Trail Magic

July 18, 2010 1:41 am

A “magical” occurrence that happens while on the trail or in a trail town.

Examples include but are not limited to:

Someone picking up a hiker and driving them to town from the trail or the trail from town. Someone leaving water for hikers near trail heads where water is scarce. Someone extending themselves to help a Hiker in some way for no profit and at times cost.

Sunshine as you summit after a full day of rain. Finding a water source after miles of dehydration. Finding food trail side or in a shelter. Finding a room in time to see World Cup games:) Catching up with friends on the trail after taking a zero day. Beer:)

People feeding hikers for free. I think because we are so thin and always hungry people love to do this.

These Boots

July 17, 2010 8:59 pm


[youtube yRkovnss7sg  These Boots]

One pair of boots down. Thanks Maine! At least the Shoe Goo (Thanks Connor and Clara!!) held them together until I got to town and got a new pair.

I wasn’t too happy about getting just over 300 miles out of this pair. I talked to some other hikers about it and they said to call Merrill the manufacturer and tell them I am an Appalachian Trail thru-Hiker and they would send a free replacement pair. I did and they are!!! Pretty cool! 8-10 days though so I’ll get them in the middle of the whites and mail them down the line for use after this pair.

Gorham, New Hampshire

July 17, 2010 10:23 am

Location: Gorham, New Hampshire

My stay in Gorham was very productive.

I managed to get a new pair of boots, Dr. Bonners soap, groceries, and a new pot stand.

I didn’t get a zero day though since I walked 7 miles round trip to Wal-Mart. Yes dad I know Wal-Mart is evil, but I have been having some trail nutrition issues and let me tell you how nice it was to get fresh fruit!!! I even managed some organics.

My trail nutrition through the Presidential’s range should be much improved thanks to Wal-Mart. If there is a section I’ll need good nutrition that’s it. I have no regrets about the walk.

I went out to dinner with Flora, Fauna, Brookie and his friend from this area Chris. Chris is a former thru-Hiker who now works for the Appalachian Mountain Club. He was very cool and even bought all of our drinks!!!

The power went out in all of Gorham around 9:30 Friday night. It wad pretty neat. I took a walk out to the main road and sat on a bench for a while. All of the hikers were walking around with their head lamps on.

On to the Whites!!!


July 16, 2010 12:46 am

Location: Gorham, New Hampshire

I have met the most amazing people on this journey. The more people I meet the more experiences I have out here, the more I am humbled and the more my perspectives on life are challenged and changed.

When I started this I had thought I decided to do this about 10 years too late. Though I had met one or two older hikers it seemed most hikers I met were in their early to mid twenties or early thirties. Most were 10 if not 15 some even almost 20 years younger than me.

I have since met many thru-hikers in their 50’s & 60’s. I even met a 72 year old grandfather hiking with his grandson.

I met a man yesterday who was trying to complete a thru-hike. He was in his late 60’s or early 70’s. He had started in 2003. He had to stop because of (separate incidences) cancer, temporary blindness, a back injury, a ham string injury and several others. He was back out there pushing on to Maine. As he listed his various ailments and reasons for having to stop I thought about my complaints (mostly to myself) over the last few weeks and I felt pitiful.

I met a couple in their 60’s who had also been trying to complete the hike for years in the face of injuries and even Lyme Disease.

I have been hiking with Walker who is 52, Mother Goose is 61 and Lone Star in his 60’s.

A common question you get is “why are you doing this?” It’s easy to ramble off about the beauty of nature etc. I decided to do this hike for many reasons. Mostly though I decided to do this hike to change myself. To change who I am as a person. To challenge myself. To grow as a person. Change is never easy, especially so even later in life.

I knew when I started this it would be difficult. I live in a city of 12 million people. I have human interaction at all times, even when I am “alone”. I have a plethora of amazing friends and family easily accessible by mass transit, phone or email. I work on the internet. I have news, politics, sports and digital social interaction at my finger tips at all times. I have constant sources of new input. I have an art studio which is an incredible place always seemingly full of wonders and discovery.

I have done plenty of camping and hiking. I had spent plenty of time alone in the woods. I can enjoy those moments with no one around. Those moments when there is no constant stream of new input. Moments where the wind whispers, the clouds dance and the leaves chatter. Moments when the birds sing and the streams tell stories.

The hardest part of doing this hike so far has been mental. Sure my knees hurt, even bad at times. My stomach problems never seem far away. There’s bug bites, your always hungry, always tired, sweaty, dirty, no shower for 4-5 days at a time. That stuff though is easy enough to handle. The hard part is the sometimes miles and miles between incredible views. The hours of walking with very little new input. The time away from friends and family. The relative isolation.

As I head out tomorrow morning to begin my hike of those infamous “Whites”, as I begin what will likely be the toughest 1.5 weeks of hiking I have faced yet and will face on this journey, my pack will be a little heavier. I will be carrying with me the perspectives and experiences of the people I have met and the obstacles they have overcome in their lives and on the trail. I will carry these perspectives I have found and I will use them to overcome those Whites, to overcome myself and to change my perspectives.

