Wednesday, July 30, 2008

barkeep - I'll take a vodka with lyme.

well - you haven't heard from me for a while - and I'm guessing that some of you picked up the spelling that I used for the title. When I left Manchester Center, my knee pain was gone - I had however started a bit of a headache. I rarely get headaches and with 800mg of advil 3 times a day for the knee, was surprised that I would have one. Assuming it was just from caffeine since I had been in town for 3 days. I hiked on. As each day passed - I felt worse. No appetite, no power, very lethargic, my neck started to tighten, and then the headache got out of control. Would normally be a 7-8 out of 10, then every few mins would jump up to 12 out of 10 and I would wince out loud. Advil all day helped take the edge off of it. Was trying to hike to Rutland VT to get to the hospital. Of course had to go over the tallest peak in the state (Mt. Killington) to do it. : ) Was able to call a trail maintaineer to come get me and drop me off at the hospital. Myself and 2 Dr's all felt it was Lyme Disease. By this point I had a large rash on my left foot (the rash and headache are the key's). They drew blood and sent it off - takes a few days to get results back. They were worried that it might be Lyme Meningitis - so they gave me a CT head scan - and then - oh yeah - got to have a spinal tap. (not talking about the kick ass band with amps that go to 11). Spinal tap showed 10 white blood cells - should be none, but kind of a rounding error. As the next day went on, my nose and lip became numb, my right eye dropped and swelled, and I couldn't control/use all of the muscles in the right side of my face. They brought in a Neurologist for some tests and we upped my Lyme antibiotics to an IV based one vs the oral one. Just got the results back - it is Lyme Menegitis. Going to have to have a Pick Line installed as I am going to have to be on the IV meds for 3 weeks. Have met with a social worker to look at housing options - or might fly home. Have put about 12 bags of fluid in me - took 4 or 5 before I had to pee the first night - so I was very dry! Fluid and food - feeling better - but the moment the pain med wears off - my headache comes screaming back - so something is still causing inflammation of my brain. I'll be honest, didn't exactly plan on this. Several people out here have gotten Lyme - but they have been able to take pills and keep on hiking - everyone knows that when I do something - I go all out - so why not have it attack my brain! The hospital is great and have let me borrow a laptop so I can check in with you and let you know what is going on. No game plan yet and please don't ask me about the million dollar question - I'm not making decisions for another day or so. Spirits are still high, but also understand reality. Just part of my journey right now. Kind of ironic though - I'm dealing with the heat, cold, rain, topography, physical challenge, and even mentally holding my shit together - and it might fall apart thanks to a creepy crawly smaller than a freckle. I'm at Rutland Regional Medical Center 160 Allen Street, Rutland Vermont, 05701. room 212 802-775-7111

Thursday, July 24, 2008

double zero - knee pain

Just a quick note to let you know that Freebird and I are still in Manchester Center - ended up taking a double zero. Weather has been bad - flood conditions for last couple of days - supposed to break on Friday - trail is like a stream. I have had intense knee pain for the last two days (on my days off!). Right knee - pain is about an 8 or 9 out of 10 unless I have 800mg of advil in me (which I'm eating like candy right now) and icing it. The pain travels up the side of my leg and into my glutes - which makes me think IT Band - I just don't know anything about that. The side leg pain isn't as bad - mostly centered under my kneecap. I know the dr would just say rest, ice, and oh - no hiking. I took two days off - best I can do - unless I can't walk in the morning. There is a shelter 2 miles from town - so will head there and then decide. I think the reality of hiking over 1,600 miles is just simply wearing my body out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

75% done!!!

Freebird and I cleared the 75% mark the other day - but neither of us were feeling well - mind and body are not in a good place. Skipping that diner really had an effect on me - and to be honest - this is getting old - just grinding me down - the body isn't meant for this. No, I'm not quitting - it's just getting really hard - and the Whites and Maine will not take it easy on us for sure. We decided to take a non planned zero here in Manchester Center, VT. Got in yesterday and stayed at Suttons Place, but today are staying at a brand new hostel that opened last week. IT IS AMAZING HERE. Check out the sign Jeff has as you walk in through the door - just 538 more miles to go! Going to rest up and eat as much as I can - when I come off trail I am usually weighing 145 right now, then after a zero get back up to 150 - must be pretty dehydrated normally. Note - haven't weighed 145 since 1992 - when I graduated high school! I'm telling you - if you want to lose weight - the AT will strip it right off. Will be back on trail tommorrow and ready to finish up Vermont and tackle the Whites. Up to 11 or 12 SOBO's now - so its just a matter of time. Peace.

you know me and my lakes . . .

