewarding, involved, entertaining, full of love and dog hair.   I can’t imagine doing this hike without her. She provides me with constant companionship and hours of laughter.  Her antics leave me gasping for air as she chases chipmunks, gazelle leaps ... Read More »

Dear sister; Playing phone tag with loved ones

We were sitting at the corner of the house laughing because mom was ranting about her usual nonsense, about our usual nonsense and dad was hiding..as usual…in the car drinking his beer. You handed me the vodka and orange and giggled again as mom swore she would hang herself from the ceiling fan, I looked to see how much we had left in the glass and there were fish swimming in it. I startled myself awake, and in the black if the unknown hour it comes back, like it always does, that mom won’t rant and dad won’t hide. They are gone. We will still laugh, because that is all that there is that we can do now. I start to cry, and try not to wake the other hikers. Everything hurts and I think about how many times you have to work a double, on your feet all day ... Read More »

Intermission- The Culture Shock of a Phish Concert

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So we’ve spent the last sixty plus days walking in the woods. Often it’s just the two of us. We’d periodically pass other hikers and sometimes see them at night at the shelters. More than 10 people is a “crowd”.  Given that has been my daily routine, it was probably not the wisest decision to make a Phish concert the center of my re-entry into civilization. Being surrounded by thousands of Phish fans “bouncing round the room” – literally – was hard to take. It was like being a human pinball.  The day started out well. Ian and I drove to Philadelphia from Salisbury. We stopped at the REI in Plymouth Meeting for resupply, then went to Spruce Street Harbor Park to meet Linda, George, Mark, and Amy. We were there early, but there was a great place to sit and there was an ice cream vendor, so we had ... Read More »

The Last Leg

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Posted on the road back home! The Last Leg Front Royal to Harpers Ferry  54 miles Tuesday August 11 Front Royal to Manassas Gap Shelter  10.7 miles Spider Wars After we left the Super 8 and had breakfast, we were going to have to hitchhike one more time to get to the trailhead 5 miles away. Drats! But it was a busy intersection and we were optimistic about our chances. Fifteen or twenty minutes into our wait, a car stopped to pick us up. Oh joy! It was a woman in her 40s who likes to hike and often picks up fellow hikers to help them out. We were so grateful!   As usual, the start of our hike out was all uphill–for hours. It was so humid! The worst part though, was the spider webs across the trail. There were hundreds of them and they were in our faces and ... Read More »

Therapy on the Trail

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There is a chill in the Vermont morning air. It reminds me of leaves changing. It reminds me of football season. It reminds me of my favorite time of the year and I love it. As beautiful as I found Massachusetts, she put a bad taste in my mouth. The morning of my first full day there, I woke up sick. I felt nauseous, weak, extremely tired, and pretty much worthless. I chalked it up to being dehydrated. Durpadur and I made it to Racebrook Lodge so I could rest and hydrate, but I had a hard time keeping anything down. The nice man who gave us a ride there even wanted to take us out for BBQ, but I just couldn’t.  I tried to eat dinner at the restaurant at the lodge, but the server probably thought I was a picky hiker because I barely touched anything. I finally ... Read More »

The Best and Worst of Long Distance Hiking

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Posted from Bears Den Hostel at mile 1002 My friend, Nancy Camden, asked me awhile back about a Best of and Worst of list for this hike and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Here’s my list…. BEST OF 1. The epic adventure of it all– it was exciting to be a part of something so big and so challenging. 2. The people– We met so many kind and generous people who helped us out along the way. They gave us rides, put us up in their homes, and offered encouraging words. 3. The joy of the ordinary– a soft bed, a hot shower, a fresh meal, all of these simple things feel so much more wonderful when you have done without them for days on end. We appreciate all that we have so much more. 4. The music of the woods– We heard so many wonderful sounds in ... Read More »