Baby Black Bear and a Moose Skeleton

July 14, 2010 11:55 pm


It had rained pretty heavy last night I didn’t sleep well. It was raining on and off all day. Thunder storms, mud, slop, wet. I was admittedly down. As I was walking I saw something on the ground. It was greenish and almost blended in. I did a double take and something told me it didn’t fit. I stopped to get a better look. It was bones. I saw definite vertebrae. As I looked at the rest of the bones I made it out to be a moose skeleton!!!

The little boy in me was giddy with excitement over my skeletal find. I looked closer, poking it with my Treking poles. It was well cleaned, by bugs and rodents no doubt. There was a trail of bones off into the woods. I contemplated following it but stayed content just snapping pictures of what I had found trail side.

It seems everyone had seen a moose hiking except me but now I had found the skeleton of one! It lifted my spirits some.

Later in the afternoon more thunder storms hit. I was slugging along soaked and somewhat miserable when about 15 feet in front of a baby black bear crossed the trail. He was so cute! I came to a halt thinking mom might not be far behind. I was pretty calm. Black bears rarely attack people and listening to other hikers talk about bear encounters I wasn’t very afraid. To be sure though I made a little noise, waited a couple of minutes and then moved on.

I came to a pond of Lilly pads, the storm broke and I sat down beside it spirits somewhat lifted reflecting on the days cool experiences.

Maine is Pain

July 14, 2010 3:41 am

Maine is pain baby, Maine is pain.

Goodbye and good riddance Maine, you were so very beautiful but my knees and my boots do not forgive you and hope I never see you again;)

Mahoosuc Notch

July 13, 2010 10:42 am

I had heard lots about the Mahoosuc Notch for a while. I heard a lot from other hikers. I heard how fun it was. I camped a little out of the Notch the night before trying to catch up with the gang.

I set out very early and made my way down the very dangerous Mahoosuc Arm and took a break at the bottom. Just as I sat down Brookie and Walker  came walking out of a nearby site! Talk about trail magic:)

They said the girls were just ahead and guessed the Notch started soon. Looks like we all caught up just in time to do it all together.

The Mahoosuc Notch is basically a huge pile of boulders were 2 mountains meet. You get to crawl through the boulders. It’s a lot of fun without too much vertical gain. The temperature in there is very cool and despite being in the upper 80’s above there is snow & ice in the crevices of the notch.

We had heard some rumors about a moose skeleton in the notch. Some had it hanging from the sides above, some had it in the rocks but we never saw it.

It was a blast in there!!! Brookie crawled into one of the crevices, grabbed some snow, threw snow balls at me and made a snow man in July. We all posed for a picture with the snow man:-) it was definitely one of the most fun times I had yet hiking this trail.

Rob & Johnathan aka “Bandana Man & Speed Racer”

July 12, 2010 11:45 pm


From: Alabama

NOBO Thru-Hikers

I met this father & son team at Pine Ellis Hiker Hostel. They have been section hiking the whole trail a month a year for the last 5 years. They will finish the whole trail this year wrapping up at Katadihn.

They are lots of fun to hang out with. We had such a great time laughing and joking with them. Rob is about the closest guy to my age I have met, a former computer programmer and current IT manager so we have a lot in common and got along pretty well.

Pine Ellis Hiker Hostel

July 12, 2010 2:40 pm

Date: 7.12.2010

Location: Andover,  Maine

While in Andover I stayed at the Pine Ellis Hiker Hostel. It was a pretty cool place. David and his mother-in law Eline ran the place. They were both great and very accomodating of my World Cup needs:)

We met Rob and his son Johnathan there. They are NOBOS who have been hiking the trail 1 month a year since 2005 and are about to wrap up their last section to finish the trail. They were lots if fun and Rob bought us all breakfast in the morning they left! Very cool people.

I was able to get a haircut and beard buzz from David which I the cleaned up with a razor. I was very happy about that!

David also gave me some silver polish so I could give my moon goddess pendant a much needed cleaning.

I was able go watch both World Cup final games:-)

There were basically only 2 places to eat and only 1 place to buy a very limited selection of groceries. I heard from NOBO’s the food options get better further south. This is good because I am living on power bars and very pricey ones at that.

We met a few other NOBO’s there. Some were ok. I appreciate advice on which hostels to stay or not stay at, trail advice etc. but some North Bounders are a little cocky, and try to tell you everything you are going to feel, do and experience and everything you are experiencing right now because they have experienced it all. Not so wild about that. I’ll have my own experiences thanks. oh don’t even try to tell them Maine will be difficult!!!.

Overall it was a very, very fun stay. I really enjoyed some rec time with the gang!!!

I am a day behind the group now and have to play catch up again.