It simply doesn't get old - here I am overlooking Stratton Pond (at the base of the mtn where Benton MacKaye came up with the idea for the AT). Yes it is starting to get cooler - will be picking up additional gear as soon as I get to New Hampshire. Please take the time to get out here and take some of this in - it changes you - makes you appreciate everything so much more. Oh - and I saw my first Moose - a younger one - came walking down the trail at me - turned and went the other way - no way to get a camera out in time - but still way cool.


It was from this spot that the LT and thus later the AT were conceived - wanting a trail to follow the spine of the entire mountain chain. And look - it actually quit raining for abit - for me to climb the fire tower and get a couple of pics. Pretty cool to know that this is where it all started.

or should we call it Vermud

June was the end of "mud season" here in Vermont - but you couldn't tell me. The trail gets a ton of use (since both AT and LT) and tons of rain. Most of it looks like this - muddy - and you sink down 2-3 inches in it (unless they have the boardwalk system in place). tough to hike in. Has rained every day - and not just sprinkles - HUGE thunderstorms. I got caught in one the other night and had to climb Glastenbury Mtn (3,748') in the dark and in a thunderstorm. Very scary. Supposed to put your poles and pack away from you due to lightening - but I wanted to get out of that situation. Was soaked - and headlight just reflected back in your face - so had to hunt and peck with my poles for the trail. not going to lie - this was the scariest moment I have had out here. Got to the Goddard Shelter late and was shivering - so skipped dinner and went to bed. Horrible idea - not enough calories - couldn't get up and going in the morning and had to take a quick nap during the day - really ran the body down and couldn't get caught up. Getting wet every day is getting really old. Nothing ever dries out - and body doesn't react well to hiking in wet clothes for 12 hours a day - every day. Not doing well at this point. Ready for it to be over.

Vermont or Bust

Day 110 made it to the first of "the big 3". Meeting tons of people - as the AT follows the LT(Long Trail) for about 97 miles before it heads up to Canada). Shelters are packed - but fewer mosquitoes.

top of Mt. Greylock

Climbed Mt. Greylock - here is the monument at the top. at 3,491 feet - the highest point in the state. Had planned on climbing the night before - but heard thunder for a bit and didn't think aluminum poles, being on the highest peak, and a storm went together. Glad I ducked into a shelter that night because HUGE thunderstorm came through not long after.

good point - Mr Thoreau

In case you can't see it - the rock is engraved - "It were as well to be educated in the shadow of a mountain as in more classic shade. Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to college, but that they went to the mountain." Well said - sir. The trail teaches you about yourself more than any class can. I'm amazed that the AT humbles you every single day - day in and day out. There is simply never an easy day hiking out here.

did you get your tickets?

To the gun show - baby? Who is that rockin' the classic Muscle-T? Rolled into Dalton, Mass and was passing Tom Levardi's place (can't miss it - has Leki trekking poles lining the walkway). He invited me to stay - and glad I did - as he is a staple on the AT in Dalton. For years he has allowed hikers to camp out (the trail goes right past his house). There were about 10 of us there - the night before was close to 30! He let us shower, sleep inside anywhere we could find a horizontal surface, had bikes so we could ride to the PO and laundry, shuttled us for food - and had thrift store clothing - so we could wash everything we own. I rocked the Muscle T for 2 days - as I took a well deserved zero. You'll remember this is the town with the mean library. Thanks to whomever left that note about the sexy librarians being at Katahdin - looking forward to that. Muscle T and Kilt - does it get much better than that?

lakeside table

don't get me wrong - I love climbing a mtn on a sunny day and having a view for miles. but for me - coming out of the timber to a lake is one of the best treats of the trail. Typically try to just hang out or have a meal overlooking the water (if the mosquitoes don't carry you off).

Race Mtn

Here are views from the top of Race mountain (again I highly recommend this as a dayhike). I thought it was better than Bear Mtn because you walk along the exposed clif side - longer views than just the summit. Here are a couple of pics from the ridgeline - have to admit - so cool to be above treeline - to be the tallest thing on the mtn at that time. this would be a great taste of the AT - camping at Sages Revine and climbing Race Mtn - plus you could be in two states. Doing 20+ everyday through these states to bang them out.

and yet another one.

Massachusetts here I come. (this was at the bottom of Sages Ravine Brook).

tons of water

Connecticut has had tons of water which has made carrying it easier. They also have between 600 million and 800 million mosquitoes per square foot of trail (have heard that a large portion of their bats died off this last winter). Absolutely drives you mad - when you stop to pump water they just swarm on you - and while hiking they attack your elbows, back of your arms, and the tops of your shoulder - they know you can't get to these areas easily while holding trekking poles. These images are of Sages Ravine Brook - absolutely beautiful. pictures don't do the area justice. I would recommend this area for a day hike - easy to get to by car - and right on the border - easy location to climb Bear Mtn, and Race Mtn. (Race was my favorite and will show it next).

great view

Conneticut has had some pretty sick ascents and descents - the one coming out of Kent was killer - and having a few beers with dinner was not the best idea for it. Can't remember if this spot had a name or not - but we came down out of the timber to this clearing - on a beautiful day. Days like this remind me of why I am putting my mind and body through all this.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Library Nazi

Got into Dalton, Mass yesterday with an easy 12 miler (new definition of nero) after doing a week of 20+. Taking a much needed day off - haven't had a good, relaxing zero for over 500 miles (last one was in Harpers Ferry). Sure I took one in Port Clinton, but that was after "creating" it with a night hike till 11:30pm - then closing out a bar till 3:30am. Then running around - so wasn't relaxing. Staying at a Trail Angels house - Tom - lets us shower and sleep anywhere on the floor - and has bikes for us to get around town on. Amazing hospitality. Can't work on the blog - as the librarian here was incredibly strict on 1 hour limit (even though no one else here and 6 computers, and can't plug in USB card reader - she thinks that I'm putting something on the computer.) I have found that most small town librarians are old and mean - not wavering on the "rules" no matter what. Have yet to come across the tall, brunette, with the hair up in a bun, glasses in the mouth, type - that let their hair down when you come in. Always old and mean. Finished up NJ, NY, Conn, and almost done with Mass. Will be in Vermont in 2 days! Have seen 4 SOBO's now - so it is getting real. The end was so far off that I didn't have to think about it - now its probably only 6-7 weeks away. Yikes. Every step I am taking is north bound, but after I touch that sign in Maine, every step after that will be south bound. Not sure I can deal with that yet. The Journey will be over. This journey anyway. Have several good pictures to show you - but alas - society has placed "rules" on me. Might be a week or two before I can update. Next time you are in your local library - please give a mean scowl to the librarian for me. Still about a week ahead of my original published schedule. Note - I will be through Vermont in about half of the time from what I originally planned - likely making it to New Hampshire by the first few days in Aug (my 34th bday is Aug 2nd) vs the second week. thanks and Godspeed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

number 9!

Entering state number 9 - rolling into Connecticut on day 101. Can't believe I've been hiking that long - and have only taken 8 days off. And this is a choice. Been getting up early to beat the heat everyday - makes for a long day - but easier on the body. Sitting at the Library in Kent, Conn. Have just covered 1,451 miles! Should hit the 1,500 mile mark in a few days - and will be under 700 to go. I know that still sounds funny - 700 miles to go - but considering what we've been through - it feels good to say it. Looking forward to better views here in the New England states - as we go back up to 4,000-6,000 feet all day. Taking a zero in 6 days - so will check in then. Still averaging about 20 miles a day - but will probably be slowing down a bit soon due to topo.

all aboard!

the trail actually has a train stop on it - could take it right into NYC. Chose to walk 0.6 of a mile to a deli for a well deserved sandwhich and 3 hour break. Hiking in the hot afternoon isn't fun.

quiet contemplation

Heat is getting old really quick - last week all above 90 and the humidity is worse than KC. Nothing like being in wet clothes for 10 hours a day. Climbed Bear Mountain - by the time we got to the bottom - the Zoo was closed. Would have been weird - seeing animals in cages that I have been seeing just several yards away. If the zoo had been open - would have gone down to the AT's lowest point - 124 feet. Instead - took another path - and then over the Bear Mountain Bridge. Heat is taking a toll. Mind and body are ready for a zero. Planning one in Dalton, Mass. Currently hiking with Freebird, Beatbox, Butters, Barefoot, Hotwheels, Shutterbug, Bear Pack, Bear Bait, Pacer, Snake Whisperer, and Shelter Monkey. Big group.

First SOBO thru hiker!

I can't believe I met my first one - the first southbound thru hiker. His name is Flashdance and he started on May 29th in Maine. Covering 800 miles in 5 weeks is rocking!!! Especially since the last 3 states are considered "the second half". Elevation swings will be huge again. I read in the journals that he had not taken a zero yet - but was planning a week off - he deserves it after that. I'm not going to plan on being done in 5 weeks. Will wait to meet the 2nd SOBO to get a better idea of when I will finish. I am currently 6 days ahead of my original schedule. Assuming I will finish 1st or 2nd week of Sept.

good morning

8:00am on a Monday morning - Freebird and I set overlooking a lake - one of the best camping sites I have had so far. We talked how everyone must be getting ready for work - and all we had to do was take in the serenity. After waking up at Carol/Geoffrey's - we ended up hitting trail magic again that night! Met a guy named Paddy-O that has been taking care of hikers for 8 years. Mats to sit on, gator aid, hot dogs, calzones - and his own creation - the "trail bomb". Very similar to the Irish Car Bomb if you are familiar with that. He pours you a Guinness, then you drop in a shot of half whisky/half Irish creme - then slam it all down. Couple of those felt good - and made this next morning easier to take our time. Honestly - I don't drink all the time - but the added calories and carbs do come in handy. I'm like a furnace - food is just fuel to me at this point.

taking in a stray

Hiked into Vernon NJ for the 4th - but fireworks were to be on the 5th - everyone knows how much I love fireworks. So - passing into Warwick, NY - Freebird called his cousins. Carole and Geoffrey came and picked us up, let us shower and laundry, and treated us to an amazing dinner and breakfast! Lisa and Jay are getting married in a couple of weeks - best wishes to them both. Jay - "Jaywalker" was a past thru hiker as well - and was able to share stories with us. Eating and drinking well - I tell you - this is hiking!

another one bites the dust

I want to wake up - in a city that never sleeps. Here I am at 1,351 miles - passing out of New Jersey and into New York. That is pretty wild - that I am in NY - and I didn't fly - I walked! Had hoped to see the skyline from one of the peaks - but has been hazy and 90+ degrees everyday - did pass within 30 miles of the city - which was cool. NJ was great hiking and fantastic views from the ridges - NY is kind of like a minature version of Georgia - they welcomed us with rock scrambles and lots of hand over hand climbing. Reminds me of "the roller coaster."

Nice note and thanks

I'm sure by now you are tired of seeing pictures of trail magic, and would prefer a great view - but we haven't had many views lately. I just really loved how they wrote - "remember - you're almost there." Feels attainable.

Friday, July 4, 2008

how I feel

everyone e-mails me to see how I'm doing. I'll be honest - now that I have passed 94 days - I am in an amazing place mentally, physically, emotionally, and spirtitually. I feel like a snake that just molted - still kinda the same, yet kinda different, and had to happen for growth. Picking blueberries that day by myself - everything clicked - I just had to let it happen. Having the meltdowns was tough - but part of the process. For those that do yoga - I feel like what you feel like after a great session. For runners - imagine having a runners high for 10-12 hours a day, going to bed - then doing it again. I can't really articulate it - but letting everything go has done wonders for me. That's hard for a planner to say - but I get it now. I don't smash my way over rocks anymore - I envision water flowing - and how it takes the least resistent path - and that's how I hike and how I want to live. Will serve me well in life - no more "bigger hammer" approach. Listening to a lot of music now - have always loved Pearl Jam and the song "nothingman" from the Vitalogy CD. Think for the first time though - I "heard" it. It is exactly how I feel at this particular moment in my life. I am no longer focused on the future or the past - just living in the now - much better place to be. Here are the lyrics for your enjoyment.

Once divided, nothing left to subtract. Some words when spoken, can't be taken back. Walks on his own, with thoughts he can't help thinking. Future's above, but in the past he's slowly sinking. Caught a bolt of lightening, cursed the day it let it go. Nothingman. Nothingman. Isn't it something - nothingman. She once believed, in every story he had to tell, one day she stiffened - took the other side. Empty stares, from each corner of a shared prison cell - one just escapes, one's left in side the well. And he who forgets - will be destined to remember. Nothingman. Nothingman. Isn't it something, nothingman. She don't want him, she won't feed him - after he's flown away. Into the sun. Into the sun. Nothingman. Nothingman. Isn't it something, nothingman. Could have been something - nothingman.

sweet cabin

Slept in this morning and ended up taking a two hour lunch with Freebird at High Point State Park. Just set at a park bench overlooking a pond. Really trying to do more of this as I am in such a good place mentally. Ended up getting soaked in a rain storm - so instead of going into town (Unionville -where you stay at the mayors house!) we ended up stopping at Jim Murray's property. He thru hiked in 1989 and when finished ended up buying 85 acres and building several outbuildings. There was an old ice house - so he built a hiker cabin to match it. We had heated indoor and outdoor shower, electricity, a box fan, and baseboard heat (which we didn't need). Jim happened to be on the property while we were there so able to talk to him a bit. He comes up and tents just to watch the sunrise. I have been wanting to build a cabin for a while now - and this just makes that feeling even stronger. His craftsmanship was supurb. Thanks Jim!

Citrus Rocks!

absolutely love hiking in NJ! The first 40-60 miles have been rocky - but nothing compared to PA. They take us up on ridges and actually show us views, lots of bears, overall really pretty. Has been hot and water is scarce - but one of my favorite areas to hike so far. At the end of a 21 miler into the Gren Anderson Shelter. Had stopped in town for diner and was treated horribly by the help at Kevin's Stakehouse. Very demeaning - had never been made to feel that bad - especially when the 4 of us dropped $90 (Boat, Sojo, Freebird and myself). Couldn't shake it - but as I rolled into the shelter came across the group of 20+ 16-17 year old kids. They were part of Citrus - C.I.T's or Counselors In Training for a summer camp. What an amazing group of kids. They were so energetic, sharing food, and asking TONS of questions about the hike. They were proud of us - and the energy rubbed off - instantly putting me into a great mood. The next morning they hooked us up with bagels, cream cheese and craisons. What a great group of kids - glad my life was touched by them. Can't wait to play a good game of "manhunt" and send a special shout out to PTB (potato thunder bolt) and Naptime! Hopefully our talks will lead to at least one of them trying the AT in the future.

more bears

little known fact - but NJ actually has the highest population of black bears per square mile. I have only seen this one - but did sneak up as close as I could to finally get an ok shot. Sojo hadn't seen any - and saw 6 on his first day in NJ! TONS of bear activity. When they see you - you both just admire the other for a bit - then one of you takes off - mutual respect.


Crossing into New Jersey!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

a little more finger help - please

Still not 100%, have started to get this growth around the joint. Notice the red color. Still can't curl it all the way - but working on bending it a little every night - though it hurts like hell when I do it. Feels like a hard build up around the joint - where the "bump" is. Do I need to go see an Ortho? (James, Angela's mom, Stacey, Tiffany, Rachel the dayhiker from NC) feel free to email me directly - vs posting on the blog - your thoughts. The bump feels hard when you touch it - and hurts when you push on it. Only been there the last few weeks - and I dislocated it back on May 21st. Thanks

Dead / New pair - part deux

Well - hit the 90 day mark and it was time for new shoes. Sent them to Wind Gap so stopped there to pick them up as well as some supplies. 729 miles, in PA, on trail runners - is not a good idea. Feet are really bruised. Hit trail magic again - last year thru hiker - beer, soda, sandwhich, cookies - the whole spread. Ended up night hiking into Delaware Water Gap, as I am so ready to be out of PA. 0.2 tomorrow will put me into New Jersey. Next 3-4 states (NJ, NY, Conn, Mass) will go by nicely - as each one is under 100 miles - leaving me then with just the big three left (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine). Will be going back to winter gear for the upcoming White Mtns - big 20+ mile days will turn back into 10+ mile days as we get into much taller peaks - and huge elevation swings again. Starting to taste it now. In a good place mentally and physically. Took 3 months to really let everything go, and to stop thinking so hard about how solve my life. At peace with everything now, jobs, relationships, friendships - everything is right where it should be - and I can't imagine my life without the AT. Was spending too much time worrying about getting it complete - have switched my mindset back over to the journey - vs the destination.

Um - nice view?

Stayed in Palmerton, PA (one of my new favorite hiker towns.) The police officers let us stay in the basement of the Borough Hall (the old jail) which has showers. Every one in town was so nice. The morning greeted us to the steepest climb south of New Hampshire - Lehigh Gap. Walking along the top of the ridge - this is what we saw. The devastation was the result of a century of zinc smelting. In 1980, the EPA shut down the furnaces and stated directing funds to clean it up (making it onto their "Superfund" clean up list). Zinc is used in everything from face powders to zippers. Pretty,

Sweet surprise

Check this out - for the last 2-3 miles coming down off the mountain - headed into Palmerton, PA - the AT was covered with wild Blueberries on both sides of the trail. Had to stop for a while - pick some, eat some, take some. Slow hiking when you stop every few mins to grab another handfull - but oh so good.

ah - the rocks

Here is what we have heard about. Basically the entire second half of PA - at least as far as the AT is conserned - sucks. Even locals after picking you up for a hitch hike into town, will appologize about how hard it is through here. Basically you have 2 types of rock - all day long. The boulder fields which you climb and then the smaller ones embedded in the trail. These are the ones that kill - baseball, softball, and volleyball in size, all jagged, and half burried. You can't take a full stride, and you constantly pivot off of the tops of them. It is nothing to roll your ankles a couple times a day - it smarts really bad for a few mins, then you move on. I can't imagine doing this on fresh trail legs - you have to have over 1,000 miles built up on your tendons to do this. We met a section hiker that started in PA, lasted 2 days then quit. It really is as bad as they say. The further north we go - the duration gets longer - stretches of 10-14 miles of the small ones. REALLY gets annoying as the topo is flat - so you want to go fast - but you can't.


Check it out - signs now show Mt. Katahdin using 3 digits instead of 4 - under 1,000 miles to go!

The best trail magic

back on 6/5/08 we met "drunkin dragon", a PA section hiker. He gave myself and Freebird his number and told us to call him when we got to the 501 shelter - which we did. He came and picked us up - cold Yengling beer waiting. Took us home so we could shower, his wife Liz did our laundry, and then fed us Steak, baked potatoe, veggies, strawberries and all the beer we could drink. He had a keg on tap! His daughter, Angelina, even let me borrow a stuffed moose so I wouldn't be scared or lonely. Breakfast was eggs, bacon, juice, toast, coffee, fruit and bagels! He then took us back to the trail head. Scott, Liz, Angelina - thanks for opening your arms and your home to us.

thanks for the note - as if it isnt hard enough

A nice early morning NOBO left us a note on the ground warning of the upcoming rattler - and he was there, coiled up about 8" from the trail. As if it isn't hard enough - and I haven't even started bitching about the rocks yet - as we are just now getting into the second half of PA - where there will get bad.

New Packaging

well - the ladies won - and I shaved the attempt at a beard. Have to have some type of facial hair - as I was just getting to the point where people quit asking me if I was a thru hiker. Going to stick with this look for the rest of the trip - though now I have to carry a razor. I'm starting to show the weight loss in my face. SoJo said we are all starting to look like POW's with the crazy beards, skinny face, and no upperbody. Feel free to vote again - but I'm not shaving any more of it off. You have to admit - don't look quite so homeless.

The Doyle

The Doyle Hotel is 103 years old, and is one of the original Anheuser-Busch Hotels (believe there were about 25 of them across the US). A LOT of "character" and cheap, cold beers, and live music. Can't go wrong in Duncannon.

Welcome to the 50K club!

You had to know I was going to try a 30 miler at some point. Me, Sojo and Boat talked about it over our icecream - they had not completed the marathon yet and were talked into a 30 mile day. We backed off and stealth camped to turn it into a full 50K. Woke up and got on trail at 5:00am - and by 7:30 pm - we rolled into Duncannon PA - to grab a well deserved cold beer at the historic Doyle Hotel. I can say that I did it - likely to not try it again. And yes - this was hike naked day - and no I didn't. There were 4-6 guys out in just a handkerchief tied around them like a loin cloth. I can't imagine the chaffing.

Tick heaven

The AT in Pennsylvania is known for its rocks - which I will get to and complain about in a minute - here is a small portion where we walked through farming country. Reminded me of the midwest. Some of these grasses were shoulder high - ah - as I was tired of only pulling ticks off of my legs - now I can pull them off of my head.

old marker and half time report

here is the actually midpoint marker on the trail. The actual milage changes every year - this one is from the 80's and is almost 20 miles off from today. Thought I should give a halftime report. 1,088 miles in 80 days so 13.6 miles a day for average. (jumps up to 14.9 if you take out my 7 zeros). 27 days of rain and 3 days of snow. Have taken 19 showers (one every 57 miles or 23% of the time). Have seen 11 bears, hiked 2 marathons, on my second pair of shoes and have fallen down 5 times. (twice in the snow, once in a creek - dislocating my finger, once on a ridge as I couldn't use my poles due to finger, and once crossing over a blow down tree). One patchy beard, and one great looking kilt.


After our belly's were full - we went next door to spend the night at the 1827 Ironmasters Mansion. It was once a "station" for the underground railroad. Check out the underground rooms where run away slaves would stay. The sides of the building were all brick - with small windows at the top - where lanterns could be placed - in code - to signal if it was safe - and from which direction to approach the house.